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Microsoft Out of Favor With Young, Hip Developers

kdawson posted about 4 years ago | from the so-last-week dept.

Microsoft 775

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft's failures with the KIN phone (only two months on the market, less than 10,000 phones sold) are well-known to this community. Now the NY Times goes farther, quoting Tim O'Reilly: 'Microsoft is totally off the radar of the cool, hip, cutting-edge software developers.' Microsoft has acknowledged that they have lost young developers to the lures of free software. 'We did not get access to kids as they were going through college,' acknowledged Bob Muglia, the president of Microsoft's business software group, in an interview last year. 'And then, when people, particularly younger people, wanted to build a start-up, and they were generally under-capitalized, the idea of buying Microsoft software was a really problematic idea for them.' Microsoft's program to seed start-ups with its software for free requires the fledgling companies to meet certain guidelines and jump through hoops to receive software — while its free competitors simply allow anyone to download products off a website with the click of a button." Update: 07/07 13:21 GMT by T : Tim O'Reilly says that while he "[doesn't] disagree with all of his conclusions," he's not happy with it Ashlee Vance's piece, writing "I was not the source for the various comments that were attributed to me," including the bit about "totally off the radar." (Thanks to reader gbll.)

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775 comments

The New York Times. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32818608)

A qualified judge of what young, hip people are interested in.

Re:The New York Times. (2, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | about 4 years ago | (#32818694)

Are you kidding? Just last week the NYT had an entire column dedicated to using the Google to keep kids off ones lawn.

Re:The New York Times. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32818766)

I guess their definition of "hip" isn't. Free software?

True homosexual hipsters use mac and iPhone.

Re:The New York Times. (5, Funny)

sirrunsalot (1575073) | about 4 years ago | (#32818856)

True homosexual hipsters use mac and iPhone.

Hey, but I... oh.

An appropriate quote seems to be... (5, Insightful)

grnbrg (140964) | about 4 years ago | (#32818652)

First they ignore you.
Then they ridicule you.
Then they fight you.
Then you win.

-- Ghandi.

Re:An appropriate quote seems to be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32818734)

"What do you think of Western civilization?"

"I think it would be a good idea"

A more appropriate quote seems to be... (5, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 4 years ago | (#32818738)

Developers, developers, developers, developers!

-Steve Ballmer

Re:A more appropriate quote seems to be... (4, Funny)

NNKK (218503) | about 4 years ago | (#32818880)

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's when they actually lost all the "young, hip developers".

Re:A more appropriate quote seems to be... (4, Funny)

PRMan (959735) | about 4 years ago | (#32818914)

"Microsoft needs new developers that are hip, not developers that need a new hip."

(An homage to my favorite joke on Home Improvement.)

Re:A more appropriate quote seems to be... (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 years ago | (#32818902)

Well, Ballmer did that act for a reason, which is exactly so this day would not come. Microsoft has always put a lot of resources into their developer tools, which are very polished and relatively cheap in most cases. (Relatively cheap compared to Microsoft's competition in the early 1990's when they were maturing as a company, that is.) So their falling out of favor is significant precisely because they did try. They developed the tools, but try as they might they couldn't stay "cool" and dominate the world of corporate computing at the same time. (It's hard. Just ask IBM).

Re:A more appropriate quote seems to be... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32819106)

Screw you guys, I'm go'n home!

-cartman

Re:An appropriate quote seems to be... (1)

Lambeco (1705140) | about 4 years ago | (#32818838)

Pretty sure we're past the winning stage. Did Gandhi leave any notes about what happens then, or does the process just reverse itself?

...then they fight you again.
Then they ridicule you again.
Then they ignore you again.

Re:An appropriate quote seems to be... (2, Interesting)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 4 years ago | (#32818972)

Is MS losing money ? retrenching ? no longer the biggest software company in the world ?

I wish I could lose the way you say they've lost !

Re:An appropriate quote seems to be... (1, Redundant)

Fractal Dice (696349) | about 4 years ago | (#32818888)

Or seen from the other side ...

First they fight you
Then they ridicule you
Then they ignore you
Then you lose.

