March 22, 2006

Microsoft: Developers, Developers, Developers (and Businesses)

This is probably not very insightful, but I realize these days that Microsoft doesn't make software for users (consumers). They haven't in a long time. I mean, sure somewhere in the vastness that is Microsoft they do (or at least, they think about it :P), but I mean the core stuff: Windows, Office, etc.

The X-Box is definitely in the consumer category, but Vista? .NET? IE? Office?

All for businesses first, consumers second, I'll contend.

Seems like kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy for Microsoft - make it easy for businesses and developers to build and deploy software on their platform(s), and these businesses will just continue to require Microsoft software to be deployed everywhere, which makes it easy to build and deploy software, rinse and repeat.

Its not a bad business (by any stretch of the imagination :)) - and if you think about it, they were "
Computing 2.0" to the mainframe industry. It just took a while for the Web to catch up - it is, of course, all the wheel of reincarnation at work.

As I said, not really insightful, but now that I work at a
consumer software company, that distinction seems more meaningful.

Here's a test on this thought: Would you say that .NET was a sucess or failure for Microsoft, and why?

Still, Microsoft Live is different.

They've got a long way to go, but its definitely for People. I think THIS is the big transition for Microsoft that the Web introduced: moving from business computing to truly personal computing thinking. And its not just a clone website - there is some very different thinking involved.


Dossy Shiobara said...

IMHO, it's all about monetization.

You can't prevent consumers from pirating your desktop-based software en-masse. You can, however, audit larger companies and force them to pay for their software. So, make software that companies will want to use and install, and monetize on them. All the consumer piracy: build in any "loss" into the markup you charge the business customers to cover all costs.

With web-based software, people can't just "pirate" it -- they can share username/passwords, but that's fairly easy to detect and shut down accounts. It's possible to monetize on the consumer users, so it's reasonable to make web-based applications aimed at consumers.

Hardware is also something that can be monetized through consumers: you can't just "copy" your XBox and give it to your friends. Of course, the game titles are subject to software piracy, but I'm sure they're marked up high enough that the percentage of people who DO pay for it provide enough return that the piracy doesn't really have a material impact (regardless of all the whining companies do that try to claim the contrary).

Anonymous said...

IMHO .NET was a success for Microsoft for many reasons. Application developers (especially web developers) benefit a lot from .NET: rich SDK (60 000 methods and well documented), managed code, lots of tools, interop with legacy code, programming language independency, good performance for web-based applications and more. This makes businesses IT departments switch to .NET and to Microsoft food chain too :) (servers, server software, databases and other expensive stuff). Another benefit for Microsoft is that managed code is more secure and reliable. It leads to secure and reliable applications written in .NET that makes Windows platform even more attractive. On the other hand Microsoft doesn't use .NET much for its own desktop application development and I think for a good reason - applications written in C run much faster.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Microsoft is into making software anymore (Though I'm in numberous betas). With the run around aquirements of Google/Yahoo/etc Microsoft I think is purposing keeping all their properties online as by the "live" monkier.

However Sree, also remember OUR userbase is changing which means their userbase is as well and to a more professional level. That's the one thing we're finally coming around to..."t3h interwebs" aren't the WorldWideWeb they used to be.

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