Big vendors absent from Vista-readiness list


It may be the Windows world’s equivalent of the celebrity A-list, but at least one IT personality remains undaunted by its absence from the Microsoft Vista who’s-who list.

Last month, Microsoft Corp. released a list of about 800 applications that have been officially verified to run bug-free on Vista. The list, however, notably lacks some high-profile Windows applications including Adobe Systems’ line of graphic and multimedia software, Symantec and McAfee’s security products, Mozilla’s Firefox Web browser, and the suite.

Symantec, however, maintained that all its products are Vista-ready.

“Whether or not Microsoft has tested [our products] using their own criteria, we use our own criteria for testing whether our products work (with the OS),” John Thompson, chairman and CEO of Symantec, said in an interview with ComputerWorld Canada. Thompson was in Toronto early this week to meet with Canadian customers.

The Symantec chief stressed his company prefers to do its own testing for compatibility with Microsoft’s new OS, adding it “can spend more money” than the reported US$10,000 required for testing each application under Microsoft’s Vista testing program.

“[Symantec is] more interested in the efficacy of our security solutions on the Microsoft platform and hence, we are probably going to put more rigorous testing into those products than Microsoft itself,” Thompson said.

For its part, Adobe is conducting final testing of its products to identify and document Vista compatibility issues with current versions of Adobe software and develop patches to allow some of its applications to run smoothly on the new OS, according to a document released by Adobe. Adobe also noted that many of its products “run under Windows Vista with minimal issues.”

Some of the software that have been tested under Microsoft’s Vista certification program includes CorelDraw and WordPerfect from Corel Corp., Trend Micro Anti-Virus and PC-Cillin, AutoCad 2008, QuickBooks 2007 from Intuit Inc., Microsoft Office 2007 and a host of other Microsoft applications.

The testing program, to which vendors must pay to participate, has two levels: software that is “certified for Windows Vista” and software that “works with Windows Vista.” There are currently 108 applications that have been certified and 683 with the “works with Vista” designation.

While it can make sense as a strategy for smaller software developers to be part of the Microsoft certification process, larger and well-established application vendors may choose not to undergo a Microsoft-led certification program said Nauman Haque, research analyst at London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group.

“It’s certainly easier for the larger software vendors to ignore the certification process because they do have enough clout in the industry to guarantee customers that whatever they put out, if they say it’s going to work, it’s going to work, without having Microsoft’s seal of approval,” said Haque.

Big vendors, such as Symantec and McAfee, would definitely have the resources to pursue their own compatibility testing and that enterprise IT decision-makers are unlikely to make purchasing decisions based solely on a Microsoft certification, explained Haque.

“Certification is one avenue for interoperability, but not having it doesn’t lock vendors out of the market. As a company running Symantec’s software on Vista (for example), you probably don’t really care whether it’s been guaranteed by Microsoft to run properly or guaranteed by Symantec, as long as it’s going to run properly,” he said.

Notwithstanding the long list of Vista-compatible applications, the Info-Tech analyst recommends that organizations defer any Vista migration plans until Vista Service Pack 1 has been released to market.

In the meantime, address all application compatibility issues and ensure the availability of all appropriate hardware drivers. Make sure that everything is running smoothly in the test environment before deploying the new OS to the users, said Haque.

— With files from IDG News Service

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