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Allchin peers into crystal ball, sees Windows Vista future

'Some of these apps are mind-bogglingly cool'

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Jim Allchin, Microsoft's outgoing Windows chief, has issued a rallying call to developers to Windows Vista, in an open letter emphasizing industry support for the delayed operating system.

Allchin proclaimed "tremendous" opportunities await for those moving to its latest version of Windows. Developers whose applications are not Windows Vista-ready risk getting left behind by a wave of popular support after January's launch, he said.

"Ready" in Allchin's book means applications that are capable of working with Windows Vista's user access control, network stack and XML-based graphics model. All this despite "tremendous" (that word, again) investments by Microsoft in Windows Vista's backwards compatibility, he said.

So never mind the delays and the facts that Windows XP and Windows 2000 power 38 per cent and 48 per cent of PCs and that Gartner the analyst firm does not expect Windows Vista to significantly impact sales of PCs in 2007. What opportunities await the company?

According to Allchin: 200 million people will be using Windows Vista in the first 24 months after it ships. To put this in context, Gartner forecasts 230 million PCs to ship worldwide in 2007 while a Microsoft-sponsored IDC report estimates that Vista will run on 100 million PCs in its first year.

Allchin also claims 1,000 companies are members of its early adopter program. According to Microsoft's co president for platforms and services some of the applications being built for Windows Vista are "mind-boggling cool. And, some of the best work is being done by small companies that many of you probably haven't heard of, so the opportunities for changing the world are clear."

Allchin's call to arms is here.

This is familiar territory for Allchin, who was cheerleader five years ago Microsoft's last new desktop operating system, Windows XP, as sales of PCs declined in 2001.

Allchin predicted Windows XP would spur demand for PCs and reflate the entire industry in 2002. IDC put a downer on his predictions. In a foreshadowing of Gartner’s comments on Windows Vista, IDC did not expect Windows XP to fuel a PC sales boom. As it happened, unit shipments increased 2.7 per cent for the year to closed at 132.4 million units according to Gartner's Dataquest number-crunching bods. ®

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