Linked by snydeq on Tue 19th Feb 2013 18:41 UTC
Microsoft As PC prospects decline, Microsoft has been moving toward a hybrid, cross-platform future with an eye toward opportunities in the server closet and the cloud. But the question remains, How might Microsoft evolve to get there? "It's tempting to say the past five years has seen Microsoft's desktop-centric strategy slowly give way to a pell-mell free-for-all made up of equal parts desktop, server, mobile hardware and software, cloud services, and auxiliary systems like the Xbox. Truth is, intention has always been present. It's only now, thanks to major upheavals in consumer tech and the cloud, that Microsoft's broad-spectrum plays are becoming more evident and critical. [...] What may be new for Microsoft is the need to better cohere its strategy around an ever-widening array of services and technologies, especially as the breadth of competition it faces widens. Most of all, if there ever comes a time to stop being a consumer-oriented company, Microsoft shouldn't flinch. A future where Microsoft doesn't make hardware or end-user programs seems remote, but there was a time when IBM abandoning its PC business seemed jarring, too." And if Microsoft can't quite cohere its strategy, the best means to this end may be to divide.
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1) Need Windows 8 to develop for Metro/WP/WRT, and it's expensive (not cheap anymore). I'm sure if they had any faith on Windows Marketplace, they'd give away Windows for free so people would develop for it and/or purchase stuff.

Microsoft does give away Windows for free if you're a start up or a student and includes in that deal a years worth of access to the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store.

2) Developer support is the worst. Blackberry gave me free devices for me to port stuff to. Microsoft will not.

Microsoft gave me four WP7 devices (Three Lumia 900s and one Lumia 800) and one Lumia 920 for being a developer. They also gave me my initial Windows Phone Store membership.

There was pretty much a free flow of WP7 phones during its time frame. Nokia had a system where if you wrote one reasonably functional app, or could show them the intention to write a reasonably functional app, they'd send you a developer devices pretty handily.

Microsoft also had developer devices prior to WP7 launch, using the Samsung Taylor and an LG device with a keyboard. These devices are still floating around today.

With WP8 they're a little more tight pursed because they have more developer momentum than BB at this point. That, and Nokia runs a DVLUP program bywhich you can earn yourself a device by writing apps that meet incentives, or you can request a loaner device from Nokia. Samsung has similar programs IIRC but I never bothered to look.

3) The APIs are all proprietary. No OpenGL, for example, makes porting really difficult. OpenGLES 3 is coming out soon and the mobile DirectX API is still behind OpenGL ES 2.0. Plus, not unix based like iOS or Android. If you want people to make apps for you, make it easy for them and support saner apis like OpenSL, OpenAL, OpenGL, etc.

To make you completely happy they'd have to become Unix. Not going to happen.

A lot of shops have existing code from DirectX and Windows only games which naturally port to the Windows Store.

Developers already make the DirectX choice today by choosing the 360 over the PS3. Its telling that a lot of PS3 games are braindead ports of the 360.

4) They'd rather do expensive devices that few people can buy instead of massive cheap devices. At this rate no one will buy any software I make for it.

Unsure how this applies to Microsoft.

5) No upgrades for the existing phones means less people will buy whathever I do.


Less people? Windows Phone 8 device install base is pretty much on par in presence with the WP7 install base. Adduplex, an advertising agency for WP7/WP8 apps releases their device breakdown statistics which give insight into this.

Personal downloads of my app are split about 60/40 in favor of WP7.

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