Hours after Bill Gates made headlines for telling attendees at a conference in Cape Town, South Africa, that he feels there's an "80 percent" chance Vista will make its January deadline for wide release, company executives took the stage at Microsoft's Velocity 2006 partner conference in Boston to exhort developers to get cracking on Vista support.
"With Vista, you've got to be testing your existing applications for compatibility now," Sanjay Parthasarathy, Microsoft's corporate vice president of developer and platform evangelism, said in a keynote speech. To underline the point, Microsoft placed a "developer jump-start kit" CD on every seat in the conference hall.
Some ISVs have jumped in and plan to certify for Vista as quickly as possible, though most developers acknowledge that they anticipate a very gradual customer pickup.
"We're seeing what [research firm] Gartner is: It will be a long migration for enterprises," said Paul Neutz, director of business development at Attachmate, based in Seattle. "We did an internal survey of our customer advisory council and got a whole range of responses, from 'we're testing it out' to 'we just deployed XP.' "
Still, Attachmate is allocating development resources to have its host access and terminal emulation products certified for Vista later this year, although it expects most customers to remain on older Windows versions for at least a year after Vista's launch.
Several ISVs at the conference said they're handling the migration lag by developing their applications to run on Microsoft's current and upcoming platforms, with a more limited feature set on the older software.
"[Moving to SharePoint 2007] is a big platform commitment, and it's going to take time. So we've tried to make many of our applications work with reduced functionality on SharePoint 2003," said Tom Jenkins, CEO of content management software maker OpenText. "For large corporations, it's hard for them to do such a big switch. It's almost like a rocket shuttle launch. They're planning their Office migrations two years out. As best we can, we're going to split between the two environments."
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