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Microsoft Out of Favor With Young, Hip Developers 775

Posted by kdawson
from the so-last-week dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft's failures with the KIN phone (only two months on the market, less than 10,000 phones sold) are well-known to this community. Now the NY Times goes farther, quoting Tim O'Reilly: 'Microsoft is totally off the radar of the cool, hip, cutting-edge software developers.' Microsoft has acknowledged that they have lost young developers to the lures of free software. 'We did not get access to kids as they were going through college,' acknowledged Bob Muglia, the president of Microsoft's business software group, in an interview last year. 'And then, when people, particularly younger people, wanted to build a start-up, and they were generally under-capitalized, the idea of buying Microsoft software was a really problematic idea for them.' Microsoft's program to seed start-ups with its software for free requires the fledgling companies to meet certain guidelines and jump through hoops to receive software — while its free competitors simply allow anyone to download products off a website with the click of a button." Update: 07/07 13:21 GMT by T : Tim O'Reilly says that while he "[doesn't] disagree with all of his conclusions," he's not happy with it Ashlee Vance's piece, writing "I was not the source for the various comments that were attributed to me," including the bit about "totally off the radar." (Thanks to reader gbll.)
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Microsoft Out of Favor With Young, Hip Developers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:42PM (#32818608)
    A qualified judge of what young, hip people are interested in.
  • by grnbrg (140964) <slashdot@@@grnbrg...org> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:47PM (#32818652)

    First they ignore you.
    Then they ridicule you.
    Then they fight you.
    Then you win.

    -- Ghandi.

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:53PM (#32818738) Homepage

      Developers, developers, developers, developers!

      -Steve Ballmer

    • by mike260 (224212) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:17PM (#32819014)

      First they ignore you.
      Then they ridicule you.
      Then they fight you.
      Then they kill you.
      Then you're dead.
      Should've taken the hint.

    • by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:48PM (#32821036)

      First they ignore you.
      Then they ridicule you.
      Then they fight you.
      Then you win.

      First you copy this quote.
      Then you paste it into the comment box.
      Then you post the quote in any vaguely appropriate thread.
      Then you get an instant +5 karma.

  • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:47PM (#32818660)

    Boo-fucking-hoo.

    • by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:46PM (#32821022)

      Precisely. Microsoft lost on two counts, both self-imposed, and they are getting what they deserve.

      They emphasized crap to lock users in instead of real cutting edge development, which is not fun for developers or users, and which generates crap code, twisted beyond comprehension, byzantine, ugly. IBM had this same problem as a result of their anti-trust shenanigans, and apparently Microsoft chose to repeat history.

      Microsoft also emphasized control freakery beyond all reason, in addition to the twiddly feature lockin, what with siccing the BSA on "pirates", horrible copy protection, license verification requiring internet access to run, on and on, making use of their software more and more hassle. The message was clear -- go somewhere else.

      People would put up with either of these to some extent, but the combination made them simply not worth the hassle. Crap products which make life difficult are dead products.

      All they had to do was stay bleeding edge, drop the lockin featuritis, and compete on quality. They'd have the market sewn up.

  • Too narrow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:49PM (#32818684) Homepage Journal

    The microsoft software stack is designed so that service providers can siphon money off at the point of delivery. Antivirus is a good example. Yeah we sold you an OS but you need this extra thing to make it secure, didn't you know that?

    So its a great way to make money if you stay with their targeted solutions. But if you want to do something totally new the benefits of using microsoft aren't really there so developers look elsewhere.

    • Re:Too narrow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by obarthelemy (160321) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:24PM (#32819116)

      I don't get you point ?

      how is that worse than Apple's model that actually siphons off 30% of all content and apps you install on your iDevice, and censors what apps and content are allowed, and takes a cut of wireless contracts ?

      the issue for MS is that they DON'T make money on content, software and services sold for their machines... but that's also the cause for their success ?

    • Re:Too narrow (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:24PM (#32819900)

      The Microsoft software stack is designed so that service providers can siphon money off at the point of delivery. Antivirus is a good example. Yeah we sold you an OS but you need this extra thing to make it secure, didn't you know that?

      As much as I dislike MS, this is a case of "never blame malice for what can adequately be blamed on stupidity".

