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Users don’t buy operating systems for operating systems’ sake; they buy them for the applications that run on them.

Given that truism, it’s not too early to wonder about the whereabouts of Windows-Vista-optimized apps.

Microsoft will have showcase applications ready in time for the Vista launch, which is still set for January 2007, company officials said. But given recent lawsuits and public disagreements with the likes of Symantec and Adobe Systems—two of Microsoft’s biggest ISV partners—which vendors are likely to be leading the Vista charge?

Microsoft has demonstrated its Max photo-sharing prototype application that is fine-tuned for Vista, and sources have said the company is building a comparable, Vista-optimized music-making app code-named Monaco. But where are the third-party apps that are going to make Vista a must-have versus a nice-to-have platform?

A whole new crop of application developers could emerge as the first wave of Vista supporters, said Vic Gundotra, general manager of developer platform and evangelism for Microsoft.

In August 1995, when Microsoft launched Windows 95, ISVs were jostling to be the first to take advantage of new Windows features such as Plug and Play support, a richer graphics palette, and OLE, said Gundotra.

Read the full story on Microsoft Watch: Where Are the Vista Killer Apps?

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