I’m not an MS investor but I do use Windows everyday and I also have a really nice Windows Mobile phone.
As a developer, I figured, let’s see what it takes to make Windows Mobile touchscreen app. I quickly figured out that the free versions of Visual Studio (called Express editions) do not support mobile application development. What kind of brain dead decision is that? Who wants to buy something just so that they can support Windows mobile (not the most popular mobile OS anyway). The only worse offender in this regards is Apple, which gives you the development tools free but a Mac is required.
Anyway, VS.net professional is free for me because I work at a University so I download and install that from dreamcast. And to my surprise, unlike Apple, Blackberry, Palm and Nokia, Microsoft has no touch friendly development tools. Also it is nearly impossible to make use of hardware features of phones without relying on third party unsupported tools. Using the camera is painful. Accelerometer, forget about it. What is Microsoft thinking?
The new HTC, Samsung and other Windows Mobile touchscreens are all great devices but it we can’t easily develop for them, how is WinMo ever going to catch up in apps with Apple, Blackberry or anyone else?
The manufacturers of phones are also partly to blame for this. They make applications for their own devices that are sweet but don’t provide APIs for others to use. Maybe they are dragging Microsoft with them. Maybe MS can force their hands into making some kind of standard? Maybe MS can include some APIs with VS? Will it happen? Not a chance.
Recently I noticed that if you want to use the ribbon interface (which stinks, especially with people moving to widescreens and the inability of the riboom to be vertical) in your own application, you need a license from Microsoft? What the hell? Also the license seems to be evil, really evil.
I think that Visual Studio is the best IDE ever and was very happy when I first heard that the Express editions wil be free. But with such crappy practices from Microsoft, it might slowly lose its charm thanks to restrictions on developers. What will Microsoft do next? Not let people use VS to make apps that are similar to Microsoft Apps? Who will use VS then?
My work involves (mostly) web development using mostly non-Microsoft technologies and IE is my worst nightmare. I just don’t understand how a company with the resources of Microsoft consistently makes the worst browser of the lot. Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome and the rest of the laundry list of browsers are all faster, more standards compliant and better to develop for than IE. For most good web developers, web applications are developed in two steps. First steps involve making a site that works in other browsers (if it works in one, it generally works in all the others). The second step involves adding hacks to make the site work in IE because that is the only browser that doesn’t behave well.
In the last few years, Microsoft has done many things (non development related) wrong too:
- Released Vista before it was ready
- Released Win7 (which is nice based on my first impression of an install in a virtual machine) faster giving the impression that skipping Vista is the wise thing to do
- Corrupted ISO with the whole OOXML standard scandal. Also released badly broken OOO support in Office.
Every year someone or the other claims that it is the year of the Linux desktop. If Microsoft continues down this path of self destruction, maybe one day it will be as the Linuxes all improve each year in significant ways that are not all related to eye-candy. The only software that Microsoft makes that don’t have worthy alternatives are the Office Suite and Exchange. And people make so many Windows apps because Windows is easy to develop for. I don’t understand why MS wants to throw a wrench in its own machinery. But hey, what do I know?
Something interesting for those of you who are still sticking to XP like me – Seven Remix XP
Anyway, the moral of the story – I’m not buying Microsoft stock anytime soon.