Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said on Friday he expected the new version of Windows operating software, code-named Windows 7, to be released "sometime in the next year or so." The software giant has been aiming to issue more regular updates of the operating system software that powers the majority of the world's personal computers.
Nevertheless, Gates' comments suggested that a successor to the Vista program might be released sooner than was generally expected.
Microsoft has said it expected to release a new version of Windows approximately 3 years after the introduction of Vista in January 2007.
A company spokeswoman said Gates' comments are in line with a development cycle that usually releases a test version of the software before its official introduction.
"I'm superenthused about what it will do in lots of ways," Gates said in a seminar on corporate philanthropy held during an annual meeting in Miami of the Inter-American Development Bank.
"That'll be sometime in the next year or so that we'll have a new version," Gates said in response to a question from the audience.
Gates, who is due to leave his day-to-day functions at Microsoft and dedicate himself to the philanthropic efforts of the Gates Foundation in June, said the company aimed through its $6 billion annual research and development budget to take the products running on its software to "the next level." He said new versions of Windows would help revolutionize mobile phones and run the desk of the future, which would have a touch surface display allowing users to call up items using their hands.