      Microsoft designed a single user OS with no in built security in a time where networks were rare and have been forced to continue on with it by their customer base. All security ended up being tacked on because MS cant afford to kill legacy applications. I really don't think anyone at MS wants Windows to be insecure, it just happened that way and now they have to live with it.

      So its a great way to make money if you stay with their targeted solutions. But if you want to do something totally new the benefits of using microsoft aren't really there so developers look elsewhere.

      This, the entire article is not news and I think this sums it up nicely. For a long time now the innovative people have used OSS whilst the people who just want to bring product X to market used MS.

  • Free (Score:3, Informative)

    by jamesyouwish (1738816) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:49PM (#32818690)
    You mean a startup would rather spend it's money on its core business then on bloated software. Especial when a free version does all they need.
    • Re:Free (Score:5, Funny)

      by maugle (1369813) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:00PM (#32820748)
      Hoo, boy, I can just see the next wave of Microsoft ads:

      Most startups prefer to spend money on their core business instead of on Microsoft software...
      90% of startups fail.
      Buy from Microsoft!
      if you know what's good for you
  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:50PM (#32818706)

    But all my Microsoft software was fr.... uh, nevermind

  • Bullshit (Score:4, Interesting)

    by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:54PM (#32818748) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft's Bizspark program for startups requires you to fill out a form to get free software. OK, Almost free. At the end of two years, you have to pay them $200. I wouldn't call that "jumping through hoops". I didn't need any double-super secret intros from investors either. I got the info from the Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs - an organization open to anybody.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mswhippingboy (754599)

      OK, Almost free. At the end of two years, you have to pay them $200.

      Some people (especially startups with no money) would not consider $200 "almost free". In fact, there's no such thing as almost free, it's like being pregnant. It either is or it isn't, and free will always be cooler than not free.

      MS got greedy and forgot the reason for their success was developers. They could have given away their developer tools all along. They were making enough money on Windows & Office, but they weren't satisfied with that and kept reaming developers for their tools, which had

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mugnyte (203225)

      C'mon dude. Bizspark is mostly a networking concept. Not a cool-application platform.

      This article isn't about VC-level startups, it's about students building the NextSmallThing in their dorm room. For the price of a bank of old servers, someone can build a web app and get a cool company started. MS is never going to deliver the performance/cost ratios of an old fashioned LAMP stack. It's not a business model that competes that way. Plus, that stack is just a gateway anymore - the real fun is in s

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Interesting)

      by zarthrag (650912) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:43PM (#32819356)
      I'm starting a small business all on my own too, and I took a long hard look as Bizspark - but it's big catch-22 is that you have to be developing independent *software*. I've started a hardware company (consumer electronics/industrial robotics). The product is largely defined by it's usb drivers and accompanying software - but in the end, I'm still producing hardware - that's a whole new world of expensive! If MS were open or at least cheap, I could use the latest visual studio, and maybe even their nifty robotics studio too. But instead I'm using (almost) all opensource tools. Visual Studio Professional should be free - period (express is useful, but severely limited since there are no add-ins allowed.) And MS would do well to give away (or make *very cheap*) a "startup" MSDN on the order of $200/yr that includes visual studio professional. I'd say that would be very attractive compared to free stuff. I like MSDN, but not enough to fork over $1200 and 800 a year!
    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pavera (320634) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:44PM (#32819366) Homepage Journal

      well... I can't believe thats really *all* you have to pay... If you build the next facebook, and in 2 years you need 30k servers... you better believe MS is going to come after you for valid actual fully paid licenses... I have no clue how much that would cost... Licensing a small 30 person law firm costs 30k just for 3 servers and MS office... I can't even begin to fathom how much a datacenter full of web servers and SQL server would cost... well into the hundreds of millions... and you can bet MS will keep coming year after year after year.... They'll want you to upgrade the OS every 3-4 years, upgrade SQL server every 2-3 years... each time taking hundreds of millions of dollars from your pocket... and for what?!? FOSS solved these problems and solved them better 10 years ago...

      MS licensing would have killed facebook, twiiter, and google. Probably yahoo, and just about anyone else too. When these businesses started taking off they were still venture funded, and they were adding hundreds if not thousands of machines a month. With that kind of scaling the doubling in cost for MS licensing would have bankrupted all of them before they had a chance to find a business model. No one building to scale on the web would ever choose MS, its far too expensive when you're talking about thousands of nodes.

