“Vista passed Mac OS X in 15 weeks”: Gates

Bill Gates at the WinHEC keynote: and Vista is thiiiis big

While everyone’s been focused on driver problems and annoying security prompts Windows Vista’s installed base has taken just 15 weeks to race past that of Apple according to chairman Bill Gates.

Delivering a keynote address to 3000 technophiles at Microsoft’s WinHEC event in Los Angeles the typically reserved Gates wasted no time in talking up the market reaction to his company’s latest OS offering.

“As of last week we have had nearly 40 million copies (of Vista) sold and that’s happened twice as fast as Windows XP” he told the enthusiastic crowd.

During the presentation Gates moved from highlighting Vista’s early sales successes into a wide-ranging look at the technologies he believes will drive market uptake during the next few years.

In an apparent response to widespread dissatisfaction with the lack of drivers for external devices Microsoft is ramping up its ‘Certified for Windows’ logo program. According to Gates the program will provide end users with the confidence to purchase peripherals and know they will work with Vista.

“It is important that we set a bar in terms of ease of use and security and that is what Certified for Windows is for” says Gates.

The keynote also included a demonstration of Windows Rally a clutch of technologies designed to make it easier for consumers to connect anything from external storage to cameras and phones to a Vista-based PC.

Pushing his overarching theme of easy connectivity and simplicity of use Gates introduced a heavily scripted demo in which a home network was set up from scratch in less than five minutes.

In an effort that made most TV infomercials look spontaneous the demo staff showed just how easy Rally makes it to take a digital photo wirelessly transfer it to a Vista PC and display it on a digital photo frame. The capabilities of Rally are what underpins the Certified for Windows push. The crowd was impressed.

Microsoft’s new Windows Home Server also received the Gates blessing. Currently available in Beta this software will “open a new category” for the software giant during the next 12 months.

Ian Grayson traveled to WinHEC as a guest of Microsoft.