Re:An appropriate quote seems to be... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32818952)

First they ignore you.
Then they ridicule you.
Then they fight you.
Then you win.

-- Ghandi.

Gandhi, not Ghandi

Re:An appropriate quote seems to be... (1)

PBoyUK (1591865) | about 4 years ago | (#32818962)

"Ours is one continued struggle against degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the European, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness."

-- Ghandi.

Re:An appropriate quote seems to be... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32819002)

How did Gandhi (not Ghandi) win?

Here we are, over 60 years after his death. Sure, India is a "democracy", but most of its billion inhabitants still live in third-world squalor. Some are even forced to shit into the very same water that they drink from. Many live in festering huts made of mud and pop bottles, with rotting animal carcases and infection all over the place.

Even the well-educated in India have become the laughing stock of the technical world, thanks to outsourcing and shitty education. Their call centers are a fucking joke here in the West, their shitty software has caused us nothing but problems, and we laugh at all of the bullshit certifications they have from Microsoft, Sun, Oracle and Cisco.

Gandhi did not win. India did not win.

Re:An appropriate quote seems to be... (5, Insightful)

mike260 (224212) | about 4 years ago | (#32819014)

First they ignore you.
Then they ridicule you.
Then they fight you.
Then they kill you.
Then you're dead.
Should've taken the hint.

Re:An appropriate quote seems to be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32819028)

Who is "Ghandi" and why are you somewhat quoting them?

Unless, of course, you meant Gandhi. Then I can see why.

Re:An appropriate quote seems to be... (1)

CoopersPale (444672) | about 4 years ago | (#32819052)

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

--Voltaire

From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of the universe, comes a legend; Defender of the Universe, a mighty robot, loved by good, feared by evil.

--Voltron

Re:An appropriate quote seems to be... (0, Offtopic)

c6gunner (950153) | about 4 years ago | (#32819182)

" We believe as much in the purity of race as we think they do, only we believe that they would best serve these interests, which are as dear to us as to them, by advocating the purity of all races, and not one alone. We believe also that the white race of South Africa should be the predominating race."

    -- Ghandhi

Misses the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32818654)

Developers don't avoid Microsoft products because of cost. Open source has nothing to do with the frantic embrace of alternatives. Come on. Raise your hand if you've been burned by MSDN and are still stuck on VC6.

Re:Misses the point (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 4 years ago | (#32818724)

Frankly I think smart phones, tablet computing and the like are going to substantially shake up the landscape. It certainly is making me consider mine, at least as far as web development and the like. The tools that better allow me to write portable apps that are not chained to an operating system, screen type and the like are going to become much more attractive. This will extend, inevitably, towards native apps. Microsoft may have controlled the desktop, but in the newer platforms coming out, it is woefully behind the times.

Re:Misses the point (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 4 years ago | (#32819036)

I'm wondering if all those devices are replacing desktops, or complementing them. I personally have 2 desktops as pretty much always; a smartphone has recently replaced my trusty PalmTX, and I'm thinking of getting a tablet and/or laptop... but the 2 PCs are staying. They may soon be running Linux instead of Windows though, and are already running OOo instead of MS Office... not that I ever had to buy it, with work licenses.

I'm still very leery of The Cloud though, I much prefer to have local apps, data, and backups.

Re:Misses the point (1)

ascari (1400977) | about 4 years ago | (#32819230)

tools that better allow me to write portable apps that are not chained to an operating system, screen type and the like are going to become much more attractive.

Sounds very good to me but is that really what's happening? iPhone has its SDK, Android has its own SDK etc. etc. Sadly the newer platforms appear to be as much "walled gardens" as the old ones.

Re:Misses the point (4, Informative)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 4 years ago | (#32819294)

Android SDK is built on GNU, Eclipse and other open source software and is fully open source.

It's also the fastest growing mobile platform and what all the hip groovy cats are into.

Not exactly a walled garden.

Allow me to (hopefully) to be the first to say.... (5, Insightful)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | about 4 years ago | (#32818660)

Boo-fucking-hoo.

