Microsoft plans to release an application compatibility toolkit for its forthcoming Windows Vista operating system in the second quarter of this year, it was announced yesterday at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in Seattle.
"Feedback told us that we didn't get a toolkit out fast enough with Windows XP SP2," said Will Poole, senior vice president for Windows Client, in a keynote presentation. "For the first time now we have this out early."
The testing tool will run on current Windows versions and does not require firms to install core applications on Windows Vista Beta.
The toolkit allows enterprises to test internally-developed applications for potential compatibility issues with Vista.
"This is going to enable people to monitor applications and see how well they will work on Windows Vista," said Poole.
The toolkit is part of Microsoft's efforts to prepare partners and users for the launch of Vista which is set for January 2007. Enterprises are expected to get access to the software in November.
Microsoft unveiled the hardware requirements for its Windows Vista Capable Programme last week, and plans to launch logo programmes for both basic and premium configurations by December.
Poole predicted that about 200 million PCs will be "upgradeable" by this time, meaning that they are due for an upgrade because they have become outdated.
Enterprises and businesses will purchase 500 million new computer systems in the two years following the software launch, he claimed.
Poole claimed at last year's WinHEC that the PC industry could reap billions from Vista's release. Enterprises could increase their spending on client systems by $1.7bn, he said, as a result of Vista's improved management capabilities.
He also predicted that increased consumer interest could result in $1.4bn of additional spending.
Poole refrained from any sales predictions this year. Since last year's projections, Microsoft has been forced to delay the launch of Vista.
The delay could slow down PC sales as consumers hold back on new system purchases in anticipation of the new operating system.
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