November 30, 2006 9:36 AM PST

Microsoft takes wraps off Vista for business

NEW YORK--Vista may be ready for businesses, but are businesses ready for it?

Microsoft on Thursday said its newest version of Windows, along with a revamped Office and new Exchange e-mail server, is completed and is now available to business customers. The company said it will make Vista and Office 2007 available to consumers worldwide on January 30.

Vista launch

"This is the biggest launch in the company's history. That's for sure," CEO Steve Ballmer said at a press conference at the Nasdaq stock exchange here.

Thursday's announcement offered little in the way of new information and served more as a rallying cry for corporate customers and the multitude of partners in the Windows ecosystem. Microsoft announced earlier this month that it had completed work on the operating system, a major milestone for the oft-delayed product that has changed markedly from the company's initial conception under the Longhorn code name.

Ballmer alluded to the many delays. "It's an exciting thing to finally be here. That's all I'll say about the past," he said.

Despite Vista's long gestation period and the length of time since Windows XP's debut--more than five years--it's unlikely that many businesses will adopt the operating system immediately. The announcement is more likely to mark the start of serious testing within companies, analysts said.

special coverage
The dawn of Vista
All the latest on the long-awaited update to Microsoft's dominant OS.

According to market researchers, only a small percentage of companies are expected to update their systems from Windows XP to Vista over the next few months. A recent poll found that 86 percent of IT decision makers surveyed said their companies plan to implement Vista, though only 20 percent plan to do so in the next year. The poll of 761 buyers, commissioned by online retailer CDW, found 51 percent of respondents saying that they would have to replace or upgrade half of their PCs to run Vista.

Given Windows XP's unexpectedly long life and the interim release of several major revisions, or "service packs," driver and third-party application support is stable. Some third-party software and many drivers for connecting to hardware have had to be rewritten for Vista. Not all are available yet. Most analysts expect big companies to wait for at least the first round of service pack updates from Microsoft before they put Vista into daily service.

Ballmer downplayed the need for companies to wait for a service pack before adoption. "We've built the highest-quality operating system we possibly can. We have many customers who are anxious to deploy. We will have a stronger, faster upgrade cycle for Vista than for Windows XP," he said.

Windows Vista--finally
For all the new features in the Microsoft
operating system, there's no real hurry for
most businesses to deploy Windows Vista.

Microsoft, undaunted, has high hopes for Vista adoption in the coming months. Ballmer said this will be the most widely marketed launch of any set of products that the Redmond, Wash.-based software maker has ever done. It will spend "hundreds of millions of dollars, a very big number," on Vista and Office 2007 marketing, he said. "It's more than we spent of Windows 95 and Office 95."

Both Vista and Office had originally been slated to arrive on store shelves and new PCs in time for this year's holiday season. However, in March, Microsoft said it would delay the mainstream launch of the products until January, with large businesses still having access to the two products this year.

All three products announced on Thursday--Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange Server 2007--are already available to business customers through Microsoft's Developer Network and TechNet services. The company will now begin selling the products through its various business licensing packages.

Ballmer said the launch marks the beginning of a long line of product releases in the coming year. "There will be an additional set of clients and servers coming in the next year. There are 30-plus new products for business customers as a result of this wave of innovation," he said.

One of those products is a new release of the server version of Windows, currently called Longhorn Server, which is expected next year.

See more CNET content tagged:
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Office, service pack, Microsoft Office 2007


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Well, now we see if it's worth all the hype.
Will businesses adopt it en masse? Will they have no choice (given OEM lock-in and OEM tendencies to charge more money to pre-install the older Windows versions)?

It'll be interesting to see what happens (though businesses do have one advantage with most OEMs that personal users do not - businesses can order PC's from most major OEMs with no OS installed at all).

Okay, now let's see the MSFT fanbois and astroturfers come swooping in and proclaiming that their overlords are poised to dominate w/ Vista... heh.

Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Reply Link Flag
and testing starts nnnnnnnnnnNow. -click-
We'll see though. I hope the big business that can get a copy of Vista into the lab now give it a hell of a beating before they foist it out the door to staffer's desks.

