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Windows Vista unreadiness revealed

Analysts laugh at surface computing

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Microsoft has finally outlined the extent to which Windows Vista was unfit for the marketplace when it launched six months ago.

A mere 650 applications were certified for Vista when it launched, compared to 2,000 now. Seventy "critical" enterprise applications from corporate mainstays such as Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, McAfee, Citrix Systems, Oracle, SAP and IBM are "being resolved daily."

On hardware, 600,000 devices have been certified in the six months since launch, now making Windows Vista compatible with 2.1 million devices.

The numbers were offered by chief operating officer Kevin Turner, who tried to rally Wall Street analysts to the Microsoft flag of software - including Windows Vista - plus services.

Turner joined other senior executives at Microsoft's annual financial analyst summit to paint a future of Windows running on multiple devices and even inside table tops, with the recently unveiled surface computing - which runs on Windows Vista.

Based on Turner's excuses for the lack of Windows Vista certification, it seems users can expect future editions of the Windows client to also fall short on software and hardware support as Microsoft tries to target ever-more diverse systems in its strategy as a consumer device company.

"We came out with compatibility around applications and devices in better shape than when launched with [Windows] XP... there's more device complexity in the market place then as now."

Getting a first-hand taste of what's coming down the road from Microsoft, chairman Bill Gates was forced to ad lib during his conference demo, as the surface computing setup failed to work on the first attempt. "It's turned on... maybe we'll come back to that. It's more exciting when it does something - which right now it's not," Gates said to a ripple of analyst laugher.

The event came a week after Microsoft closed a fiscal year that saw Microsoft's client division - home to Windows Vista - deliver a predictably strong, but not stellar, performance for a product billed as Microsoft's most important launch for 10 years.

In a measure of the market reception, the president of the industry's fourth largest PC company last week called Microsoft's long-awaited update to the seven-year-old Windows XP a disappointment for the whole industry. Gianfranco Lanci cited problems with stability.

His complaints follow an earlier decision by Dell - the industry's second largest PC manufacturer - to recommit to selling Windows XP on PCs following customer requests, reversing the earlier decision to ship Windows Vista.®

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