Microsoft kicked off the daylong launch of its Vista operating system, Office 2007 suite and Exchange Server 2007 applications for enterprise users with events at three locations in Asia Thursday.It\u2019s the first time that new versions of Windows and Office have been launched simultaneously since 1995, and that makes it one of Microsoft\u2019s biggest launches in years. The three products became available Thursday to volume licensing customers. Consumer versions won\u2019t be available until next year."I\u2019m super excited about this launch today. It\u2019s been a very long journey, but now I can say that we have truly arrived," said Darren Huston, president and chief executive officer of Microsoft\u2019s Japan unit.The launch, which began with an event in Sydney and was followed with similar events in Tokyo and Beijing, provided Microsoft a stage from which to talk up the three products and showcase some of the businesses that have already committed to rollouts.Microsoft Japan has 57 companies that have said they\u2019ll roll out at least one of the three products. The list includes Sharp, Sanyo Electric, McDonald\u2019s Holdings Company (Japan), Nikon, Chubu Electric Power, computer game maker Capcom and trading company Itochu.Interest from potential users in Japan has been high, according to Huston. Of 5 million downloads and 1 billion user sessions conducted as part of the beta testing for Windows Vista, about 20 percent have been by users in Japan. The country accounts for about 10 percent of the global IT market.Speaking in Tokyo, Jay Jamison, leader of Microsoft\u2019s Windows business group in Japan, said, "We are hopeful and optimistic that in Japan, Windows Vista will be the most successful business OS release of Windows ever."In Australia, companies including BDO Chartered Accountants & Advisers and alcoholic drinks company Lion Nathan have begun testing the products.Later Thursday, Microsoft will hold launch events in Munich, London, Paris, Toronto and New York. A consumer version of Windows Vista is due on Jan. 30 in many countries.\n\n-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)(Rodney Gedda of Computerworld Australia contributed to this report)\n\nRelated Links:\n\nMicrosoft to Offer Extra Version of Windows Vista in Europe\n\nVista Launch Sparks Competition Between PC Vendors\n\nAnalyst: Vista Adoption to Outpace Windows XP\n\nForrester: Consumers Won\u2019t Flock to Microsoft Vista\n\nMicrosoft Taps Partners to Ease Vista Compatibility\n\nMicrosoft Vista Consumer Release Set for Jan. 30Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.