      The only major web company I know of that runs MS is eBay... and besides going public in the .com boom, I have no clue how they managed to afford the doubling of their startup costs that using MS means. Maybe they got some sort of sweetheart deal... but MS is notorious for doing a sweetheart deal to start, only to ruin your life when the rubber actually hits the road, trusting them with your business is foolish. eBay shareholders would probably be really happy if the capex going to MS stayed on eBay's bottom line...

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Funny)

      by BlueStraggler (765543) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:37PM (#32820050)

      For my start-up, we just phoned our local MS sales rep and told him we were developing on Linux and were looking to build a interface layer to some MS servers, and what could they do? They sent us a full set of disks and license keys to a bunch of MS server apps, no questions asked.

      Ultimately didn't help. Even with that 1st-rate support, it was still easier to just ditch the MS stuff entirely.

  • ..rrrriiipp (Score:4, Interesting)

    by elbiatcho1 (1554817) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:56PM (#32818784)
    More, exotic fart apps is what we now expect from this new generation of HIP programmers.
  • Never confuse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:57PM (#32818792)

    Microsoft's program to seed start-ups with its software for free requires the fledgling companies to meet certain guidelines and jump through hoops to receive software — while its free competitors simply allow anyone to download products off a website with the click of a button.

    This assumes that cost is the only factor that start-ups are weighing when determining software. Some of them may legitimately pick open source because it's better or that MS doesn't offer a certain software. For many, they may go to cheaper solutions like OpenOffice instead of MS Office purely on cost. But they may use Apache instead of IIS for performance reasons.

    If cost is the only reason, wouldn't it be likely that once these start-ups are established, they may not like having to pay full price and may turn to competitors for cheaper alternatives?

    • Re:Never confuse (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bugs2squash (1132591) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:04PM (#32818872)
      These guys will have looked at what they could potentially invent before they started a business, way before Microsoft would consider accommodating their inquiries. There's good documentation readily available in reasonably digestible formats for OSS. If I'm all about making something new work, I want to know how the system I base it upon works and the easiest way to know that is to base it on an open platform.
  • Right and wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:58PM (#32818804) Journal

    Well this certainly isn't anywhere Microsoft is going to visit, and as a young, hip developer myself, I'd sure like to point out a good reason as to why they aren't doing so hot with my demographic.

    The issue isn't that you aren't "accessing" post secondary students. I learned all about VB, .NET, and I used Visual Studio, and I made some pretty amazing Win32 apps. All in all, my experience with the product was good. VB, once you understand programming theory, is as easy to write as Java or C++, its mostly just a syntax thing. All in all I found Visual Studio easier to layout and work with GUI's than Eclipse was with Java. So, you don't need to worry about that, Microsoft.

    But you did hit ONE big nail right on the head.

    And then, when people, particularly younger people, wanted to build a start-up, and they were generally under-capitalized, the idea of buying Microsoft software was a really problematic idea for them.

    Yes, yes it was a big problem for me. Currently the latest version, with the PRO edition (not even the ultimate edition) is $729 dollars - which is more than most kids with student loan debts can afford. And then you made the "Express" tools which are completely and utterly crippled in that I can't do half the stuff that made visual studio so appealing to use.

    As such, when my school taught me how to use the no-cost solutions, you can imagine how much more we prefer to work with them as a hobby, because as young, hip, students we don't have any money to just fling around.

    Not to mention that .NET seems to be losing some speed - I don't know if I want to keep writing for it.

    • Re:Right and wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mirage of Deceit (1844850) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:20PM (#32819060)

      As such, when my school taught me how to use the no-cost solutions, you can imagine how much more we prefer to work with them as a hobby, because as young, hip, students we don't have any money to just fling around.

      Not to mention that .NET seems to be losing some speed - I don't know if I want to keep writing for it.

      As a recent CS grad, I agree 100% that the cost to get up and running for MS is a pretty huge deal.

      But another big draw in the FOSS world (for me, at least) is the freedom to write code that isn't locked down to particular technology or other setup. I see Microsoft (and Apple, and a few others) as wanting to get us locked into their way of doing things, completely ignoring the possibility of 'change' that doesn't come from them.

      I would much rather give life to some core idea and then see how people with other interests and thoughts can expand and evolve what I started.