My fear is that it won't actually see any real testing until available to us mear mortals along with the big money clients. Few words scare a CIO more than "hacker" but it's the hackers they should be hiring for IS management and testing and it's the hacker community who will give Vista real testing before criminals can take advantage of the found flaws.

I for one hope it is a huge leap in security from winXP; if only to protect and educate the normal users who are more often the targets of criminal intentions. If nothing else, it'll be pretty and it's a new OS to explore.
Posted by jabbotts (492 comments )
Link Flag
>>>" Ballmer said....
... this will be the most widely marketed launch of any set of products that the Redmond, Wash.-based software maker has ever done. It will spend "hundreds of millions of dollars, a very big number," on Vista and Office 2007 marketing, he said. "It's more than we spent of Windows 95 and Office 95...."<<<; this obviously demonstrates what Microsoft is good at - M-A-R-K-E-T-I-N-G (like Microsoft out-flanked IBM strategies as was the case with OS/2 in the mid-90's); the question is - what compelling functionalities/features will VISTA and OFFICE 2007 have over LINUX and other competing OSes and OFFICE SUITES to convince users to open-up their wallets and pocket books!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
very compelling reason for Vista
Any prebuilt ordered after new years will be defaulted to Vista. That's pretty compelling since most regular users are not going to draft there own parts list and prefered few OS to dualboot on the new hardware.

oh right.. crap.. that's still markting and licensing not performance, specs or features. ;)
Posted by jabbotts (492 comments )
Link Flag
Want compelling?
Balmer said: "We've built the highest-quality operating system we possibly can."

We don't doubt that a bit, Steve! We know you've built the highest quality OS that you possibly can. The question is, though, is it a high quality OS?

LOL :)
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
What functionalities over Linux?! can ne said in onw word: COMPATIBILITY!

Linux or other OS:s cannot compete on the desktop in the real world. At any price.
Posted by ch1200 (3 comments )
Link Flag
If you cannot innovate...MARKETING!$$$$

Same thing...
Longhorn longshot astalavista OS wannabe...

Behind the Scenes at the Microsoft Zune Design Laboratory

Lead Designer: [Holding up an iPod] Ok, so we want to make one of these.

Associate Designer: Embrace and extend one of these, you mean.

LD: Right, right. [Nods] Right. So are we done?

AD: Well, no. We have to design it.

LD: I thought we were embracing their design.

AD: No, Jobs has good lawyers. We need to do lots of extending.

LD: Right. Right. [Turns iPod around in his hands] VistaPod?

AD: More than the name.

LD: Right. Well, how about we make this scroll wheel thingy textured. With little bumps and ****. The TexturePod!

AD: No. We cant use a scrollwheel. Apple has that patented. And we want to stay away from pod, if possible.

LD: [sighs] Tell me again why we dont just buy the *******?

AD: Jobs wont sell.

LD: Oh, good. I thought it was principles, or something.

AD: No. We havent embraced principles. How about we make the screen bigger?

LD: I like that! Well have a VistaPod Enterprise Edition with a big screen, a VistaPod Home Edition with a really small screen, a VistaPod Business Edition with a big screen, but only half of it works, a VistaPod Student Edition &

AD: Were going to try to embrace simplicity for this one. Only one edition.

LD: [pauses] I dont understand.

AD: Only one kind of VistaPod.

LD: Huh.

AD: And we cant call it a VistaPod.

LD: Right.

AD: Right.

[uncomfortable silence]

LD: So how much did we offer Jobs?

AD: Lots. Ok, so a bigger screen. And lets use buttons instead of the wheel.

LD: Right. Wheels are dumb anyway. You dont type with wheels!

AD: Yeah. [pauses] You know that theres not going to be any typing on this thing, right?

LD: [frowns] So how are they going to pick songs?

AD: Well, not by typing their names.

LD: So are all the songs going to be in the Start menu?

AD: [pauses] Theres not going to be a Start menu either.

LD: Oh.

AD: Have you even looked at an iPod before?

LD: Well & no. I was just going to hand one off to our Embrace and Extendgineers and tell them to make one.

