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October 12, 2006

Microsoft helps holiday shoppers buy for Vista

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano at 7:00 AM

In a move to help consumers pick products during the holiday shopping season that will work with Vista, Microsoft announced new product logos at an event this morning in New York City.

The "Certified for Windows Vista" or "Works with Windows Vista" logos will be affixed to games, hardware, software and PCs produced by some 50 companies.

"This certification ensures that our customers will have a great experience with these products now, and an even better one when they are using them with Windows Vista," Mike Sievert, corporate vice president of Windows Client Marketing, said in a statement.

Vista is scheduled for a broad release in January and Microsoft has been subject to criticism for delaying shipment of the product until after the holiday shopping season. Analyst Gartner estimated the computer industry will miss out on $4 billion in sales this year as a result.

Products undergoing testing to get the logos include cameras and camcorders; graphics cards; mice, keyboards and other controllers; and software. Microsoft said the testing is independent and checks compatibility, reliability and security, among other things. Products that make use of Vista technologies such as the Aero interface get the "Certified" logo, while those that are merely compatible get the "Works with" logo.

Microsoft already has "Windows Vista Capable" and "Premium Ready" logos for PCs able to run basic and premium editions of the new operating system, respectively. No word yet on a Vista coupon or rebate program for people who buy PCs before the operating system launches. (This CRN article from last week quotes unnamed industry sources saying a free or discounted upgrade coupon will go out with XP computers sold between Oct. 28 and March 15.)

In addition, Microsoft said it will make available "two Windows Vista features," Internet Explorer 7 and the latest version of Windows Media Player to Windows XP users in a bid to entice them over to the new system. The final version of IE7 will be available for free download within the next two weeks; the media player comes Oct. 24.

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