Hafta’ have Vista, baby

As we confidently predicted in August, Windows Vista will start shipping at the end of January.Microsoft's now confirmed that the date leaked two mont

As we confidently predicted in August, Windows Vista will start shipping at the end of January.Microsoft's now confirmed that the date leaked two months ago when Amazon started taking pre-orders is correct. As anticipated the 64-bit powered OS will come in three consumer versions. 'Home Basic', which covers the, er, basics, then 'Premium' which introduces entertainment-focused add-ons such as recording live TV. Finally, a pricey 'Ultimate' version is aimed at business and power users.Upgrade prices will start around £60, running to over £200 for Premium. But there's good news for Christmas shoppers. In an act of festive generosity (or perhaps to prevent PC sales from flagging) current Windows XP machines are likely to come with a voucher for a free upgrade come the big day.The date puts Vista in a headlong collision path with Apple's 64-bit Leopard, currently sharpening its claws for launch in the exact same month. Stand back – it could get messy.

Essentials

Microsoft Windows Vista Price: £TBA ($100-$400 for upgrade in US) On sale: 30th January Contact: Microsoft Related links: Windows Vista Home PageApple Leopard Home Page  Related stories: Vista goes on sale at Amazon Leopard purrs with minor upgrades Microsoft flings open the Vista doors