Too narrow (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#32818684)

The microsoft software stack is designed so that service providers can siphon money off at the point of delivery. Antivirus is a good example. Yeah we sold you an OS but you need this extra thing to make it secure, didn't you know that?

So its a great way to make money if you stay with their targeted solutions. But if you want to do something totally new the benefits of using microsoft aren't really there so developers look elsewhere.

Re:Too narrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32818750)

Microsoft offers free Antivirus-Software itself.
They just aren't allowed to bundle it with Windows because that would be "abusing a monopoly", even though it would largely increase security (you wouldn't believe how many ignorant people don't install any kind of Antivirus).

Re:Too narrow (1)

Dr Herbert West (1357769) | about 4 years ago | (#32818944)

I don't install any antivirus. Never have. I'm using XP service pack2 as well.

I just reformat every two months, practice safe clicking, and have a separate, isolated machine dedicated to porn and Adobe products.

Re:Too narrow (3, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 4 years ago | (#32819116)

I don't get you point ?

how is that worse than Apple's model that actually siphons off 30% of all content and apps you install on your iDevice, and censors what apps and content are allowed, and takes a cut of wireless contracts ?

the issue for MS is that they DON'T make money on content, software and services sold for their machines... but that's also the cause for their success ?

Free (4, Informative)

jamesyouwish (1738816) | about 4 years ago | (#32818690)

You mean a startup would rather spend it's money on its core business then on bloated software. Especial when a free version does all they need.

Disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32818692)

No need to develope for an OS as the Internet is a better delivery system. iPhone is part of the Internet ecosysem

Lure of free software? (5, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 years ago | (#32818706)

But all my Microsoft software was fr.... uh, nevermind

Re:Lure of free software? (4, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | about 4 years ago | (#32819012)

You're joking, but it's true: "pirated" software competes with free software, which is why companies like Microsoft would rather you pirate their software than use someone else's software.

Bullshit (3, Interesting)

winkydink (650484) | about 4 years ago | (#32818748)

Microsoft's Bizspark program for startups requires you to fill out a form to get free software. OK, Almost free. At the end of two years, you have to pay them $200. I wouldn't call that "jumping through hoops". I didn't need any double-super secret intros from investors either. I got the info from the Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs - an organization open to anybody.

Re:Bullshit (2, Insightful)

mswhippingboy (754599) | about 4 years ago | (#32819032)

OK, Almost free. At the end of two years, you have to pay them $200.

Some people (especially startups with no money) would not consider $200 "almost free". In fact, there's no such thing as almost free, it's like being pregnant. It either is or it isn't, and free will always be cooler than not free.

MS got greedy and forgot the reason for their success was developers. They could have given away their developer tools all along. They were making enough money on Windows & Office, but they weren't satisfied with that and kept reaming developers for their tools, which had to be upgraded every couple of years to the tune of a few hundred dollars. They could get away with this way back when before quality open-source was available, but no more. Open source development tools have arguably (and being /., an argument will likely follow) caught up to the quality and level of functionality of their tools, or at least close enough that the delta is not worth the price.

Re:Bullshit (1)

e2d2 (115622) | about 4 years ago | (#32819118)

Thanks for the info, I've been looking for just this. A similar program, the empower program, was it's predecessor. I had a start up that fell under that license and it really helped a lot, getting us legit licenses for our otherwise bootleg copies.

I'm gonna write software regardless. I can use Microsoft's tools but if they drive me out with costs I'll look elsewhere. The platform is big, but it's not gonna remain the biggest forever. Right now I do both, I work on MS projects for work and side projects on a nix-based python platform.

Re:Bullshit (2, Insightful)

mugnyte (203225) | about 4 years ago | (#32819226)

C'mon dude. Bizspark is mostly a networking concept. Not a cool-application platform.

  This article isn't about VC-level startups, it's about students building the NextSmallThing in their dorm room. For the price of a bank of old servers, someone can build a web app and get a cool company started. MS is never going to deliver the performance/cost ratios of an old fashioned LAMP stack. It's not a business model that competes that way. Plus, that stack is just a gateway anymore - the real fun is in social mesh.

