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.
Thread beginning with comment 553061
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
reduz
Member since:
2006-02-25

Microsoft does everything they can to push away developers, specially for Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8. Let's enumerate why.

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.
2) Developer support is the worst. Blackberry gave me free devices for me to port stuff to. Microsoft will not.
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.
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.
5) No upgrades for the existing phones means less people will buy whathever I do.

etc.

Reply Score: 11

GraphiteCube Member since:
2009-04-01

Let me try to answer this.

> Need Windows 8 to develop for Metro/WP/WRT, and it's expensive.

I will need to buy a Mac computer to write apps for iOS (iPhone/ iPad) too. Mac is expensive to me. Perhaps you're already using Mac already so the cost to purchase Mac becomes zero, but I'm not.

I think this point is only valid if you're arguing for Android (which the SDK is available for Windows/ Mac OS X and Linux for free).

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

Because BB10 is a whole new system, so they give away devices for free to attract developers? (I know WP7 was whole new system, so you're point is valid here.) However, I haven't heard that Apple/ Google give me free iPhone/ Android phones for development, I wonder if this also makes Apple and Google giving you the worst developer support.

> 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.

I can't answer this as I don't have game development experience and benchmarks on hand.

> They'd rather do expensive devices that few people can buy instead of massive cheap devices.

Last time I checked Lumia 620/ 7xx phone are relatively cheap compared to other Android/ iPhone. May be it is just in my city, but I feel weird when people happily pay for their new iPhone 5 (HK$5xxx at least) but say that it is expensive for Windows Phone (HK$25xx for Lumia 710 and HK$39xx for Lumia 820).

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

Valid for WP7, especially for Lumia 900. But for WP8, I and you can't say that. Next upgrade for WP8 is not even announced yet, it is too early to judge. For WinRT it is the same, upgrade plan is not announced yet.

Reply Parent Score: 3

reduz Member since:
2006-02-25

You are totally missing the point. It's all about incentive. But i'll still reply to your answers to make my point clear.


I will need to buy a Mac computer to write apps for iOS (iPhone/ iPad) too. Mac is expensive to me. Perhaps you're already using Mac already so the cost to purchase Mac becomes zero, but I'm not.


Apple only had to make a few developers rich to generate incentive for everyone to make iOS apps and games. Microsoft is late the the party and their platform so far offers very little benefit compared to iOS or Android, so why should developers care? They need reasons to care, not obstacles.


However, I haven't heard that Apple/ Google give me free iPhone/ Android phones for development, I wonder if this also makes Apple and Google giving you the worst developer support.


Because Microsoft is not Apple and is not Google. Apple (willingly or unwillingly) attracted developers by making sure they earn a ton of money at first. Google made Android development extremely accessible and their entry level phones are cheap. Blackberry doesn't have either so they gave money and devices to developers.

Microsoft sat on their ass and did nothing, so developers mostly don't care.


I can't answer this as I don't have game development experience and benchmarks on hand.


You are again missing the point. It's not about performance, it's about ease of porting. Developers love learning new platform and getting their code to run on them. It's a neat challenge, except for the fact that their code has to be almost completely rewritten for Windows Phone because the APIs differ way too much (Microsoft Propertary vs Standards). Blackberry is trying to make sure that developers can port their games easily by supporting Flash, C++, Java, ObjC, OpenGL, etc. Microsoft, again, Isn't doing anything.


Last time I checked Lumia 620/ 7xx phone are relatively cheap compared to other Android/ iPhone. May be it is just in my city, but I feel weird when people happily pay for their new iPhone 5 (HK$5xxx at least) but say that it is expensive for Windows Phone (HK$25xx for Lumia 710 and HK$39xx for Lumia 820).


Anything less than WP8 is unusable for development or porting. It relies on technology Microsoft themselves made obsolete and does not even support native.
WP8 devices are not that easy to obtain in several parts of the world (like Latin America) and are more expensive than entry level Android phones.

So I hope I made my points clearer. As a developer, Microsoft is clearly doing things wrong and making the same mistake that they do all the time. It's like, they seem to think that sitting on their asses is enough and that users and developers will just be attracted to their products because they have the powerful Windows brand attached to it, while in reality it's quite the opposite.

Reply Parent Score: 3

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

I will need to buy a Mac computer to write apps for iOS (iPhone/ iPad) too. Mac is expensive to me. Perhaps you're already using Mac already so the cost to purchase Mac becomes zero, but I'm not.

Most developers are still on Win7.

I haven't heard that Apple/ Google give me free iPhone/ Android phones for development

You are not important enough. Because they do give preview devices to the most important developers under strict NDA's. Google sends out free devices to many developers and gives away a ton of devices at Google I/O.

Last time I checked Lumia 620/ 7xx phone are relatively cheap compared to other Android/ iPhone. May be it is just in my city, but I feel weird when people happily pay for their new iPhone 5 (HK$5xxx at least) but say that it is expensive for Windows Phone (HK$25xx for Lumia 710 and HK$39xx for Lumia 820).

Last time I checked, you can buy an Android device at any price you wish. The low end models today include GPU and RAM of a Nexus One(the phone that got called "the superphone").

Reply Parent Score: 2

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

The only reason for me to develop or port an app (which kind of means rewriting it from scratch) to Windows Phone would be Microsoft paying me to do the job. Otherwise, looking at market share it's a big no no.

If you want to develop for the PC you have two choices: MFC, which kind of sucks and WinRT which forces you to distribute your software through Windows Store, which I (and many others) dislike.

The only good MS platforms left to develop for are ASP.NET and games for Windows/Xbox.

I kind of wait for them to break or deprecate APS.NET MVC and DirectX, thus screwing developers once more.

Reply Parent Score: 2

reduz Member since:
2006-02-25

DirectX is already deprecated. If you wrote code using DirectSound, DirectInput, etc. you are screwed. Only Direct3D remains.

Reply Parent Score: 3

dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

You need to resend this to Microsoft.
Hardly this strategy will create an ecosystem.
:)

Reply Parent Score: -1

Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29


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.

etc.


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.

Reply Parent Score: 3