In a speech to analysts in New York this week Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed that the long-awaited new version of its mobile operating system – Windows 7 – will launch in January 2010, reports Reuters. He added that the new OS would offer greater support for netbooks, despite analyst fears that the netbook market is cannibalising Microsoft revenues in the higher-end PC market where it dominates. “We will have high market share on netbooks,” Ballmer insisted, but admitted that the growing netbook market would “certainly [have] an economic effect on PC sales.” Ballmer added that Microsoft is aiming to boost netbook revenues by persuading users to pay to upgrade low-end versions of the software to gain features included with the more expensive platfoms used in higher-spec PCs.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Microsoft’s shares slipped some 3 percent after Ballmer disappointed investors by saying that the software giant had no further plans to cut costs. The firm announced plans to cut 5,000 jobs last month as part of a plan to save US$1.5 billion in annual costs. Ballmer also resurrected the prospect of a tie-up with Yahoo that will allow the two companies to better compete against Google, which he saw as also focusing on the netbook market with its Android platform.