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We saw several Microsoft (MSFT) news stories worth mentioning in passing, but none deserving its own post. So here they are in one convenient package.

First, just when we were thinking Steve Ballmer was ignoring us, along comes this story on the upcoming Vista operating system release. In it, Ballmer says:

“We put the beta out today … so we should start getting feedback right away,” said Ballmer.

“The other thing, frankly, which we are discussing with NEC and other hardware partners is when would they really like it–early January, late January, February–so it depends on when the next roll-over, the next turn of the machine cycle will be and that would be the best time to ship it based on beta feedback,” he said.

This is in contrast to comments from division head Jim Allchin, who said Vista remains on track for a planned November release to enterprise customers only, to be followed in early 2007 by its appearance on new PCs and at retail. However, it is exactly what we recently recommended.

Next, we saw this Motley Fool article extolling the virtues of recently hired Lotus Notes creator Ray Ozzie. Ozzie! Ozzie! He’s smart, hard-working and he doesn’t bite the heads off of bats.

And last, but definitely not least, more evidence that Vista needs to be solid and secure. Microsoft is now recommending users run Microsoft Word in safe mode.

MSFT 1-yr chart:

MSFT 1-yr

Source: More on the Microsoft Vista Release (MSFT)