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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Microsoft's new operating system Vista should be ready for customers by early next year. But Jason Paur reports some customers may not be ready for the new software.

JASON PAUR: One of Vista's new features is the ability to tailor its capabilities to the capabilities of the host computer.

The idea is to allow the operating system to work as well as possible, while omitting non-essential functions such as new graphics that would slow down older computers.

Joe Wilcox is with Jupiter Research. He says customers with older computers may question whether upgrading to Vista is worth the money.

JOE WILCOX: The problem is, the non-essential stuff tends to be things that people do notice, so the new look and feel is what really differentiates it from Windows XP and if that differentiation is gone, some of the initial appeal will be gone with it.

Wilcox says the issue could be a marketing headache for Microsoft as customers realize Vista won't operate the same on all computers.

In Seattle, I'm Jason Paur for Marketplace.