Microsoft also included its Media Center multimedia software with higher-end versions of Vista and added stronger connections between the PC and the Xbox 360 game console, advancing the company's vision for a digital lifestyle in which consumers use many devices to access their games and documents like photos and movies.
But giving users seamless access to movies, music and television on all of their devices is a way off, Gates acknowledges.
"There's definitely still some challenges to make sure that creative people get compensated and yet have it be easy for a user to move their media between devices," he said. "The technology industry and the content world still have a fair bit of work to do on this."
Establishing a more solid foothold in Web services, a field in which Microsoft admittedly is playing catch-up, is another line on Gates' to-do list. In the past year, Microsoft has faced increased competition from Google Inc. and smaller, open-source players. Microsoft, meanwhile, has yet to fully connect its disparate online services under the Live brand.
"We're investing a lot in Live," Gates said.
Microsoft shares were down 15 cents at $30.45 in mid-afternoon trading Monday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
From an investor's perspective, Vista is a long event: Many analysts predict Vista will need a few years before it outnumbers its predecessor, Windows XP, on PCs in use.
Companies take many months to test their software applications on the new platform, while many consumers will wait until they need a new PC. Upgrading on the same PC isn't always possible, because Vista imposes more stringent hardware requirements than XP. For example, at least 1 gigabyte of RAM, or system memory, is recommended.
Associated Press Writer Hans Greimel in Tokyo contributed to this story.
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