Thursday, August 31, 2006

Microsoft, where's the love?

Ahh... to reminisce for the days when Microsoft cared about developers. Remember Steve Ballmer's 'Developer' chant? I certainly do.

That is why I was so surprised when I went to renew my MSDN Subscription, and the online tool wanted me to pay almost $11,000!!!! (Due to a change in subscription model, the online renewal tool wanted to charge me full price, rather than the update price, what was only $3,500...) I know MSDN Universal is chock-a-block full of goodies, but that is ridiculous! Hm... so part of the change is to tie MSDN Subscription to a Visual Studio product skew, either Team System or Professional. Then you can pick an MSDN Subscription that includes everything, or OS releases but not Office software.

Now MSDN has always been expensive. It should be, since it includes all sorts of great perks, like licenses to install and try out almost every Microsoft product (for development purposes). Still, I find the current pricing to be outragous. This is just further proof that Microsoft is all about the enterprise. Microsoft has given up the small guy to Linux and Apple. What other explanation could there be? Yea, I know about the free Express skews of Visual Studio. Hello, have any of you used Eclipse or NetBeans recently? Or how about a fully decked-out emacs development environment.

Development tools is not where a company like Microsoft should be trying to make money. (I have one pet theory... I think the Developer Division inside MS has gotten so bloated that they need this money to keep the hideous monster from collapsing horendously.) Microsoft should be making great development tools that make people _want_ to develop on Windows. If you are developing on windows, you are more likely to focus on developing for Windows as your target platform as well. Microsoft should be releasing C# development tools that make the Mono crowd want to develope in VS, even while their target is not Microsoft's CLR.

I'll pick out my two biggest pet peeves, after having spent most of the last year using Eclipse and NetBeans:
  1. Unit tests - Why isn't NUnit just built right into the C# VS experience?
  2. Profiling - Why do I need to spend $2000 to get a profiler?
The problem is Microsoft is building everything for the enterprise developer. I don't blame them, that is where the fat licensing royalties come from. But hasn't anyone over there read Innovator's Dillema? Wake up! All you are doing is playing catch-up to your competitors. They keep nibbling at your user-base. Keep that up and eventually your user base will disappear.

I think it is already starting to happen. It has for me.


Blogger Joshua Allen said...

I frankly disagree about the cost of MSDN; always have. Developer tools are not, never will be, a profit center. And shouldn't be. We need to give it away. Starting a business should not be a cash flow negative event for software licensing. That's why S3 rocks. We should charge people for our software only if/when they start making real money with it. Otherwise, we just force people to start out on LAMP, where their upfront money/risk in sunk costs is lower.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Derek, I am doing research on some of the new data management software being offered this fall. Out of many MANY blogs, I find your to be the most informative and frankly, readable to non-techies. I would like to contact you directly with some specifc questions on your XML post.

My research I am doing is to understand the products well enough to write about them in a compare/contrast article. If you can help, I would be grateful and of course give full credit where appropriate.

Thank you for your time either way.

I made up a fake email just now - I will reply from my real, sensible email account. Sorry to be rather paranoid! But it is the Web after all, and it's beond stupid to post a real name/email for who-knows-what-all to read.


11:47 PM  

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