  MS is also not going to work on the hardware that kids already own (smartphones/pad forms). They are building mashups. MS doesn't even play in most of these markets. For example:

Mobile 7 + Bing + MSDN/.NET = solitary nerd writing a blog on Codeplex that 50 clones know about. Probably hired to code for an existing business's IT dept.

iPhone + Geotagging Google Earth + Fart noise = fun and popular iPhone app that 20,000 people play at the BBQ this weekend. Makes 2 guys 10 grand over a month, then they move on. They build smartphone apps for any number of startups focused on gaming/productivity/social media.

The smart device is the new web. Guess who's late to the game because they built their own stadium and charged at the door?

Even Worse With Windows Mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32818764)

It's even worse with Windows Mobile / Phone / CE / Whatever-they-call-it-today. First they gave away the tools to write apps for Windows CE and Windows Mobile for free with a CE-tailored version of Visual C++ 6 that was free to download and use (although you still had to pay if you wanted to do anything serious with Platform Builder.) Then they introduced C# to Windows Mobile with Visual Studio 2003, but you could still get a free copy if you applied. And now they charge the big bucks with Visual Studio 2007 and 2010, and have dropped support for the older C/C++ runtimes. And they wonder why nobody develops apps for Windows Mobile any longer? Dead platform + expensive tools == no developer interest.

I didn't realize it was ever "in"... (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about 4 years ago | (#32818782)

...even for us old farts.

Not "in" as in cool, but was in demand (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 4 years ago | (#32819208)

In the very early 90s we were using Unix in my computer science program and many undergraduate and graduate students complained at a student/faculty meeting that there were no classes in programming MS Windows. It was not that many considered Windows "cool" but that many felt some Windows experience was necessary to be viable in the job market. So yes, students were once highly interested in Windows.

..rrrriiipp (4, Interesting)

elbiatcho1 (1554817) | about 4 years ago | (#32818784)

More, exotic fart apps is what we now expect from this new generation of HIP programmers.

All the cool kids just want one thing (1, Funny)

countSudoku() (1047544) | about 4 years ago | (#32818788)

A ZUNE! I've never seen one in the wild before. They MUST be awesome! Only 10K Kins in existence? Sounds like a very hard to find product headed straight to eBay. NOW I'm interested! Get out your Zunes and Kins, me Saddos! I'm going to fire up my Windows 95 server and meet up with MS Bob later. Balmer RULES!

Actually, MS does make a very nice product with that Windows XP. I've got one now and it seems pretty usable. Not going to replace my Mac with this thing, but for a work handout, it's decent.

Re:All the cool kids just want one thing (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 4 years ago | (#32818846)

The Zune wasn't/isn't a bad player. The problem is that to unseat the iPod, it had to be a fantastic player. And Apple kept moving the hardware/spec goal while MS kept aiming for last year's goal. By the time MS caught to the iPod Touch spec wise, Apple had built a 200,000 app store that extended the functionality of their players while MS has nothing in the near future.

Re:All the cool kids just want one thing (3, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#32819016)

> The problem is that to unseat the iPod, it had to be a fantastic player.

No. To unseat the iPod it had to be perceived as a fantastically cool player. How well it actually worked was largely irrelevant.

Re:All the cool kids just want one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32819166)

Right Cause it's not like the iPod's UI was revolutionary or it was easy for a regular non-techie to get their music on and use it.

Re:All the cool kids just want one thing (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 4 years ago | (#32819170)

There are many, many players out there right now. You have to distinguish yourself whether your are Sansa, Sharp, Zune, iPod, whatever. The Sansa models are basic music/video players that are really cheap. The iPod Touches are more expensive but have a whole library of apps. With Apple you also have access to a large music video store. The Zune is not cheap. But it has access to a large music/video store. But limited App store.

Sansa has stayed the cheap basic player for people who don't want/can't afford an Apple. Zune was only slightly cheaper than Apple and not as extendable. So Zunes were in an uncomfortable middle area between cheap and fully featured.

Re:All the cool kids just want one thing (1)

Korin43 (881732) | about 4 years ago | (#32819058)

The Zune is actually pretty nice. The problem is that you have to use the terrible Zune software. I find it annoying that I can't use it on Linux; my friends find it annoying that they can't use it with Windows Media Player.