AD: Well we cant do that.

LD: Right. [pauses] So bigger screen, buttons. No Start Menu. No keyboard. No mouse?

AD: No mouse.

LD: No mouse. Ok. [thinks] Ive got it.

AD: Alright.

LD: iPods come in a bunch of colors, right? White and black and blue and whatever, right?

AD: Right.

LD: Lets come up with a color that no ones ever used before.

AD: [sighs] Thats a start, I guess.

LD: Brown.

AD: Brown?

LD: Brown.

AD: Like a UPS truck?

LD: I was thinking more a carmel **** brown.

AD: A ****-colored MP3 player.

LD: Yeah. [smiles] Oh yeah.

AD: So youre proposing a *******.

LD: [frowns] I thought we couldnt use pod.

AD: Why would anybody buy that?

LD: Its reverse psychology. Everyone always says our stuff looks like ****, right? So what happens if we make something that actually does?

AD: [rubs temples] I dont know.

LD: Then we get to say yeah it looks like ****! Thats the point!


LD: Its countercultural! Its bold!


LD: I feel like were having a moment here.

AD: Have you ever designed anything before?

LD: Also, lets make it look like a brick. A sort of clunky brown brick with a big screen and buttons.

AD: A *******.

LD: Something like that. [claps hands] I think weve got it. Well get marketing to take pictures of teenagers laughing and partying and being cool while theyre listening to their *******. And well call the campaign Bringing the Ugly.

AD: I dont think thats a great idea.

LD: Apples already done pretty, ok? Theyve already done elegant and well-designed. We need to go in a different direction.

AD: So youre saying we need to boldly sell something ugly and poorly designed.

LD: Look, weve been doing it for the past fifteen years. Why stop now? Whats so special about the *******?

AD: I really dont think &

LD: Ok, lunchtime! [stands up] That was fun. Lets design something else tomorrow!

lapsed cannibal @ November 30, 2006 in Silly
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Thank You. Great Laugher!
I just hope they don't delete it!

This is the only Zune news since the first two days it came out.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
You know you can get into trouble for leaking confidential information.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag

Stever Barmer
Posted by bhushan bhaagii (127 comments )
Link Flag
highest quality they possibly can?!
>We've built the highest-quality operating system
>we possibly can.

What does history have to say about that? Should I feel all warm and fuzzy after seeing what the best they could do for 3.1, 95, 98 and ME was? Some of those problems never were fixed, so I'm not impressed with this statement. Seriously.

Really, what compelling reasons are there for me as a consumer to desire Vista? They took out the new file system, but really what do I care about file systems anyway. They have an upgraded calendar and faxing programs, neither of which I have any use for. I can get MSIE7 for XP, so that's not a component of Vista, it's an application. (which it would still be even if it was only for Vista) I use Firefox, so don't care about IE7 either. Media Player 11? What's it do for ME that the media player 9 I currently use doesn't do for ME? (I'm not interested in what it does for MS or RIAA/MPAA DRM)

I didn't upgrade from 98SE to XP for a long time because thre really wasn't any compelling reason for me to do that. XP came with my laptop when I got it so that's when I finally got it. I didn't like the crayola colored default GUI skin so put it back to the old 98SE look. What were they thinking with the new XP default look? It reminded me of AmigaOS1.3 from 1985 which even they got far away from in later versions of their OS.

Please. Really. Why do I as a user care about Vista?
Posted by amigabill (93 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Never underestimate the power of the Force
It's a given that MS will continue to use its monopolistic practices to
maintain its bottom line.

The real test would be to allow consumers to choose their OS to
load on their machine.

Hey, Dell, how about a little checkbox on the order form to allow
something other than Windows to be loaded on the machines I
Posted by ppgreat (1128 comments )
Link Flag
"XP came with my laptop when I got it so that's when I finally got it."

That's exactly why you will at some point upgrade your OS if not to Vista than to another MS product unless you ditch it and go to a *nix flavor.