      • Mirage and Monkeedude are the horse's mouth. Look at their slashdot ID's and you can tell they are new entrants to this rat race.

        I suspect the 'locking down to technology' is a pretty serious issue, along with the cost of the sophisticated development environment. And, speaking of development environment, the new graduates are going to be very comfortable with the social networking side of the FOSS world. When there is a problem with a tool, or if they need help with an esoteric problem, the help is read
  • by markdavis (642305) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:58PM (#32818808)

    What Microsoft still doesn't seem to understand is that the lure of FOSS goes beyond what's "hip", and also goes beyond the price.

    And I love these quotes: "We did not get access to kids as they were going through college" Translation: "We did not infiltrate schools enough to make sure they had no exposure to anything but our stuff".

    And: "Microsoft's program to seed start-ups with its software for free requires the fledgling companies to meet certain guidelines and jump through hoops to receive [free/discounted] software" Translation: "We should have worked harder to make it even easier to get people/companies hooked on our proprietary solutions".

    Oh well.

  • Speed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tthomas48 (180798) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:00PM (#32818836) Homepage

    Microsoft quite simply is too slow. They build nice tools, but they do so slowly. Far too slowly for the pace of the Internet. If they were an innovative company that might not be a problem, but Microsoft is now chasing at about a 2-4 year disadvantage.

    It has nothing to do with "cool". I don't use COBOL not because it isn't "cool". I don't use COBOL because it doesn't have useful hooks into the libraries I need to use on a day to day basis. Same with Microsoft tech.

  • by Xiver (13712) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:05PM (#32818886)
    I don't think their major problem is that opensource is free. I think their major problem is that their development environment is oppressive and they change it every couple of years. Who wants to spend their time learning a new bug ridden API every two years that doesn't do anything different than the last version?
    • by hoggoth (414195) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:13PM (#32818976) Journal

      This is the big item for me.

      I can still write C code in emacs and compile with the same makefile under gcc if I wanted to. I can still call the same POSIX libraries. I don't have to throw away everything I know and start all over every few years. I have learned new languages, like Python and Java and new APIs because they were pertinent to what I was trying to accomplish.

      Microsoft seems to make a big marketing splash on a development toolset or language or API every few years only to throw it away with the "next big thing". For someone who's been programming long enough this gets to be a tiring waste of time.

      • by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:02PM (#32820304)
        The developer community is a big factor as well. If you develop in Java, there's tons of frameworks available for everything, too many sometimes. You can find code to do anything, and almost never really need to re-invent the wheel. The C# community does not seem to be nearly as open, with most of the open frameworks and tools being copied from the Java stuff. The attitude seems to be that you should be paid for everything, and fewer people will share their work. This seems to be changing, but there's still a ways to go.
      • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:25PM (#32821286)

        Microsoft seems to make a big marketing splash on a development toolset or language or API every few years only to throw it away with the "next big thing". For someone who's been programming long enough this gets to be a tiring waste of time.

        Indeed. They even threw away an entire language, Visual Basic, much to the annoyance of all the companies that had invested millions in it (VB.NET is really not the same language and don't get me started on the auto-conversion tools). With proprietary languages the vendor makes (often sweeping changes) that suit THEIR business plan rather than addressing any pressing features their customers might really need. You can end up having to rewrite things pointlessly without adding any real value to your product. At the same time your competitors who chose to use something open, like Java or (and now QT) are spending that time adding new useful features to their product. They are also able to offer their product across a much larger range of platforms.

    • by pavera (320634) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:23PM (#32819112) Homepage Journal

      Maybe... but the last 3 startups I've worked for it was 100% the free thing. When you're building web services that are going to scale to thousands of users and millions of transactions, you need hardware... and when each CPU you plop out there costs you $800+ in software licenses, it gets very expensive very fast, and linux is a no brainer.

    • by turing_m (1030530) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:20PM (#32820438)

      MS has so many problems with FOSS, some of them major.

      1. FOSS is free as in beer. And it is eternally free. Software developers, with the possible exception of ($LANGUAGE developers), aren't stupid - there is some IQ floor involved in software development. Even if you give crippleware away, developers know that if they use your stuff it is going to eventually cost them. And if they can get something of near equivalent functionality that is FOSS, they don't have to deal with ever paying the piper. That's more margin for you and yours.

