Microsoft may be on track to deliver its highly anticipated next-generation operating system, one expert contends.

Microsoft's Windows Vista has faced a number of delays in the past, pushing the release date back to January of 2007 for the consumer market. Latest testing with pre-release versions of the new software indicate the further delay may not be necessary.

The Vista development organization has made rapid progress delivering improvements to Vista’s performance, reliability, and compatibility, Rick Sherlund of Goldman Sachs told clients on Wednesday.

We believe a second Release Candidate (RC2) of Vista may be ready to ship later this week or next, implying that the product may be on time for November Release-To-Manufacturing (RTM) and late January retail launch.