One year later: Where are the killer Vista apps?

Summary:In January, I posted the question: "Where are the killer Vista apps?" One year after the Vista launch, I am wondering again: Where are they? What is taking developers, like Yahoo, so long to deliver a mere pre-beta of a Vista-optimized product?

At the Consumer Electronics Show last January, Microsoft and Yahoo made a big deal out of a Vista-optimized version of Yahoo Messenger that was supposedly one of many compelling Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) apps in the pipeline.

On December 6, one year later, Yahoo announced a pre-beta of its Vista instant-messaging app. And still no word on what took so long or when Yahoo will get the final version out there.

What gives? Aren't applications supposedly what sell an operating system? If so, where are the must-have Vista apps built to take advantage of the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) graphics, the Windows Communication Foundation WCF) communications and Windows Workflow (WF) underpinnings of Vista?

Microsoft Client Platform Technical Evangelist Tim Sneath has been cataloging "great WPF applications." With Yahoo Messenger, he is now up to 16. Sneath's list doesn't include many household-name software developers (other than Yahoo and Roxio). Most of the apps on his list are custom business applications.

Is WPF too hard to write to? Is there insufficient positive payback for optimizing for WPF? Over on the blog, Long Zheng wonders aloud:

"One of the major roadblocks for WPF applications has been performance and it looks like this application (Yahoo Messenger) suffers the same fate. On a dual-core system with a more than plentiful graphics card, this application can’t even render the emoticon popout opening and closing without obvious pauses. Generally when anything animates, CPU usage flies right up and performance hits rock bottom."

Or maybe it's the fact that the real tool suite for writing Vista applications -- Visual Studio 2008 -- only was released to manufacturing a few weeks ago? Developers attempting to write to WPF, WCF and WF, until now, had to use some stop-gap tools from Microsoft to take advantage of these new Vista technologies.

In January, I posted the question: "Where are the killer Vista apps?" One year after the Vista launch, I am wondering again: Where are they? Anyone know of any new applications coming that will make Vista more compelling to consumers and/or businesses?

Topics: Social Enterprise, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Windows


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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