      This helps if you are a startup, if you just want to experiment, or if you want to sneak something in at work and not have to ask to spend money. Strange but true - it's orders of magnitude easier to get money from a boss in the form of time to work on something than it is to get authorization to spend equivalent actual dollars on it.

      2. FOSS is open source by definition. If you come across some future unanticipated problem, there is potential to hack it until it does if you have the skills.

      3. Most FOSS has no vendor lock in (other than stuff like MySQL). Meaning, your development platform can't jerk the rug out from under you by deciding that you are now going to use DAO or ADO, or .NET, or however they've decided to screw you over by obsoleting the work you've done. No vendor lock-in also means they can't dangle you upside down and see how much money falls out.

      4. FOSS is often good, and keeps getting better because people keep contributing to it. Once you have used a bit of FOSS, you are often astounded by the quality and that encourages you to use more of it. And that experience leads a person to totally dispense with the "free = crap" heuristic. It's like drinking water from some unspoiled rainforest stream - it is both free and better than the commercial alternative. After a while your own heuristic becomes - "1. Search the FOSS world first. 2. If the best of what you find works well, stop looking."

      5. FOSS has a passionate community. If you want help and can google, there is usually a good community around whatever FOSS it is you are interested in. In a genuine community, there is rarely a conflict between the creator of the software and the interests of the community. With a commercial solution, there is always that conflict - users want to pay less money, vendors need money to live.

      6. FOSS is hassle free - you want to try it or use it, you just download it. You still have to learn how to use it, but that is no different from a proprietary solution.

      7. FOSS OS (and non-MS OS) are renowned for being more stable, secure, powerful and easier to install than Windows once you know how. These attributes suit developers. Running FOSS on top of a FOSS OS is usually easier to install and use, better integrated, and more powerful. There is a virtuous circle going on there.

      8. FOSS is trustworthy - you can see the code yourself, and fork it if you want. You may never do this but you know you can, and so do other people.

      Why else does MS have a problem? Because university students WILL be exposed to some FOSS software if they do anything related to software. They will use commercial stuff too, but very likely they will learn many of the lessons above. At that point they've already swallowed the red pill. Even if they don't get exposure there their guru friends probably use FOSS.

  • Fine with me... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheGrapeApe (833505) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:08PM (#32818910)
    I am a young(er? 29) developer and I do most of my development on the .NET stack. No, it's not as "cool" as being an iPhone dev, but at least Ballmer doesn't tell me I can't compile my code without forking him $100/yr...and he doesn't take 30% percent of whatever I might make selling my code.

    I work in a mixed shop where most of the other devs are Ruby/Rails guys...they all see me as a "sellout" for using .NET (and maybe I am?)...but when it comes to choosing what platform to learn and code in, I'm pretty happy with Microsoft in general. It's a lot easier for me to find a job doing .NET than it is for them in Ruby/Rails...and in 5 years they'll have to throw out everything they learned about Ruby/Rails because the fanboyism that drives their community will have moved on to the next "big shiny thing" (Scala?)...I'll still be writing code in C#...Does that make me a sellout? Maybe, but I'll take more money for less work and less drama any day of the week.
    • Re:Fine with me... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:19PM (#32819046)

      Really? "but at least Ballmer doesn't tell me I can't compile my code without forking him $100/yr."

      http://store.microsoft.com/microsoft/Visual-Studio-2010-Professional-Upgrade/product/AA16E99E?wt.mc_id=vssitebuy

      No, he tells you you can't compile your code without forking him [sic] $550 in the first year and requiring an additional $500 for upgrades every 2 or 3 years. That's way cheaper!

      "and he doesn't take 30% percent of whatever I might make selling my code."

      But he also don't provide a free server to host your code and free testing before it is provided to users and no credit card fees.

      Apple isn't perfect, but don't tell us Microsoft is much if any better.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by melted (227442)

      Um, dude. You don't have to fork over anything to compile or run in an emulator. You do have to pay $100/year to run your software on the device and to ship it through the app store. And you can bet Microsoft will be charging for that, too. They have to make money somehow.

