REDMOND, Wash. - Microsoft Corp. dropped the code name Longhorn on Friday, announcing the next version of its flagship Windows operating system will be called Windows Vista.
The world's largest software maker also said it will release the first of two test versions to developers and information technology professionals by Aug. 3.
The company did not say when it expects to release a second test version to a broader audience, but said it remains on target to ship the oft-delayed update to Windows XP sometime in the second half of next year.
Microsoft gave an internal gathering of its employees in Atlanta the first word about the new name Thursday.
"The core idea around Windows Vista is bringing clarity to the user so they can focus on what matters most," Brad Goldberg, general manager for Windows product management said Friday.
Vista's features will include better ways to visualize data, such as seeing through windows that are stacked atop each other, more natural file organization and faster searching.
The operating system will also be designed to better protect computers against viruses and spyware.