Never confuse (5, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 4 years ago | (#32818792)

Microsoft's program to seed start-ups with its software for free requires the fledgling companies to meet certain guidelines and jump through hoops to receive software — while its free competitors simply allow anyone to download products off a website with the click of a button.

This assumes that cost is the only factor that start-ups are weighing when determining software. Some of them may legitimately pick open source because it's better or that MS doesn't offer a certain software. For many, they may go to cheaper solutions like OpenOffice instead of MS Office purely on cost. But they may use Apache instead of IIS for performance reasons.

If cost is the only reason, wouldn't it be likely that once these start-ups are established, they may not like having to pay full price and may turn to competitors for cheaper alternatives?

Re:Never confuse (4, Insightful)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 4 years ago | (#32818872)

These guys will have looked at what they could potentially invent before they started a business, way before Microsoft would consider accommodating their inquiries. There's good documentation readily available in reasonably digestible formats for OSS. If I'm all about making something new work, I want to know how the system I base it upon works and the easiest way to know that is to base it on an open platform.

Re:Never confuse (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 4 years ago | (#32819200)

the idea is that once startups get locked into a bundle of word docs, or, even worse, Sharepoint, it would be such a pain to switch that they'll stay hooked... and start paying the big bucks.

a bit like a pusher giving you your first week supply for free...

Re:Never confuse (1)

ascari (1400977) | about 4 years ago | (#32819266)

cost != value

Right and wrong (4, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#32818804)

Well this certainly isn't anywhere Microsoft is going to visit, and as a young, hip developer myself, I'd sure like to point out a good reason as to why they aren't doing so hot with my demographic.

The issue isn't that you aren't "accessing" post secondary students. I learned all about VB, .NET, and I used Visual Studio, and I made some pretty amazing Win32 apps. All in all, my experience with the product was good. VB, once you understand programming theory, is as easy to write as Java or C++, its mostly just a syntax thing. All in all I found Visual Studio easier to layout and work with GUI's than Eclipse was with Java. So, you don't need to worry about that, Microsoft.

But you did hit ONE big nail right on the head.

And then, when people, particularly younger people, wanted to build a start-up, and they were generally under-capitalized, the idea of buying Microsoft software was a really problematic idea for them.

Yes, yes it was a big problem for me. Currently the latest version, with the PRO edition (not even the ultimate edition) is $729 dollars - which is more than most kids with student loan debts can afford. And then you made the "Express" tools which are completely and utterly crippled in that I can't do half the stuff that made visual studio so appealing to use.

As such, when my school taught me how to use the no-cost solutions, you can imagine how much more we prefer to work with them as a hobby, because as young, hip, students we don't have any money to just fling around.

Not to mention that .NET seems to be losing some speed - I don't know if I want to keep writing for it.

Re:Right and wrong (5, Insightful)

Mirage of Deceit (1844850) | about 4 years ago | (#32819060)

As such, when my school taught me how to use the no-cost solutions, you can imagine how much more we prefer to work with them as a hobby, because as young, hip, students we don't have any money to just fling around.

Not to mention that .NET seems to be losing some speed - I don't know if I want to keep writing for it.

As a recent CS grad, I agree 100% that the cost to get up and running for MS is a pretty huge deal.

But another big draw in the FOSS world (for me, at least) is the freedom to write code that isn't locked down to particular technology or other setup. I see Microsoft (and Apple, and a few others) as wanting to get us locked into their way of doing things, completely ignoring the possibility of 'change' that doesn't come from them.

I would much rather give life to some core idea and then see how people with other interests and thoughts can expand and evolve what I started.

FOSS isn't just price (4, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | about 4 years ago | (#32818808)

What Microsoft still doesn't seem to understand is that the lure of FOSS goes beyond what's "hip", and also goes beyond the price.

And I love these quotes: "We did not get access to kids as they were going through college" Translation: "We did not infiltrate schools enough to make sure they had no exposure to anything but our stuff".

And: "Microsoft's program to seed start-ups with its software for free requires the fledgling companies to meet certain guidelines and jump through hoops to receive [free/discounted] software" Translation: "We should have worked harder to make it even easier to get people/companies hooked on our proprietary solutions".