    • Well frankly (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:31PM (#32819228)

      Any "developer" who is a fanboy and will code only in their favoured language isn't worthy of the title of developer. They are a hack, or a code monkey, not a developer. A real developer will learn to understand how a computer works, at a fundamental level, and look at programming languages as different ways to solve a problem. They'll understand that there is not a best language because there is not one kind of problem. Some are better for certain things.

      Also a good developer will probably learn how to develop for multiple platforms. After all while Linux is used a whole lot in the web world, MS rules on the desktop so it would be to one's advantage to be able to code on both platforms. Further more, it would be to their advantage to do so in the tools that generate the best programs. For Windows, that is Visual Studio, for Linux it is (obviously) not.

      So no, you aren't a sellout. I would say that if you focus only on .NET development you are being a bit too narrow, but learning it is a good thing. There is a lot of work for .NET devs. Companies want shiny GUIs for Windows things and .NET is a good way to deliver. The other "developers" will find that whining to the company and claiming they shouldn't do that won't work. Most companies are accustomed to telling you what you are going to do, not the other way around.

      I have a friend who's a contract developer and he uses languages of all sorts. If you want something done in Windows, he defaults to .NET (using C# usually) since that works well on that platform. In Linux, it is PERL quite often since nearly every Linux distro ships with it. However if you wanted something speed critical, it'd probably be C++. He sees languages as tools to solve problems, and tries to choose the right one for the job. That doesn't mean he uses any and every language, of course, he's got ones he prefers, just that he has a bag with more than one tool in it and he tries to select the correct one.

      Personally I have little to no respect from code hacks that want to trumpet The One True Language as the one they use. That think is solves EVERY problem, that won't learn anything else. What it tells me is that they don't really understand programming. They've learned the syntax and grammar of a language without understanding the underpinnings. That is not a good situation and leads to bad code, shitty apps, and the kind of person who will say "That can't be done," to anything they don't understand how to do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by caywen (942955)

      You should check out MonoTouch and Unity. Apparently, you're already close to being an iPhone dev.

      I totally hear you and feel your pain. I'm a .NET dev, and I am a near pariah for even suggesting that it's a decent solution. I nearly got my head taken off for suggesting to other Linux-based devs that perhaps we can do some tools in Mono.

      And I get to sit around and watch them spend countless hours trying to write a stable sockets server, or write string.Split, or figuring out how to encode in UTF-8.

      I'm with

    • Re:Fine with me... (Score:4, Informative)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:40PM (#32819334)
      So your company pays no money for Visual Studio Professional Editions for you to develop? Right . . . . The $100/yr btw is if you want to distribute apps on the App store. If you are writing OS X applications, there is no yearly fee.
  • by ChipMonk (711367) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:11PM (#32818948) Journal
    Really, has Microsoft had a trend-setting new product (not an update or sequel) since Steve Ballmer took the helm? Everything new product line they've come up with since 2000, from Xbox to the Kin, has been an attempt catch-up with someone, rather than blaze new trails.
  • by js3 (319268) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:25PM (#32819138)

    The amount of .net developer jobs out there is insane. Almost EVERYTHING is now .net, iphone development is kinda "hip" but it's not exactly a money maker at this point for anyone. I"m still stuck on old c/c++ development but that brings in the biggest and longest software contracts compared to the 3 week "do this iphone app for me" jobs.

  • by FrankDrebin (238464) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @07:46PM (#32819412) Homepage

    'We did not get access to kids as they were going through college,'

    That language! Not "college students were not broadly exposed to our products", or "our outreach efforts fell short", bur rather "...get access to kids...". MS has always been a cathedral, but sheesh, now they're even sounding like priests.

  • by MarkKnopfler (472229) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:26PM (#32819926)

    Dear Microsoft,
        Today you sit and rue the face that you have lost the developer base and to
        feel better about it, you label them as 'young and hip'. Here is some news:
        Very few developers actually enjoy writing for windows. People have been
        writing code on microsoft platforms since there are a huge number of people
        who use microsoft products and ignoring the windows platform amounts to
        ignoring a huge customer base which the developer could not afford to do.
        We, as developers never really enjoyed developing for windows -- it is just
        that we did not have a choice.
        Today however, the scene has been changing.
        1. A large number of GUI-based applications have moved into the browser.
        2. Windows servers are not really used in large technology companies
        They still are a dominant force in small to medium company's IT
        infrastructures. That is all exchange and sharepoint. Any sane startup will
        not consider windows to host their servers.
        3. Developers now are used to and are aware of desktop platforms which
        work well and also are very good programming platforms. Macs have a robust
        BSD backbone and Linux is well, Linux. So everybody now have platforms
        on which they can hack code and also play their movies.
        4. Java provides for a development environment which can make pretty windows
        without having to use developer studio.

