September 19, 2006 8:07 AM PDT

Allchin: Vista apps to be 'mind-bogglingly cool'

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

Jim Allchin, the chief Microsoft engineering manager behind Windows Vista, has issued a call to arms to software developers, urging them to build new applications for the desktop operating system.

In an open letter posted on Microsoft's developer portal on Friday, Allchin said that Vista offered third-party developers opportunities to build applications that are "visually stunning, connected, workflow-enabled, and secure."

Jim Allchin Jim Allchin

Allchin, the co-president of Microsoft's Platforms and Services group, reiterated the company's Vista schedule, saying that the software will be done by the end of the year and available to consumers in January, barring any bugs around "data corruption, resiliency or security."

"People will flock to software that is new, compelling, and 'cool.' You have GOT to be ready for this opportunity," Allchin wrote to developers.

Availability of third-party applications on Windows has been an important reason for Microsoft's success since the early days of its operating system. With Vista, the company has created several tools to make it easier for developers to tap into the features of Vista.

Developers can get a preview of Orcas, the upcoming edition of Visual Studio programming tool which is optimized for writing Vista applications.

Microsoft is also releasing Expression-branded tools aimed at Web designers and graphic artists to exploit the new user interface, animation and other graphics capabilities.

In addition, Microsoft is offering technical documentation for its application programming interfaces and ways to check compatibility of existing Windows applications with Vista.

Allchin said that both large independent software companies and smaller outfits can build innovative applications that highlight Vista features.

"People will just love these applications--from new DX10 games to cool Sidebar gadgets to new rich visual enterprise applications. Some of these apps are mind-bogglingly cool," Allchin wrote.


Correction: The original version of this story provided the wrong posting date of Allchin's letter.

See more CNET content tagged:
Jim Allchin, Microsoft Windows Vista, developer, app, Microsoft Corp.


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""People will just love these applications--from new DX10 games
to cool Sidebar gadgets to new rich visual enterprise
applications. Some of these apps are mind-bogglingly cool,"
Allchin wrote."

Yeah, I'll bet. Especially because that's all they could manage to
ship after working on Vista for over five years, several schedule
slips, and dozens of "left behind" features.

"People will just love these applications--from new quartz-
enables graphics, to cool Widgets, to rich visual enterprise
applications. Some of these apps are mind-bogglingly cool,"
Jobs said, five years ago..
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mr Negativebar
Man you are one negative person....get a life.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah! I loooooooooove being spied on by M$!
Woohoo! Nothing like giving up your privacy to M$
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
and the billions of hackers out there.
Posted by (156 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft web site - sorry, browser not supported
I went to get some information about this topic on Microsoft's web
site only to be told that they don't support my browser.

So apparently Microsoft feels it is more important to dictate which
browser they use than to disseminate their information.

How much confidence can we have in Vista if Microsoft can't even
make a standards-based website?
Posted by m.meister (278 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Browser Not Supported
Hey Mark - what browser (or UA) where you using?
Posted by stephbu (5 comments )
Link Flag
Browser Not Supported
What browser where you using Mark?
Posted by stephbu (5 comments )
Link Flag
you were not using lynx... were you?
I opened it in IE and FF and it worked fine...
Posted by cary1 (924 comments )
Link Flag
Mind Numbing is More Apropos
MS would be better off to quit trying to act like they are cool and innovative. In point of fact, they are not. Their DNA is not wired for innovation, which is what it takes to be "cool" in tech. Vista may or may not have improvements over XP (we shall see once it is released and has real word use), but it is not the paradigm altering revolution that Allchin makes it out to be.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mind Numbing
Yes, Vista will be mind numbing and innovative, I am currently up to Vista RC1, even Mac users will be depressed.
Posted by wlennon (9 comments )
Link Flag
Of course we all know that MACS spelled backwards is SCAM!!!
Posted by wlennon (9 comments )
Link Flag
Mind-bogglingly cool!
All the "mind-bogglingly cool" appz huh? Is this Allchin's atempt to
make Vista sound cool? I'll try it for the sake that its an upgrade
from XP.

But its too bad he won't be around for the Vista aftermath. Fixing
the glitches and holes he left behind.

The guy is retiring isn't he? What a joke. I do hope he sticks to his
word and let please let it be Ballmer next..
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Applications still have to be XP compatible...
Allchin carefully avoids mentioning one obvious thing Windows developers are going to have to maintain when writing "cool" Vista apps - namely Windows XP compatibility. People will primarily upgrade to Vista when they get a new PC (because 1: Vista needs better hardware than XP and 2: 99% of users don't install/upgrade the OS themselves but rely on the OS that was pre-installed for them), which will be anything from a few months to 3-5 years' time.

