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Microsoft Dubs Longhorn "Windows Vista"

Microsoft Corp. on Friday unveiled "Windows Vista" as the official name of the next version of its popular operating system, setting aside its long practice of using release years or acronyms to describe its flagship product.

The company first disclosed the name Thursday at the company's Microsoft Global Briefing, an employee-only conference being held in Atlanta, but only made the name public on Friday in a webcast. Until then, it was known by the codename of "Longhorn."

At the event, Microsoft showed a short video strutting the Vista name, along with the tag phrases "Clear Confident Connected" and "Bringing clarity to your world." The "clear" reference has a play in Windows Vista, since one of its features is to be transparent window frames.

Microsoft has said it will release the new operating system before the end of next year. The first beta will ship by August 3, less than two weeks from now, Microsoft said on its new Vista Web site.

An online search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database turned up no Microsoft listing for the name, but a WHOIS search revealed that Microsoft has registered such domains as windowsvista.us and microsoftvista.com.