Oh well.

Re:FOSS isn't just price (1)

cmburns69 (169686) | about 4 years ago | (#32818968)

His quote about start-ups being under capitalized is spot on. Personally I prefer a windows desktop. And I prefer visual studio for C/C++ development (it's excellent). Unfortunately, all the MS solutions cost money and it adds up. I've been part of pre-venture-capital start-ups, and there's no any extra money. It just doesn't make sense to purchase a domain controller, or outlook server, or any of their other products when there are viable free alternatives.

Re:FOSS isn't just price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32819140)

Microsoft's problem is that they view Open Source as Open Sores.

Bob Muglia == creepy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32818824)

We did not get access to kids as they were going through college

Anybody else find that just a LITTLE creepy? "Getting access" sounds like something a Catholic priest and/or a cult leader would say. Perhaps employing clueless marketroids like Bob might have something to do with the problem as well.

Re:Bob Muglia == creepy (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#32818870)

We did not get access to kids as they were going through college

Anybody else find that just a LITTLE creepy? "Getting access" sounds like something a Catholic priest and/or a cult leader would say. Perhaps employing clueless marketroids like Bob might have something to do with the problem as well.

Not really. Its the reason why my high school had apple ][s and my college had a facom. Manufacturers spend their marketing budget on subsidized sales to schools, so that students want to work on their platform.

I still wound up working on DEC though.

Re:Bob Muglia == creepy (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#32818942)

The problem is that it doesn't really work anymore. Computers aren't just used for business anymore, -everyone- has a computer and knows how to use it. Back in the day, there were large differences between platforms, there were few cross-platform apps and computers weren't as user-friendly as they are today. Set someone who has never used Linux but has used Windows in front of a desktop made to look like Windows and they will have no problems navigating it because the majority of the apps used on Windows also have Linux ports with the exception of some Adobe/MS programs.

The learning curve is nearly non-existent now with GUIs.

Re:Bob Muglia == creepy (2, Insightful)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | about 4 years ago | (#32819156)

Creepy? No

I was going post a comment with that quote as the context.

I'm wondering what exactly they mean though. My children went through high school and went through or are going through college using Microsoft products -- but it's Word mainly and some Excel.

I wonder how they could have failed to 'access [the] "kids,"' except perhaps by deliberately ignoring them.

I develop for Unix/Linux and most of the recent college grads I encounter certainly don't know Unix/Linux! So what do they use in college then? One can only wonder.

Speed (3, Insightful)

tthomas48 (180798) | about 4 years ago | (#32818836)

Microsoft quite simply is too slow. They build nice tools, but they do so slowly. Far too slowly for the pace of the Internet. If they were an innovative company that might not be a problem, but Microsoft is now chasing at about a 2-4 year disadvantage.

It has nothing to do with "cool". I don't use COBOL not because it isn't "cool". I don't use COBOL because it doesn't have useful hooks into the libraries I need to use on a day to day basis. Same with Microsoft tech.

Re:Speed (2, Insightful)

PBoyUK (1591865) | about 4 years ago | (#32819076)

Isn't it also because COBOL was categorized as a dangerous substance, with a threat to health of the programmers that use at least as great as builders with asbestos?

Young HIP developers? (1)

nebaz (453974) | about 4 years ago | (#32818842)

Really? Isn't "hip developer" an oxymoron? Or do they literally mean "one who develops for hips", in which case the language of choice is clearly "Limp".

Re:Young HIP developers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32818926)

Pubescent girls?

Grammar (1)

davebarnes (158106) | about 4 years ago | (#32818850)

Not less than 10K, but fewer than 10K.

Bzzz. Wrong. (2, Informative)

copponex (13876) | about 4 years ago | (#32818994)

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/page/grammartiplessorfewer [oxforddictionaries.com]

Less is also used with numbers when they are on their own and with expressions of measurement or time, e.g.:

His weight fell from 18 stone to less than 12.
Their marriage lasted less than two years.
Heath Square is less than four miles away from Dublin city centre

And since you're in marketing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDW_Hj2K0wo [youtube.com]

At Microsoft, furniture must have 'flown' (1, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | about 4 years ago | (#32818876)

This must be one of the most embarrassing developments under Steve Ballmer's watch. To that end I say furniture must have flown at the realization that KIN was not doing well at all after spending several hundred million dollars.

