Why Microsoft Should Thank Apple for Windows 7's Success

More than half of software developers are already building applications for Windows 7 and nearly 80% will do so within the next year, a new survey has found. And somewhat ironically, Microsoft might have Apple to thank for developer interest in its new operating system.

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"Spurred in part by the rising popularity of Windows 7 features like Touch and Multi-Touch technology, more software developers are developing applications for" Microsoft's new operating system, says Embarcadero Technologies, a vendor which surveyed 606 developers, architects and analy

sts in May.

Embarcadero said the success of Apple's iPhone and iPad is what helped generate interest in the touch-based technologies now available in Windows 7 (even though Microsoft has hit roadblocks in getting Windows 7 tablets to the market).

"When asked which Windows 7 features they are most excited about integrating into their applications, nearly 40% said Touch, Multi-touch and gestures input, while 27% said enhanced graphics, animations and Windows Imaging Component, and 24% said ribbon controls," Embarcadero writes in a summary of its findings. "The popularity of devices like the iPhone and iPad have helped drive mainstream acceptance of Touch-based technologies. This popularity transcends into the developer community and [it's unlikely to] abate anytime soon,"

Overall, 54% of developers said they are already developing applications for Windows 7, and another 25% said they will do so within the next year. Ten percent of respondents have no plans at all to develop Windows 7 applications.

The findings are indicative of the warm feelings customers have toward Windows 7, especially compared to the negative market reaction Microsoft encountered with Windows Vista.

Microsoft recently lost the title of world's most valuable tech firm to Apple. Even Microsoft admires how Apple products "just work," according to leaked documents pertaining to the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

But Steve Jobs is producing iPhones with faulty antennas, and Windows 7 is - literally - selling more than 7 copies per second.

The success of the operating system has helped Microsoft boost its customer satisfaction rankings to heights the company has not enjoyed in years.

But it's still early in the game for Windows 7 -- remember, even Vista was a hot seller when it first came out. Now Microsoft has to capitalize on this early success.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter.

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