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New criteria for Microsoft seal

The software giant sets new criteria for companies that want to display an official "Designed for Windows" icon on their products.

Microsoft (MSFT) has updated the criteria that Windows software developers must follow if they want the official Microsoft seal of approval on their applications.

Microsoft's logo program enables software companies to display a "Designed for Windows" icon on their product packaging. Microsoft contends that both retail and corporate customers are more confident about buying Windows software if it has Microsoft's stamp of approval.

But critics argue that the criteria go above and beyond what is necessary to run a given application. Once the required features are designed into an application, the developer must submit it to Microsoft's hand-picked test lab.

The company has posted on its Web site a draft list of the requirements for receiving a logo bearing the phrase "Designed for Windows 98 and NT." The criteria include features from Microsoft's "zero administration" initiative--its attempt to lower the maintenance or "cost of ownership" of networked PCs--and will become requirements once the operating systems ship. Win98 is due in the first quarter of 1998; NT 5.0 is due later in the year.

When Windows 98 ships, the following are some of the features that applications will need to receive the logo:

  • Support for OnNow, a power management architecture that allows users to boot up and shut down their PCs almost immediately.

  • Support for multiple monitors, a feature that the Macintosh has supported for several years. (Windows 98 will be the first Windows edition to let users set up more than one monitor to view a single desktop.)

  • Addition of a Windows 95-to-NT migration dynamic link library (DLL), a piece of software that allows users to upgrade from Windows 95 to NT 5.0 without reinstalling applications.

  • Distribution of new system DLLs and core components through service packs only.

  • Applications must query the register directly for language-specific directory names.

  • Keyboard access to all features and documentation of keyboard access.

    When Windows NT 5.0 ships, the logo requirements will include the following:

  • System32 lockdown: NT 5.0 applications will not be able to overwrite core DLLs when installing and uninstalling. This will prevent erasure of key system components. This "lockdown" of the system software will not make it into Memphis, however, which means that security surrounding executable code will remain an issue for Windows 95 users until at least the successor to Memphis.

  • Support for the NT 5.0 installation manager and registries.