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Microsoft re-assures partners on Vista compatibility

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WPC Microsoft has used its annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) to stress that it's working to solve stubborn compatibility problems between Windows Vista and partner products.

Chief operating officer Kevin Turner told 8,000 WPC delegates that management had "rallied the team" and worked "very hard" after partners and customers made it clear application compatibility for Windows Vista "needed to be better."

Turner joined with vice president of Microsoft's Windows business group Mike Sievert to claim that 1,900 applications are now converted, with 10,000 devices certified either Windows Vista Ready or Windows Vista Capable (a weaker designation).

Using the kinds of well-worn corporate qualifiers that call for a good coachman and a team of healthy thoroughbreds, Sievert claimed device coverage for Windows Vista is "nearly complete" and "the packaged applications are now largely in place."

Microsoft's operations chief made it clear, though, there's still a long way to go. "We've made a big turn around on the application compatibility story, and we're just getting started."

Windows Vista's incompatibility with third-parties' hardware and software has been a lingering thorn in the side, with gamers and laptop users hit hardest.

Publicly at least, Microsoft has tried to play down problems, with one company magazine recently referring to "rumors" about device and application compatibility. When executives did admit issues existed, they claimed that most problems were related to a relatively limited number of drivers (4,000).

Speaking at this week's partner conference, Turner continued to perpetuate the corporate myth that Windows Vista was OK out of the gate, while at the same time admitting that there was a problem. "We had the best application compatibility when we launched [Windows Vista] that we had had with a product," Turner said.®

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