On my part, I feel sorry for Microsoft and if I were to advise, I would recommend that Microsoft returns to its MS Exchange business suite which worked so well for them earlier this decade.

The trouble on this front is that at the moment, Zimbra and Google both want a piece of the pie, though I believe Microsoft is better armed to win the battle.

Re:At Microsoft, furniture must have 'flown' (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 4 years ago | (#32819026)

One of the problems with the KIN was that it was late. 18 months late. That's an eternity in the cell phone business. Almost 2 generations late. And MS is not know for their speed. The reason for their lateness (or I've heard) is typical MS. They wanted to eat their own dogfood and release the KIN based on their own variant of CE rather than Danger's OS. So they had to delay 18 months while the rest of the industry forged ahead.

Its not because its free. (5, Insightful)

Xiver (13712) | about 4 years ago | (#32818886)

I don't think their major problem is that opensource is free. I think their major problem is that their development environment is oppressive and they change it every couple of years. Who wants to spend their time learning a new bug ridden API every two years that doesn't do anything different than the last version?

Re:Its not because its free. (5, Insightful)

hoggoth (414195) | about 4 years ago | (#32818976)

This is the big item for me.

I can still write C code in emacs and compile with the same makefile under gcc if I wanted to. I can still call the same POSIX libraries. I don't have to throw away everything I know and start all over every few years. I have learned new languages, like Python and Java and new APIs because they were pertinent to what I was trying to accomplish.

Microsoft seems to make a big marketing splash on a development toolset or language or API every few years only to throw it away with the "next big thing". For someone who's been programming long enough this gets to be a tiring waste of time.

Re:Its not because its free. (5, Insightful)

pavera (320634) | about 4 years ago | (#32819112)

Maybe... but the last 3 startups I've worked for it was 100% the free thing. When you're building web services that are going to scale to thousands of users and millions of transactions, you need hardware... and when each CPU you plop out there costs you $800+ in software licenses, it gets very expensive very fast, and linux is a no brainer.

Re:Its not because its free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32819224)

How true. Have you seen the licensing for win 7 SDK and VS 2010? Holy fuck. And they want to sell us Team Foundation server and some other bullshit.

All in all it's around 6 figures, not including our set up and switching time. For what? because of built in fucking obsolescence.
And don't get me started on the ribbon UI. UI licensing... WTF?

Re:Its not because its free. (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 4 years ago | (#32819258)

Android devs would love for their API to change only once every two years... is Android not hip ?

Alternative headline (1)

base_chakra (230686) | about 4 years ago | (#32818892)

"Microsoft Accepted by Old/Curmudgeonly"

Re:Alternative headline (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#32819068)

> "Microsoft Accepted by Old/Curmudgeonly"

Speak for yourself.

That's true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32818898)

Like 15 years ago I had to buy a compiler. Back then that was Borland C++ 4.0. Then later I was worried about all software-licenses fees and I switched to GNU/Linux.

Besides to my familiy that was one of the best things that happened to me ever. Thanks microsoft for pushing me in the right direction by not giving me any of your crap for free!

Fine with me... (4, Insightful)

TheGrapeApe (833505) | about 4 years ago | (#32818910)

I am a young(er? 29) developer and I do most of my development on the .NET stack. No, it's not as "cool" as being an iPhone dev, but at least Ballmer doesn't tell me I can't compile my code without forking him $100/yr...and he doesn't take 30% percent of whatever I might make selling my code.

I work in a mixed shop where most of the other devs are Ruby/Rails guys...they all see me as a "sellout" for using .NET (and maybe I am?)...but when it comes to choosing what platform to learn and code in, I'm pretty happy with Microsoft in general. It's a lot easier for me to find a job doing .NET than it is for them in Ruby/Rails...and in 5 years they'll have to throw out everything they learned about Ruby/Rails because the fanboyism that drives their community will have moved on to the next "big shiny thing" (Scala?)...I'll still be writing code in C#...Does that make me a sellout? Maybe, but I'll take more money for less work and less drama any day of the week.