As for DirectX 10 - yet another thing that needs new hardware! And I turned off the Sidebar almost immediately in Vista (takes up too much screen estate and also comes with a *second* huge analogue clock [the first one being on the task bar where it is on XP - why do I need 2?!]) and I suspect many other people will, so Sidebar progs are already heading towards Pointless City...

Basically, Allchin is just desperate to drum up support for third-party Vista programs because MS is trying to avoid a chicken-and-egg situtation that hit them hard with Windows XP 64-bit version (namely - no software for the OS = no users for the OS = no software etc. etc.). With the move from XP to Vista possibly being the slowest *ever* between versions of Windows, MS is panicking somewhat that without Vista-only apps, people will see no need to move to Vista. Needless to say, lazy journos at C|Net didn't cover this angle and yet again just reworded the press release on this.
Posted by rklrkl (143 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: Applications still have to be XP compatible...
"Needless to say, lazy journos at C|Net didn't cover this angle
and yet again just reworded the press release on this."

Because it needs to be said again.

C|Net - rewriting our biggest advertisers' press releases with
aplomb since 1996!

What I wouldn't do for some insightful technical journalism. How
about comparing Vista to Linux and Mac OS X? How about
asking Allchin some tough questions about why it's taken so

Worried about losing ad revenue? Why doesn't C|Net actually do
some analysis every now and then?
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah, that whole Sidebar thing looks like crap. It's not cool like
Dashboard, which just kinda pops into view and has USEFUL
Posted by mhersh (78 comments )
Link Flag
Same angle as always
You are right that CNET has igonored an angle of reporting but your characterization of the angle isn't correct. As always when MS prepares a new version of Windows they urge developers to start developing for it and this article is pretty much the same.

The point is that for major applications they need to start developing for Vista *now* because by the time the application is ready for release most consumers will have Vista. Even for smaller applications MS starts the drumbeat early because even if the current version of an application still needs to work on the current main versions the developer needs to be thinking about what they made need to do in order to use the new features in a later version of the software. They'll need to be sure they don't make decisions now that'll mean more work later.

Failure to heed these warnings is what cost Lotus 123 and Wordperfect their marketshare, they waited until Windows 3.1 was an obvious commercial success and then started writing for it but by the time they were ready to market their Windows versions of their applications the market had already moved on. They were simply too late to market.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
Applications are the ONLY reason to stay with Windows
"Availability of third-party applications on Windows has been an important reason for Microsoft's success since the early days of its operating system."

Applications (esp games) are the ONLY reason a number of Linux users hold onto their Windows partition.

Windows-only applications and vendor lock-in is what keeps them alive, but FOSS is slowly eroding at this which will force Windows to have to become competative!

This is a good thing because when Microsoft has to compete, they do a pretty good job and after years of their monopoly it will be good to see them work off some of that flab around the middle.
Posted by dragonbite (452 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Insert inert nert
Poorly written. I agree.
Posted by Pontiff (6 comments )
Link Flag
...sick of it.

It must be a slow day. I actually read the article.
Posted by herkamur (115 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mind-bogglingly cool?!
Some minds are more easily "boggled" than

Visual appeal wears thin very quickly. Vista may
be good, and even some products for it might be
good, but when it comes right down to it you'd
do better to make something you want to sell be
simple, useful, and reliable -- not
Posted by Zymurgist (397 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree
What they appear to asking is for confusing software that looks pretty. Personally I expect my applications to boggle no one's mind - not even my mother's.. ;-)

When developers start realising that stable functionality is far more relevant to consumers than eye candy we might start getting software that runs efficiently and doesn't require the resources of your average supercomputer to perform basic tasks like writing a letter or editing a photo.

My rule of thumb is if an OS actually slows my computer down I don't want it - no matter how "cool" it looks.

The only time I want to be forced to upgrade hardware is if I get something new from the deal. Forcing me to buy a new computer to do the exact same thing my old one could, but in a prettier way, is not going to get me to buy Vista.

However as usual people and corporates are sheep - and believe whatever ever crap the slick computer illiterate salesmen pushing Vista capable PCs tell them.

Yes I need to spend another $1000 because Vista can play movies with sparkles and write letters with a animated doggy asking if it can help me apply for a job.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Link Flag
This is my father's Oldsmobile
When a company has to come out and hype their product as "mind-bogglingly cool" as opposed to beta tester, pre-release types saying that it is "cool" well, then - it ain't cool, only a lame attempt at hype.

MS is becomming IBM, OLDsmobile, etc. Sorry MSGuys, but this isn't 1995, MS isn't "cool" anymore. Any "coolness" was strangled by endlesss EULAS, high costs, concerns about privacy and countless "updates" to plug gaping security holes which have cost consumers and businesses billions of dollars in downtime due to lost productivity.
Posted by DecliningUSDollar (56 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Jealousy is UGLY
What it OLD are Mac types thinking theirs is better than Windows, if I wanted to use a Mac, I would load AOL, mindless, predictable, lack of software choices, un-inventive. Mac's are good for those who only want to use the Internet and email.

