Thursday, July 27, 2006

NDoc demise

According to a number of sources, NDoc is dead. The project owner claims that a large part of the problem is lack of community. I mentioned lack of a supportive community in a previous entry. The overall community is one of the reasons that I actually prefer working in Java vs C#, despite my preference for the C# language.

Microsoft needs to understand that Community is more than just lots of vendors creating commercial components, or MVPs answering questions on newsgroups. The .Net platform is an amazing platform. Microsoft needs to figure out how to make it _fun_ to write tools and libraries. Part of the problem is the lack of Linux/Unix support. Platform tie-in is dead! Give up on your Windows glory days. Windows won the desktop. Linux is not poised to steal it anytime soon.

Microsoft needs to stop weighing down it's products with 'tie-ins' that just hurt customer adoption. XBox is a great example. XBox did as well as it did because it leveraged existing Microsoft assets without crippling itself. The XBox OS is based on Windows NT, but they stripped it down to the bare minimum. Compare that with Windows CE/Windows Mobile? Have you ever done a true head-to-head daily-usage comparison of Windows Mobile vs Palm? I have. I'll take Palm every time, despite Windows Mobile's greater choice of applications and richer platform. Why? Because it's my phone. It should be just as easy to use as a phone as my girl-friend's Samsung phone. Windows Mobile just feels clunky, less intuitive, and less polished.

I forget who was posting those love reviews of Windows Vista with all the complaints about fonts and different UI control styles, button placements, etc... but his comments capture why Mac laptop sales are up, why the IPod is such a run-away hit, and also why I prefer to program in Java. Its all about the little details.

Microsoft needs to step away from it's long habit of tying everything back to Windows and Office, and making that a primary selling point, and instead make great products that integrate well with Windows and Office. The difference is subtle but key. I can't wait to see how they package Zune. Will it be chained at the ankles with Windows leashes, or will it be proof that some people in Redmond can see beyond that?

3 Comments:

Anonymous Dare said...

What does lack of community have to do with 'product tie-ins'? Also you do realize that Windows Mobile is outselling Palm right?

1:28 PM  
Blogger derek said...

When I talk about community, I mostly mean developer community. At Microsoft, the developer community is focused on building proprietary products. People who are interested in contributing to a community that shares more than just quick-fixes are looking for shared source. If you want to court shared-source developers you need to get in with the University and Linux crowds. Thus tie-in to Windows hurts the community.

Windows Mobile is outselling Palm, just like Windows outsells Mac OS X. How many Windows users who actually ever touch a Linux/Mac box talk about how much the like their machine. How many Mac users?

Microsoft makes products that you use and that get the job done, but most any Microsoft product I've ever used leaves me wanting as a user. Microsoft creates the market for Apple and Linux by always leaving the user to feel like there must be something better. Most people don't bother to expend the effort to find that something better, but those who do then go touting it's praises to all who hear.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Dare said...

>How many Windows users who actually ever touch a Linux/Mac box talk about how much the like their machine. How many Mac users?

I'm still not sure I understand your thesis. Mac OS X seems to have lots of fans with strong communities around it without being open source. In fact, Apple goes out of its way to not participate in its online communities as far as I can tell.

9:51 AM  

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