The world's largest software maker, Microsoft Corp., released a more matured version the pre-release version to its Windows Vista operating system on Friday, prompting some experts to restate their confidence that the anticipated software will not face further delays.

The Redmond Wash.-based software firm rolled out the second Release Candidate (RC2) of its next-generation operating system last week, moving the software closer to completion. The company plans to release the software to consumers in January of 2007.

Feedback on RC2 is limited, but in this case we would take the absence of negative feedback to be a good sign, Rick Sherlund of Goldman Sacs said on Monday.

The release of RC2 is further encouraging news that Microsoft may indeed

be able to deliver Vista by its target date of the end of January 2007.

Microsoft also indicated that Office 2007, its ubiquitous business software suite, will be released to manufacturing (RTM) in a few weeks.

We believe this is an important milestone for MSFT and may be a mild positive for the stock, but investors may still need to see the actual RTM given there is still a chance for delays in either product, he explained. An on-time release of Vista and Office implies that about $800 million of revenue will have to be deferred out of the December quarter and recognized in the March quarter.

Goldman maintains a buy rating for Microsoft.