Windows 7-Compatible Products Surpass 6,000

Eager to avert the incompatibility debacle that marred the Windows Vista launch, when many products did not work properly with Vista if at all, Microsoft has been working for months to make sure that hardware peripherals and software makers sport “Compatible with Windows 7” stickers — and mean it.

The point is to ensure that as of the first day of consumer availability — October 22 — there will be plenty of hardware and software products that work with Windows 7.

To date, according to a post on the Windows 7 Team Blog on Wednesday, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has already certified more than 6000 products to work with Windows 7.

The work is taking place under a program that Microsoft calls Ready.Set.7, according to the post by Mark Relph, a senior director with the Windows product strategy group. The program site includes a list of more than 35 vendors who are participating.

Microsoft has also made changes to its existing compatibility criteria to make sure that peripherals like printers, routers, and digital cameras as well as applications software install and work seamlessly with Windows 7.

“Our goal is to make the ‘Compatible with Windows 7 Logo’ about the customer and ensuring them the best experience possible with Windows,” Relph said.

64-bit compatibility required

One new requirement for earning the logo is that both software and hardware peripherals need to run on 64-bit versions of Windows 7.

“To be clear, this program ‘Compatible with Windows 7’ is intended for applications and devices you purchase after you get a computer, which is why supporting 64-bit Windows 7 is a logo requirement,” Relph added. There are separate logo requirements for PCs, including “small notebooks,” Microsoft’s term for so-called netbooks.

“We already have tons of great new PCs in the pipeline running 32-bit and 64-bit in all types of form factors including small notebook PCs,” Relph said.

Microsoft ran afoul of logo requirements for PCs in late 2006 and early 2007 regarding which versions of Vista would run on specific new PCs sold during the 2006 holiday sales. Some PCs with the “Vista Capable” logo could not run more robust editions of Vista with the Aero Glass user interface. What made the Vista launch different was that Vista was not ready in time for the 2006 holiday season, instead shipping in late January 2007.

A two-tiered compatibility logo program for PCs landed Microsoft in court with a lawsuit filed by a handful of consumers who claimed to have been mislead to believe that lower-end PCs with the compatibility logo could run what they termed the “real Vista.”

After more than a year of litigation, however, the court ultimately decertified the plaintiffs’ “class action” status, all but nullifying the suit.

“If you are in the market for new hardware or software and you want to know it will work well with Windows 7, look for the ‘Compatible with Windows 7’ logo,” Relph said.

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