I read a news article where Mac vulnerabilities can now be exploited with Hacks, new viruses, Trojans, malware and get around the security...Fair is fair!

Let's face it, Jobs turned down the opportunity, and Bill Gates took advantage. Windows will never go away and the people have spoken, 94% to 95% use Windows to Mac's 5% market share in PC's sold each year. What is not Cool is a Mac and it's users, they are a hateful bunch who actually think Mac's are better... Even the new Mac Ads on TV are annoying to the point to where potential Mac buyers are turned off.

MS Windows are like Republicans, they protect us from terrorists, help people, have a Great economy, cut Taxes for all.

Mac's are like Democrats (and the Media), never do anything good or honest, and never tell both sides of the story, also want to raise taxes on the middle class, reinstate the Death Tax, Marriage Penalty, Gift Tax, Inheritance Tax, gave the West Coast Ports to be controlled by the Chinese and trust me many others.

The Dems who use Mac's are the ones who want to allow the 12 million illegals to stay In the US and use our Tax Dollars for Schools, Medical Care, activist Judges who let pedophiles get off or get off easy.

Even ipods are crap, they sound tinney and very low volume compared to most any others made. The one given to me as a gift is now a paperweight and doodle on it with Sharpies.

I am using Vista RC1 and yes it is VERY impressive.

I'll put my Intel Core 2 E6800 Extreme, Chipset nVidia for Intel, Quad SLI 590 GeForce 7950 GTX's up agianst any Mac anytime.

Of course you can disagree with me, but it doesn't change my bad experiences with MAC
Posted by wlennon (9 comments )
Link Flag
Crazy FUD
That's all this reworded press release is. Crazy FUD. As others have pointed out only a maniac would devote much resources to develop an app using unique features in Vista due to the need to maintain compatibility with XP. It will be at least 5 years until you can forget about compatibility with XP. Further, only an idiot would devlop a general commercial product that specifically relies on Vista due to Microsoft's proven track record of copying/bundling/destroying any successful Windows based app. Intuit is the only success story that I can think of and I would be very surprised if they don't move entirely onto the web within the next few releases.
Posted by scdecade (329 comments )
Reply Link Flag
C|Net bumps this story - again
Nice of them to put it at the top of their RSS feed again.

Does C|Net ever stop fluffing Microsoft?
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is the problem too many "yes" men?
"People will flock to software that is new, compelling, and 'cool.' You have GOT to be ready for this opportunity,"

After reading this I feel Microsoft is out of touch with what I want as a consumer. And I'm pretty sure their 3rd party developers are preparing for damage control with Vista rather than wasting time trying to be "cool."
Posted by Brad_S (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If it were true...
... then Allchin wouldn't need to shout it out loud, would he? We'd have heard from the beta testers already.

What it probably means is that the software industry is less than enthusiatic about Vista - with the idiotic prices M$ intend to charge for it who would buy it anyway?
Posted by Jerry Dawson (125 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Cheap Mac OS X knock off
Microsoft should get a life and stop bitting the Mac style. We
invented cool.
Posted by citrusonic (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista IS cool...
...but there really is no reason to upgrade immediately for most users.

Oh, and put the dang menus back. How is anybody going to support users on the phone when the menus aren't even there until you hit Alt?
Posted by paulreid99 (74 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm sure
Well, there was nothing "cool" about the latest release of iTunes and Quicktime... Least of all the support for the two products leaves a lot to be desired.

I'm sure someone will do something right to make people feel something is "mind-boggling"
Posted by GaryNJ (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
iTunes 7
I don't understand why so many people are having trouble with
the new iTunes update. I updated mine and everything is
working fine. I really like the fact that I can now put recorded TV
show under the TV shows label now since before that wasn't

But enough about iTunes, the main problem is MS has done
nothing but play catch-up with OS-X, everything they are adding
as "new" came from OS-X. But of course stealing is what MS
does best because they don't know how to innovate and come
up with their own new ideas.
Posted by jones_8099 (177 comments )
Link Flag
Mac OS X: Been there, done that.
It's nothing new.
Posted by Denier OS (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
i tried
I installed Vista RC 1 on my comp and uninstalled after 2 days ( because my graphic card wasn t good enough to run dvd maker and movie maker ) Vista looks realy cool but i think the search ability is still far away from mac osx spotlite. I tried to find my jpegs i took still some time. Maybe they fix it. I wish to swith to Mac os but mac os has so few 3rd party softwares which is big barrier for me.
Posted by Chameleon81 (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
so few apps?
I'm a fairly recent switcher to OS X, and freakin' love it. The majority of the things I need to get done have been provided for in killer apps from apple (iWeb, iTunes, Garageband). The only real shortcoming is in gaming, and while not as bad as it once was, there's still not the massive selection. But since I don't game too much anymore it's not that big a deal to me.