        So you have a scenario where where Microsoft is not the only viable
        desktop/laptop OS. Also, it is a terrible programming environment. So any
        self-respecting developer will not run windows on his personal machine and
        as a result will want to push it out of his workplace too. The process
        started a long time back. You guys are feeling it now.

        So we come to the next question: Why do we hate writing code for windows ?

        I will not cite the BSOD. The "windows crashes" and "windows is not stable"
        are old arguments.
        Windows is much much more stable than it used to be. In all honesty it has
        been ages since I last saw a BSOD. We hate writing code for the windows
        platform is because it sucks as a development platform.

        1. The design is not based on any implementation of UNIX. That makes any CS
        student uncomfortable. I am not saying that that the developer is
        uncomfortable because windows has a bad programming interface (which btw it
        is ). I am saying that it makes him uncomfortable because he cannot
        recognize patterns he used to learn his computer science. He cannot refer to
        the kernel source when he runs into a thorny problem, he cannot go online to
        get a real educated answer to his problems. It is unfamiliar and since he is
        not used to the paradigm. The developer finds it inelegant.

        2. The second point is that it IS a bad programming interface. Till very
        recently did not have a scripting interface worth its salt, has an extremely
        convoluted device driver infrastructure and has that terrible thing called
        the registry.

        3. The development environment is not free as in beer and as in speech. It
        is a closed heavily controlled environment in which the developer has no say
        and is an interface which changes very frequently. You can get away with
        changing rapidly and being open ( which linux does ) but you cannot get away
        by being closed and also changing every 2 years. It drives the developer
        mad.

        4. Emacs and Vim do not integrate well with visual studio :)

  • huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tridus (79566) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:38PM (#32820072) Homepage

    Isn't it more a problem that Microsoft isn't competitive in the markets where "young, hip developers" are doing things? They don't have a competitive smartphone OS right now, and likely won't anytime soon. That's where the exciting development is happening. So they're not a player.

    If you're a developer looking to do smartphone apps, are you really going to target Windows Mobile? If so, which version? The obsolete one, or the one that isn't out yet? It's not a serious option at this point. So to say they lost developers for some reason is kind of silly, since it's not a problem with their developer outreach or their tools. They haven't given people something to develop FOR.

  • I may not be hip.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spiffmastercow (1001386) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:03PM (#32820312)
    I my not be hip, but I'm 27, and I enjoy .net programming immensely. C#, unlike Java, favors practicality over ideology. Partial classes, lambda functions, anonymous delegates, and extension methods are an anethema to OOP, but they're practical and, dare I say it, kind of fun. Java is a lumbering retarded beast, python has scalability issues, and perl is illegible. Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of FOSS software, but MS has done a good job with its dev tools.
  • Here's a big DUH... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dskoll (99328) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:07PM (#32820342)

    I work at a 100% Linux company, but was thrust into the world of MSFT for one day today with some business partners. The one partner was busy trying to deal with a dead Exchange server; he'll be driving straight to the customer site and rebuilding it from scratch... a long night ahead.

    The other partner was also having Exchange server hiccups. And one person's laptop got in a snit and refused to work. A reboot elicited about a dozen scary warnings about missing DLLs until finally it booted to the point where it could limp along.

    And I realized that our on-the-cheap FOSS infrastructure is not only way cheaper than MSFT, but vastly more stable and reliable. I'd really hate to be stuck in the Windows world for more than a day; the nimble FOSS users are going to be the death knell for uncompetitive companies still stuck on MSFT.

