Microsoft: It's Time to "Get Ready" for Windows Vista

On Thursday, Microsoft finally announced the system requirements and recommendations for Windows Vista, the company's upcoming Windows revision. Microsoft had previously provided only basic guidance regarding Vista-compliant PCs.

"Customers have many options and choices to make when it comes to buying a PC today. A wide range of form factors, price points, and new technologies figure into their decisions," said Mike Sievert, Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows product management. "With that in mind, Microsoft and OEMs are making it easier to prepare for the arrival of Windows Vista. Customers now have the information they need to get a great Windows XP-based PC today that will deliver rich Windows Vista experiences tomorrow."

The requirements might surprise you because they're lower than anticipated. To run Vista, you'll need a 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) PC with at least an 800MHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and a Microsoft DirectX 9.0-capable video card. Microsoft says such PCs are now classified as "Vista Capable." To provide optimum performance and to qualify for the "Vista Premium Ready" label (so that you can utilize certain high-end Vista editions such as Vista Ultimate or Vista Home Premium), your PC must have at least a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, a Windows Aero-compliant video card with 128MB of RAM, a 40GB hard disk with 15GB of free space, a DVD-ROM drive, and sound and Internet capabilities. Windows Aero-compliant video cards include DirectX 9.0-class graphics processors, a Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) driver, and are compatible with Pixel Shader 2.0. A graphics card with 64MB of RAM is enough to drive a 1024 x 768 display, despite the 128MB requirement for the "Vista Premium Ready" label.

You can find more information about Vista's system requirements and recommendations in Part 1 of my Windows Vista Beta 2 review, which should be available soon on the SuperSite for Windows.

http://www.winsupersite.com/

Judge Agrees to Extend Microsoft Antitrust Oversight

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly approved a two-year extension of Microsoft's US antitrust oversight yesterday, noting that she was "disappointed" with the software giant's lack of compliance. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) originally asked the judge to extend oversight of Microsoft's business practices through November 2009. Before the extension, the oversight would have expired in late 2007.

"I want to make sure we have the resources to get things done," Kollar-Kotelly said yesterday in the Federal District Court in Washington DC, referring to Microsoft's continued reluctance to ship technical documentation to its competitors in the server market. (Microsoft is facing a similar problem in its European Union--EU--antitrust case.) "I want to make sure we aren't shortchanged."

Microsoft agreed to the extended oversight time period. The company admits that its efforts so far have been substandard and has outlined the steps it will take to completely rewrite much of its documentation. Microsoft is also opening an interoperability lab in which other companies can test their solutions and get on-site help from Microsoft engineers. Kollar-Kotelly approved of the plan but said, "I wish this had been done earlier."

Microsoft has 300 employees working on its antitrust requirements and recently put Senior Vice President Bob Muglia in charge of these efforts. "We've made the decision that this is the priority project in the company," Muglia told the court.

Kollar-Kotelly asked the DOJ to determine whether another part of Microsoft's consent decree--in which the company is barred from penalizing PC makers for promoting products that compete with Microsoft products--should also be extended. However, the DOJ said such an extension wouldn't be necessary. The judge noted that she might impose a further three-year compliance extension if Microsoft doesn't make progress quickly. Kollar-Kotelly scheduled a court date for September 7, 2006, to gauge Microsoft's efforts.