The amount of software isn't nearly as important as the QUALITY of the apps that's important.
Posted by DJ-Panic (14 comments )
Link Flag
Dude, Spotlight doesnt even compare to the search found in Vista, or even Desktop Search for XP for that matter..Spotlight just plain sucks..I've been using both for a long time now..Vista wins for search - hands down.
Posted by SystemsJunky (409 comments )
Link Flag
The only thing mindboggling
Are people that actually think MS is on the cutting edge with Vista.

Vista-5 year old tech today(actually sometime tomorrow), minus a bunch of 10 year year old tech we couldn't get to work, all with system requirements that are at least 3x as much as they should be.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why does Vista have to be so bloated to be good? It's got a lot of extras, the interface is pretty but overall performance is a better thing to have than ease of use or user-friendliness. There's other programs not just Microsoft Windows OS's that are becoming more user-friendly and bloated. One example is McAfee VirusScan. From using v6 and v7, going to v8 the whole thing was changed, bloated and took far more resources on my system. It was at that moment that I switched to AVG Antivirus. Download Accelerator Plus is another example. Although it has some nifty extras, the interface is slower to shut down than version 5.3 which I still actually use. I like Firefox the way it is, no more bloat I hope won't be added. It's pretty bloat-free. ZoneAlarm is another example. I could keep going too. Bottom line: Products don't always have to get more user friendlier because that often results in more clutter, more junk in the way.
Posted by pentium4forever (192 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What's Cool About Complete Meltdown of the Western World?
This guy must be retiring soon to a place where he won't need a computer because Vista will be shredded by hackers the weeks it ships.
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista is a resource hog with an appetite
Vista RC1 is a lot better than Beta 2 as far as stability. Looking at the task manager, on a system with 1GB of memory, 440MB physical memory being used. My gosh. Some of the system processes aren't in the main processes tab which I prefer them to be in.
Posted by pentium4forever (192 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista runs faster than XP
at least on my system it does. Apps load and run faster, espcially those written for Vista. The only time I've had to use XP compatibility mode was for an installer, once it installed the program ran fine.
and I don't have a top of the line system yet, still cranking by on a P4 2.4 ghz, 1024 mb PC2700, geForce 5600 ultra
Posted by TucsonAlexAZ (53 comments )
Link Flag
What's with all the haters everywhere? He's a cool old man that can make some slammin proggiez! Sounds like you all are just mad 'cause you gotta get rid of that computer you've been hoarding since 2002 to experience the new deal...
Posted by HecticDialectics (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not Really
Most are just fedup with Microsoft and their bloatware, and to be honest Vista is heading down the same path. 2002 machine? If it works, why replace it? Oh I get it, we need to feed MS more money every few years so they can survive.
Posted by daveworld (123 comments )
Link Flag
I would switch to Apple if...
If they would develop a new open source programming framework similar to .Net. Microsofts IDE is nice to use and managed code is nice. They definitely know their stuff when it comes down to designing programming environments.

I've tried Java, and I just didn't like it. It also ran really slow for desktop applications and I didn't like how their applications looked. C++ has a lot of crap in it and it's so old and added onto... There are like 20 different ways to accomplish each task, which can get confusing. C#.Net is C redesigned for OOP and VB.Net is a really easy way to make a decent quality application, and that would appeal to many companies. If the .Net framework could run on OSX, that would be my dream combination.

MS doesn't build the best OS, but their programming languages are enough to keep me loyal (unwillingly attached?) to their OS. It's what I'm comfortable with, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

It's debatable whether what I just said had any relevance to this article.... oh well...
Posted by coryschulz (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Java kicks .Not's ass
You clearly haven't checked out Java in a long time. Scoot on over to and get enlightened. The new open source IDE NetBeans 5.5 IDE rocks and IntelliJ IDEA can wipe the floor with VB.NOT. The thing about Java is choice. You don't get that with MS, and with Java going Open Source in managed bits, it's sayanora MS for me.

Posted by cristmh (1 comment )
Link Flag
Tried Cocoa with Xcode?
It's free. It's great. It's getting better.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
It's a rip off.
Developing apps for Vista is like working for MS for nothing.

Who benefits?, the Vista platform does.
Worse still, if you app is sucessful, MS will bundle a clone with their next version of Windows and thereby making yours reduntant.

You and everyone else is better served by creating web apps, not Vista ones.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If you're referring to two-bit apps like Chess and a real looking clock, then sure. But you're ignoring the REAL market- the one for business products that Microsoft does not clone. Editting software, databasing, business networking, etc... Start making real "apps" if it makes you mad when Microsoft rips off something silly like a clock and transparent windows.
Posted by HecticDialectics (38 comments )
Link Flag

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