June Count of W2K Certified Apps Closer to 70 than 100

Microsoft Corp. appears to have come up short on one self-imposed quota in its efforts to certify applications for Windows 2000. But the numbers do show third-party vendor commitment to the platform, nonetheless.

Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) introduced a new application logo program with Windows 2000. Unlike the "Designed for Windows NT" logo program which was intended to encourage raw numbers and demonstrate the momentum of Microsoft’s then-young operating system, the Windows 2000 Application Certification logo program emphasizes quality over quantity. Software must install itself in the proper directories, leave system files alone, and leverage disability features of the operating system among other requirements to gain the logo.

Short of a Herculean effort in the final days of the month, Microsoft will fall short of its goal to have 100 applications certified for Windows 2000 by the end of June.

"We will hit 100 around the end of June," predicted Marc Zasada, vice president of IT product certification for Lionbridge Technologies, which is conducting the application certification testing for Microsoft through its Veritest unit (www.veritest.com).

That number is a loose interpretation, though. "Officially, [vendors] have not passed until [we] post the report," Zasada says. The Veritest site had 67 discrete applications posted by late June. In all, 71 certifications had been handed out. Two applications are certified on both Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 2000 Server. Another two applications are certified for both Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2000 Advanced Server.

The vast majority of application certifications (57) apply to Windows 2000 Professional.

When Zasada spoke with ENT, about 85 applications had completed the technical portion of the testing process. While the technical difficulties of the rigorous certification requirements are well documented, many companies run into another round of difficulty in their legal departments.

"The process is that they pass the test, then we write the report. Then the report has to be reviewed by the client, and they have to agree to have it posted. There’s a little back and forth on the wording," Zasada says. "Their legal department has to sign an agreement with Microsoft that agrees this thing will be posted."

The post-testing, pre-listing process can take a long time. One example is Microsoft itself. Around the time of the February Windows 2000 launch, a Microsoft spokeswoman hinted that an announcement was coming that some Microsoft applications had been certified.

It turned out that testing for Microsoft Office 2000 Premium Suite, Access 2000, Excel 2000, FrontPage 2000, Outlook 2000, PhotoDraw 2000, PowerPoint 2000, Publisher 2000, and Word 2000, all Service Release 1, was done in February. But the applications weren’t posted until this month.

A Microsoft spokeswoman on the Office public relations team offered this explanation: "The delay between posting the report on the site from when the certification was due to Veritest providing us the report just as they do with any other application. We had the opportunity to review their report, provide comment, and then it also has to work its way through our legal channel."

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