Considering that Microsoft has been shipping 64 bit OSs (client and server) for quite a few years now and given the fact that most desktop machines are now 64 bit and even many laptops, why are so few applications and customers running native 64bit? Why is everyone installing the 32 bit OS on their 64 bit hardware? Seems like underutilization of expensive hardware to me…must make the hardware engineers cry themselves to sleep at night.
The Windows SDK has had native 64 bit support for as long as there has been 64 bit OSs--both with the Win32/Win64 programming model and the .NET Framework. However, the Windows SDK SQM data (data that customers voluntarily sent back to us about custom install options) indicates that only 20% of Windows SDK customers are installing the native 64 bit components. How come?
Developers will tell you they see no need to port existing client applications to 64 bit. They don't need the humongous address space like a server application would and they don’t think it will give them any performance gains. In other words, not enough bang per buck. Heck, how many 64 bit client applications can you name from Microsoft? Even Microsoft's flagship developer product is not native 64 bit and only supports targeting 64 bit development via cross compiling. We're not really eating our own dog food on that one are we? Kinda sad actually.
Of course, it’s a whole other story when you are talking about server applications like SQL and Exchange. They can take full advantage of what 64 bit OSs offer.
Most folks will tell you that it's the lack of good device drivers on 64 bit that is holding up client adoption. But apparently it’s more than that. Today, there was an article on vnunet.com about how poorly anti-virus software is doing on 64 bit Windows Vista.
And where are the 64 bit games? It seems like some of the higher end games could take advantage of 64 bit. I figure they are likely to be waiting on the device drivers and watching the 64bit OS sales figures.
I believe that when Microsoft starts producing 64 bit versions of its flagship client applications (Office, Visual Studio, etc), we will finally start to see the migration from 32 bit to 64 bit OS installs. Other developers will follow our lead. Question is, when will we step up?