It doesn't matter if you find no compelling reason.
Posted by chasester (5 comments )
Link Flag
One Reason
Although you may think that IE7 on XP and IE7 on Vista is the same but you will be wrong. On Vista IE7 runs in protected mode making it a significantly more secure application and also it is no longer tied into the OS making it even more secure.

Another reason to upgrade is the UAC security feture which makes it even harder for dumb idiots like you to screw up your own systems.

But please stay with Windows XP and continue to provide hackers and viruses with a safe haven on your system.
Posted by Oleg Simkin (53 comments )
Link Flag
Vista release
Balmer is a carny. Wall Street is nuts. I truly believe Balmer will
go down as one of the most inept CEO'S in history. Microsoft
lives on it's bank account and Wall Street so far goes along.
Micorsoft and Balmer has created what? Ever? EVER?

The whole company cost every other company billions every year
due to virus , adware and malware. And the world doesn't care!!!
Posted by mozart11 (30 comments )
Reply Link Flag
All I care about is the Web.
The Web is the only truly innovative and useful ecosystem. The bottom line is the Windows ecosystem only benefits one company.

I can access the Internet from my phone, or any device with a browser. Using a browser, I have full office productivity and access to all weblications.

So I don't need Vista.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ballmer has come a long way, alright..
From the highest prestigous throne he is sitting on right now from

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

Best salesman ever!
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is Microsoft Windows/Vista Really Unix in MS Clothing
What was first? Unix or Microsoft Windows?

With the way the lies of the media have duped the masses - everyone would believe that Microsoft invented computers and software before anyone else in the entire world.

Fact - UNIX was invented in the EARLY 1970's.
Fact - M$ Windows might have been thought about in the early 1980's - some 10 years after UNIX.
Fact - Many of the terminologies spoken in UNIX somehow just happened to show up in M$ Windows.
Fact - Most if not all - attributes in UNIX just happened to find their way into M$ Windows.

Did someone get a copy of UNIX and back engineer it and figure out how to create an OS with a different approach and give it a different name?

UNIX came out when William H. Gates III was still a teenager living at home with his parents.

Fact - M$ Windows didn't even become trustworthy enough to even dream of using on a Server until 1990...while UNIX was totally there running the Internet.

We know M$ Windows couldn't break the 32 Bit benchmark until M$ bought Digital Research's OS called DRDOS - and then somehow M$ mysteriously had 32Bit Windows 95B.

Looking at how M$ has come along by taking other people's technology, whatever the trick of getting it - could M$ Windows actually be just another version of UNIX - badly altered so not to give the appearance of UNIX - and to such a state of alteration that it really isn't as good as the original UNIX - but, good enough for the desktop?

Could someone please help me out here? Is M$ Windows just a really bad alteration and back engineered version of the original UNIX?

Fact - M$ Windows was once purely programmed on UNIX machines using UNIX and C/C++. That's a fact. So - since UNIX compilers were or are making M$ Windows - isn't it just another version of UNIX in with a different name and cloak?

M$ tied their version of Xerox Windows idea into the Widnows 95 (UNIX compiled M$ OS) and made it peranently tied to the kernel...which is unlike the original M$ Windows 3.0 and still the character of KDE and GNOME - which are still unconnected directly to the kernel. So - doesn't that make M$ Windows really an OS by UNIX?

Hmmm...Microsoft Winux...that's what it should be called. Unix with a M$ version Windowing system on top and permanently connected to the kernel.

When KDE and GNOME become permanently connected to the Linux Kernel - can we call it Linows. One way or another - the public should get to the bottom of where all of the technology that Bill Gates claims to have created - really came from.
Posted by mabradford (36 comments )
Reply Link Flag
>>>"Really Unix in MS Clothing<<<" With Supposedly OS/2 Genes...
... one might be led to believe! Since uou said, "while UNIX was totally there running the Internet. We know M$ Windows couldn't break the 32 Bit benchmark until M$ bought Digital Research's OS called DRDOS - and then somehow M$ mysteriously had 32Bit Windows 95B..."; I think you might have left out/forgotten the fact that the "guys" on the Redmond Campus were the ones that were entrusted with IBM's OS/2 development and as this article explains at a certain point in history; "Microsoft to this day maintains a broad-ranging cross-licensing agreement with them (IBM). Windows NT was partially based on the OS/2 work that they did for IBM, and Windows 95 also borrows heavily from this code.

