23 February 2007

Vista's mere 800 applications

I find this information from Computerworld somewhat surprising on a number of levels.

First is that just 108 applications have been certified to work with Vista, and another 683 have been awarded "works with distinction" whatever that means. Excluded from the list are applications such as all of Adobe's multimedia applications, most Symantec applications, and applications such as the latest version of Skype. Given Vista's huge gestation period, I can't help feeling that this is ridiculously low. I know this doesn't mean that all the other apps WON'T work, but I'm genuinely surprised.

The next thing that struck me as surprising - though perhaps it's a (major?) contributory factor to the above is that it costs $10,000 per app to get that certification. This is clearly a barrier to small software companies, and even larger ones if they are close to a new release of software. While I understand why this was probably a costly exercise for a 3rd party to undertake, I wonder whether Microsoft has been rather silly in making this barrier so high given the end result.

It's difficult to comment too much on whether it's the application vendors being slow, or cheap, or whether Microsoft has been very remiss in not putting enough backing behind making applications compatible with Vista out of the gate (let's face it, it's now almost 4 months since the release of Vista to business). But whatever the case, I think it's a poor state of affairs.

I think there would be a lot of fuss in the Apple camp if such a situation happened with Leopard, though a fair point against this is that there is no comparable certification step that I know of. But when I think back to the relative ease of transition from PowerPC to Intel with Rosetta and Universal apps seeming to deliver a very high level of compatibility from day 1, it seems Apple's approach to working with its developers* seems to have paid dividends.

But really, what was going on while Vista trundled along in prolonged development?

* I guess given that Adobe has also been one of the slowest to respond to Apple's Intel transition may indicate that it needs to look a bit closer at its development responsiveness

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