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The Japanese unit of Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday it will launch the Japanese version of the next-generation operating system Windows XP on Nov. 16.

Windows XP, a successor to Windows Me and Windows 2000, will feature the biggest update of functions since the release of Windows 95 in 1995, enabling clear transmission and easy editing of images and music, Microsoft Co. said.

The software will also have stronger security and will be less prone to freezing up, a company spokesman said.

A spokesman for a discount appliance store said he hopes the new operating system will “ignite a recovery in demand for personal computers.”

Domestic demand in personal computers has been sluggish, with sales at NEC Corp. down 13 percent in the April-June quarter from the same period last year.

Computer manufacturers are expected to start selling new personal computers with Windows XP preinstalled in September.

The English version of Windows XP will go on sale Oct. 25.

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