With Microsoft no longer doing development on the user interface, IBM was faced with creating this themselves. In this timeframe, a deal was made with Commodore. Commodore licensed IBM's REXX scripting language for inclusion in their AmigaOS, and IBM took many GUI design ideas from the AmigaOS for their new GUI. With the release of OS/2 2.0, the WorkPlace Shell (WPS) user interface was born. OS/2 was now a 32-bit operating system, with a fully object-oriented graphical user interface. Based on IBM's System Object Model (SOM), the WorkPlace Shell is still the model for all graphical user interfaces, since nothing else has come even close to providing the same functionality. OS/2 2.1 and 2.11 followed, including a version of 2.11 with full Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) support. OS/2 2.x won over many Windows 3.x users because of it's ability to run Windows programs seamlessly, while maintaining a stable system, something that Windows had trouble doing. IBM even went so far as to trademark the term "Crash-Proof...."

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

Therefore, your subject line should probably read; "Is Microsoft Windows/Vista Really Unix-OS/2 in MS Clothing"!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
Don't know any real history do you?
Fact: The first PC version of Unix was developed by MS. After a while MS decided not to pursue it any further and sold their work to another company.

Windows NT is based more closely on the VMS OS as the principle architect for VMS was hired by MS to run the project. Of course many of the ideas for VMS were taken from Unix but of course many ideas were also taken from other OSes as well. Many of the things you could do in CPM and MSDOS were also copied from Unix.

Fact: Unix wasn't the first OS, it copied a lot of things from previous OSes it's authors were used to. Other OSes written around the same time were also based on earlier OSes and later versions of Unix picked up and incorporated new ideas from those OSes as well. There was and still is considerable cross-pollination between various OSes.

Oh yeah, the first versions of Unix were 16bit. Your whole theory of how MS learned how to do 32bit is just laughable nonsense and your so-called facts are just plain wrong. For example you state that MS Windows didn't become trustworthy enough for server use until 1990 but since Windows NT 3.1 (that first trustworthy version) wasn't released until 1993. MS didn't buy DRDOS, they competed with it and DRDOS an MSDOS were both 16bit OSes for 16bit computers. 32bit computing didn't become available for PCs until the 80386 chip was made. MS had a special version of Windows for users of the 386 chip, called Windows/386 (a special version of Windows 2.0). When MS released Windows 3.0 they merged the 16bit and 32bit versions and automatically picked which version to run. Windows 95 was written because WIndows NT 4.0 was taking too long to develop and MS wanted developers to started coding to the new 32bit Windows API to provide programs for NT so they made a new version of their older Windows code that had a version of that 32bit API.

It should also be noted that Windows was not programmed on Unix machines which you foolishly state as a fact.

You are wrong, totally and utterly wrong. You could save yourself a lot of questions by just looking around the net for things like the history of Unix and this history of Windows in places like Wikipedia.
Posted by HandGlad2 (91 comments )
Link Flag
Is YOUR company adopting Vista?
Just interested in actually hearing someone say they're changing over. Still looking.
Posted by City_Of_LA (118 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Such an Anti-Climax....Whoop dee doo...
I don't know of too many people looking forward to Vista except some home users. For business I just don't see any benefit. The UAC is just going to confuse users and most likely wind up being bypassed altogether. Most businesses don't depend on Windows' firewall so that is not a point and the Aero look to me is horrible. I want an OS not a game boy.

