Microsoft Counts on App Support for Vista

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-12-11 Print this article Print

Microsoft claims many ISVs are on board, but hardware compatibility is still an issue.

Microsoft has taken pains to demonstrate that Windows Vista will have ample application support, particularly in the fields of anti-virus and security, so as to give businesses more incentive to upgrade to the latest version of Windows.

The Vista development team made a special effort to get anti-virus vendors involved early in the design program, said Dave Wascha, director of Microsofts Vista partner program, in an interview. "We spent a significant amount of time with those partners making sure that their products are ready to go," Wascha said. "We know [security] is one of the key mission-critical applications without which enterprises wont move forward with [Vista] deployments."

However, application support is only part of the corporate adoption picture. A study of 112,113 business PCs from 472 North American companies conducted by Softchoice, in Toronto, found that about half currently meet the minimum requirements for Vista and that only 6 percent meet the minimum requirements for Vista Premium.

Click here to read more findings from the study. "At the time of release, 71 percent of the PCs met the system requirements for Windows XP, whereas only 50 percent of the PCs included in this study meet the minimum requirements to run Windows Vista. This difference suggests that a jump in system requirements to run Vista presents a significant barrier to adoption," Softchoice services consultant Dean Williams said in an executive summary of the report.

For application support, Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., made sure that Vista developers and designers met with ISVs of every application type early and often to answer questions and get the ISVs views on what should be high-priority goals for Vista features and performance, Wascha said.

The effort apparently worked, since most of the major security software vendors—including Symantec, CA, Trend Micro and Sophos—greeted the Nov. 30 Vista launch with announcements that they were either getting ready to ship Vista versions of their products or developing and testing these products.

Symantec announced it will release its Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition 10.2 for Vista in December and that its AntiVirus Enterprise Edition 10.2 now includes Symantec Client Security 3.1 to provide anti-virus and anti-spyware protection for Vista clients. The company also said that Symantec Mail Security 8300 Series and Symantec Enterprise Vault will provide messaging management services for customers migrating to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, which also launched Nov. 30.

Will your PC run Vista? Click here to find out. Autodesk, producer of CAD applications, worked with Microsoft to learn how to build into its products the new XPS (XML Paper Specification) technology that was introduced with Vista. XPS is an XML-based document format that allows many types of documents to be shared and read by users regardless of whether the application that was used to create the document is installed on their computer.

In all, Microsoft expects that ISVs will ship more than 1,000 Vista applications between now and April 2007, Wascha said.

As Microsoft partners, "part of the commitment that they make is that they are targeting a Windows Vista-specific version of their products and that they are going to launch generally around the time that we are going to launch Vista," Wascha said.

However, customers should take this claim of 1,000 available Vista applications with a grain of salt, said Mike Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft. Cherry questioned whether even a majority of what Microsoft is claiming as "Vista applications" were developed specifically for Vista, rather than simply being products that currently run on Windows XP and that also are capable of running on Vista.

A good measure of an applications Vista pedigree, Cherry said, is whether it "can exploit the Windows presentation framework and the communications framework." Native Vista applications should also take advantage of .Net Framework 3.0, Cherry said.

Next Page: Hurdles to Vista adoption.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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