Developers Over Hype, Users

At Microsoft we’ve always recognized that developers are essential to the success of our business. Steve Ballmer’s assertion about our commitment to developers is rather famous. So I when I read a recent poll from GigaOm that asked: “Technology platform vendors need users, developers, and hype — that’s clear. But which is most important?”  I was surprised at the results. They indicates that developers are ranked the least important audience. Users and hype rank above developers? I am curious who participated in that poll. Obviously users are important, but for long-term success, you’re going to need something more. How can a company hype a new Web experience without giving users something to interact with? How can hot social networking sites attract and retain users without cool apps to keep them coming back? Yes, you need users and, yes, hype matters but you have nothing to promote or offer users if you don’t have developers creating great applications on your platform.

Today, Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5 were released to manufacturing and MSDN subscribers can download them now. These new tools enable developers to make the most of the latest advances in their platform of choice to create connected apps with next generation experiences running on Silverlight, Windows Vista, the 2007 Office system and the Web. We also recently announced that we’re providing our partners with greater options in the platforms they target, we’re giving developers the choice and flexibility.

Thinking more long term…..How can IT departments really take advantage of services if developers aren’t able to create applications for it? Microsoft’s overall Software + Services vision is about choice and flexibility to host and run applications locally and/or in the cloud. Core to this effort is the need for a comprehensive platform and tools that span the infrastructure and enable the scenarios to work seamlessly and ultimately drive the business forward. We believe that developers are critical to enabling S+S and we have tools today to begin the move to cloud computing. And, we are making a big bet on future versions of Visual Studio and the .NET Framework with our “Oslo” technologies based on model-driven design. Stick around for more on that later.

All that said, developers rank #1 on our list and we plan to continue to shower them with the tools and resources to continue to create cool applications and deliver critical business value.