Microsoft has announced that it will not be shipping consumer versions of its new operating system Windows Vista until 2007.

The software company said that although businesses would still be getting the OS in November this year, consumers wouldn't be able to benefit until January next year.

“Product quality and a great out-of-box experience have been two of our key drivers for Windows Vista, and we are on track to deliver on both”, said Jim Allchin, co-president for the Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft. “But the industry requires greater lead time to deliver Windows Vista on new PCs during holiday. We must optimise for the industry, so we've decided to separate business and consumer availability.”

Efforts to improve security in the new system were largely behind the delay, Microsoft said.

- Microsoft officially confirmed its product line up of its upcoming Windows Vista operating system.

Last month Microsoft confirmed that it would be launching six different versions of the software.

The Windows Vista product line up consists of six versions, two for businesses, three for consumers, and one for emerging markets: Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Starter.

The operating system has been dogged by numerous delays making this the longest gap between updates in the Windows family.

Windows Vista, formerly Longhorn was officially announced in July 2005.