10. Microsoft builds more than one tier of Windows Vista hardware compliance
When the first betas of Microsoft's next generation operating system, Windows Vista, were released to testers last July, they were installed on systems using today's top-tier graphics performance drivers, based on Microsoft's DirectX 9 standard. We've known for some time that Vista will utilize 3D rendering across-the-board for all its graphical components. What we did not know, and we learned at the Professional Developers' Conference in Los Angeles last September, was that the company was planning to release DirectX 10 not as a replacement for DX9, but as an alternative. This way, 2007's high-performance systems will be able to render 3D effects in a demonstrably different way than today's systems using DX9. Meanwhile, DX9 will continue to be supported, as a sort of "value" tier that we expect will be called "Vista ready," alongside the DX10 performance tier, which we expect to be called "Vista compliant." Suddenly, all those press releases promising the first "Vista ready" hardware, meant something entirely new and different.