Office has some UI upgrades (if you can call them that) that make it easier to use which is a good thing but it is nothing that couldn't have been "optioned-in" to Office 2003.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Such an Ignorance... What a surprise...
That means you don't know any of the 86% of the surveyed IT decision makers referenced in the story and the more than 75% of worlwide companies, except for "some" home users (that is, if your definition of "some" is more than 75% of those who use Windows XP). If you don't see any benefit for business it's because either you're blind or you are ignorant regarding Vista and its features and improvements. Improves security? Better performance? User Account Control? PatchGuard? Internet Epxlorer 7 with Protected Mode? AeroGlass? Improved search? Virtual folders? Improved auto-diagnostics? The UAC works basically the same way as the same worshiped feature in Mac OS X that everybody praises and you can't bypass it altogether so the improved security will always be there, whether you're too dumb and/or lazy to answer a simple "yes" or "no" question in name of security or not. Most businesses don't depend on Windows' firewall (I don't either and I'm not a "business") but, if you'd research before you comment, you'd be surprised with the amount of people that use it because they don't even know it's there and what's a firewall and I don't think people or businesses in general are stoping from upgrading to Vista because fred dunn thinks Aero look is horrible (the same copied-from-OSX look that looks great in Macs). I too don't want AeroGlass, actually, and you can be sure I'll turning it off when I upgrade to Vista, just like I use Windows XP with Windows 98 look to save resources, but I'm not stupid to not realize it's an option and you just use it if you want. Office does have UI upgrades (what do you call that, cookies with milk?) - though far from being the only changes - and of course it could have been "optioned-in" to Office 2003, provided they had that idea then, it's something called "time"; FrontRow, for instance, could also have been "optioned-in" in Mac OS IX, couldn't it?
Posted by Ryo Hazuki (378 comments )
Link Flag
I smell an Edsel
It was a pretty cool car for its time but nobody bought it. I think Vista with all its cool features is not going to go well with a battle worn Microsoft customer base. I have been using XP on a lot of computers here at work and we give XP installed laptops to our customers so they can run our medical research machines and I don't see us running to VISTA any time soon. As a matter of fact they are looking into Linux as an alternative. Please this is a balanced viewpoint and not a pro anything comment. I work with a lot of differant operating systems and I believe they all have their merits.

Posted by Ted Miller (305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why would businesses need Vista?
There are some incremental security improvements, but most of Vista's features are multimedia-oriented (or highly graphical).

Aside from Microsoft's inevitable obseleting Windows XP, what are the compelling business reasons to upgrade?

And, as an end user, I'd rather not use a system that places heavy demands on my hardware and RAM --- I want as much of that free for applications as possible. So I don't see a Vista upgrade in my future (until Microsoft makes it mandatory).
Posted by bluemist9999 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista-not! XP64-yes
Yeah,so!?Here's a clue-dual 64bit processors and wiXP64-all i ever need.And who cares if it's deja vu all over again(it feels like having a p133 w/win95 in 8/95-no drivers!).
Posted by Htos1 (263 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dear Microsoft
RE: Vista,

Thanks, but NO THANKS. Keep your OS.
Posted by bsn (34 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ballmer Hit the Nail on the Head!
His quote "biggest [Microsoft] launch of the ... century" is a well-chosen and accurate phrase. Rather like the launch of the Titanic on the cruise that sunk or the German dirigible we have come to call "Led Zeppelin" on its fateful launch.

Meanwhile, reality here at home on the real world we little people all live in is that Microsoft's most significant launch of the new century to date has been their own security suite and to a far lesser extent their second-rate FF2 browser (I believe they're calling it IE7 at Redmond).

But we little people living in the real world have no doubt that Microsoft will include us all in their exciting VISTA O/S release eventually. Speaking personally, I am so excited with expectation I can't tell you.

I can't wait til they force on the real world of coporate and little people users new the many tens of billions of dollars worth of required hardware purchases to support their new O/S.

Where can I send my cash in advance to be the first on my block to own a WINDOWS GENUINE ADVANTAGE VALIDATED (phew) copy of my own VISTA ULTIMATE?

Oh.. sorry. Wait a sec. I spoke too soon. I just ran their VISTA ULTIMATE advisor on my WINDOWS GENUINE ADVANTAGE VALIDATED copy of XP SP2 IE7. Not good news. They tell me no can do unless I wish to buy all kinds of hardware. They recommend that VISTA LITTLE PEOPLE MINI-PROFESSIONAL is what they'd recommend for me. :(
Posted by i_made_this (302 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Innovation @ Redmond One = Copycats of MAC OSX Tiger
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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