  • by fyrie (604735) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:33PM (#32820546)
    I've noticed a new blog and twitter meme of people publicly rage quitting .NET. Most of it seems to surround the fact that MS will create their own subpar implimentation of a popular .NET open source project instead of putting their weight behind it (Creating Entity Framework instead of support NHibernate, Creating ASP.NET MVC instead of supporting Rails on Iron Ruby, creating Razor instead of supporting Spark).
  • by rainmouse (1784278) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @09:41PM (#32820608)
    During my degree in computer science, for third year we were all turning up at computing expo's and fairs looking for an industrial placement year but when we spoke to Microsoft they were arrogant and rude. The said basically not to bother applying, the odds of getting something are so remote you would have to be beyond amazing and we don't think you are, same goes for any post graduation placements. Needless to say, we applied to companies that actually wanted to work some of the next generation of software developers instead.
  • by ewhac (5844) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:15PM (#32820858) Homepage Journal
    Below is a copy of a rant I posted [livejournal.com] to LJ a while back. In short, Microsoft does not, in any meaningful sense, make it easy to get started hacking on their systems.

    ______

    Those of you who know me in even the most casual way may be shocked to hear me say: I want to do some programming in Windows.

    One would think that one would simply go out and download a compiler and an SDK (a bit fat wad of compiler headers, link libraries, and documentation) -- or perhaps buy a CD-ROM containing same -- and you'd be completely set to develop any kind of Windows application.

    You'd be wrong.

    What's available is a hopelessly confusing mashup of tools to develop native applications, VisualBASIC applications, .NET virtual machine applications, Web applications (for IIS only, natch), database-driven applications and, if you're very nice and pay lots of money, Microsoft Office plugins. And, just to make it hard, all these tools are hidden underneath a cutesy Integrated Development Environment which passively-aggressively makes it as cumbersome as possible to figure out what's actually going on under the hood -- you know, the sorts of things a professional programmer would want to know.

    Okay, fine, just give me the tools and docs to develop native C/C++ apps. "Oh, no no no," says Microsoft, twirling its moustache, "You have to pick one of our product packages." Packages? "Oh, yes, there's Visual Studio Express, Visual Studio Standard, Visual Studio Professional, Visual Studio Team System, and Visual Studio Grand Marquess with Truffles and Cherries."

    After looking at the six-dimensional bullet chart of features, I think that Visual Studio Express may get the job done, since it comes with a C/C++ compiler and will compile native apps. "Quite so," says Microsoft whilst placing a postage stamp on a foreclosure notice, "provided you're only writing console apps -- you know, programs that run in a command window. If you want to develop full Windows GUI apps, then you'll need additional libraries which aren't necessarily included with Visual Studio Express."

    Ah, so VS Express will only let me develop "toy" applications and, if I want to do anything more advanced, I should download and install the complete Windows SDK which, amazingly, is free. "Well, you could do that," says Microsoft after tying Nell to the sawmill. "But the SDK doesn't really integrate very well with the IDE. And there's still some link libraries which only ship with Visual Studio Standard or better."

    Fine. I'll look at buying Visual Studio Standard. And then maybe I can get to improving this device driver. "Device driver!?" says Microsoft, blotting the blood spatters off its hat. "Heavens, no, that's not included with anything. You need to download and install the Driver Development Kit for that. And you may or may not need the DDK for each version of Windows you intend to support. Not to worry, however; they're all free downloads..."

    *fume* And people wonder why I've avoided this clusterfuck for the last 25 years. Ever since the Visual Studio 6 days, I've been smacked in the face with this braindamage every time I've tried doing the slightest exploration of Windows development.

    So: Can anyone with modest Windows development experience tell me what Visual Studio flavor to get and which addons to download if I want to:

    • Write native Windows applications and device drivers in C/C++,
    • Debug said applications and device drivers,
    • Not give a damn about "wizards" trying to write my code for me,
    • Not give a damn about database, Web, VisualBASIC, or .NET development.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @10:51PM (#32821060) Homepage

    There are lots of cool things to do as desktop applications. But the easy and useful ones have been done.

    Want to write a better word processor? Users will expect it to be at least as good as OpenOffice even if you give it away. If you want to charge for it, it needs to be better than Word.

    How about a 3D animation program? Big job. Yours has to be at least as good as Blender, and if you want to sell it, up there with Maya.

    CAD? You're competing with SolidWorks, Inventor, and ProEngineer. Yes, there are small startups in CAD; check out OpenMind [openmind-tech.com], makers of HyperMill [youtube.com]. That's how good a new desktop program has to do to make it today.

    Nobody is going to buy your IRC chat client as a desktop app.

  • Also ... (Score:4, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:34PM (#32821326)
    ... old, hippie developers.

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