Re:Fine with me... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32819046)

Really? "but at least Ballmer doesn't tell me I can't compile my code without forking him $100/yr."

http://store.microsoft.com/microsoft/Visual-Studio-2010-Professional-Upgrade/product/AA16E99E?wt.mc_id=vssitebuy

No, he tells you you can't compile your code without forking him [sic] $550 in the first year and requiring an additional $500 for upgrades every 2 or 3 years. That's way cheaper!

"and he doesn't take 30% percent of whatever I might make selling my code."

But he also don't provide a free server to host your code and free testing before it is provided to users and no credit card fees.

Apple isn't perfect, but don't tell us Microsoft is much if any better.

Re:Fine with me... (2, Insightful)

melted (227442) | about 4 years ago | (#32819212)

Um, dude. You don't have to fork over anything to compile or run in an emulator. You do have to pay $100/year to run your software on the device and to ship it through the app store. And you can bet Microsoft will be charging for that, too. They have to make money somehow.

Well frankly (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#32819228)

Any "developer" who is a fanboy and will code only in their favoured language isn't worthy of the title of developer. They are a hack, or a code monkey, not a developer. A real developer will learn to understand how a computer works, at a fundamental level, and look at programming languages as different ways to solve a problem. They'll understand that there is not a best language because there is not one kind of problem. Some are better for certain things.

Also a good developer will probably learn how to develop for multiple platforms. After all while Linux is used a whole lot in the web world, MS rules on the desktop so it would be to one's advantage to be able to code on both platforms. Further more, it would be to their advantage to do so in the tools that generate the best programs. For Windows, that is Visual Studio, for Linux it is (obviously) not.

So no, you aren't a sellout. I would say that if you focus only on .NET development you are being a bit too narrow, but learning it is a good thing. There is a lot of work for .NET devs. Companies want shiny GUIs for Windows things and .NET is a good way to deliver. The other "developers" will find that whining to the company and claiming they shouldn't do that won't work. Most companies are accustomed to telling you what you are going to do, not the other way around.

I have a friend who's a contract developer and he uses languages of all sorts. If you want something done in Windows, he defaults to .NET (using C# usually) since that works well on that platform. In Linux, it is PERL quite often since nearly every Linux distro ships with it. However if you wanted something speed critical, it'd probably be C++. He sees languages as tools to solve problems, and tries to choose the right one for the job. That doesn't mean he uses any and every language, of course, he's got ones he prefers, just that he has a bag with more than one tool in it and he tries to select the correct one.

Personally I have little to no respect from code hacks that want to trumpet The One True Language as the one they use. That think is solves EVERY problem, that won't learn anything else. What it tells me is that they don't really understand programming. They've learned the syntax and grammar of a language without understanding the underpinnings. That is not a good situation and leads to bad code, shitty apps, and the kind of person who will say "That can't be done," to anything they don't understand how to do.

Re:Fine with me... (2, Funny)

caywen (942955) | about 4 years ago | (#32819264)

You should check out MonoTouch and Unity. Apparently, you're already close to being an iPhone dev.

I totally hear you and feel your pain. I'm a .NET dev, and I am a near pariah for even suggesting that it's a decent solution. I nearly got my head taken off for suggesting to other Linux-based devs that perhaps we can do some tools in Mono.

And I get to sit around and watch them spend countless hours trying to write a stable sockets server, or write string.Split, or figuring out how to encode in UTF-8.

I'm with you. I'm C# all the way, Mono or .NET stack. It's just a very decent language that is highly versatile.

Re:Fine with me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32819292)

Ruby/Rails is popular because it works well, but since you're a microsoft zombie I can understand how you think fanboyism is what makes things popular.

Your comment is a really good example of how Microsoft and it's followers have no clue what-so-ever what it is that makes products like the iPhone and Ruby Rails popular.

Problem: Most dev not binary PC applications. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 4 years ago | (#32818918)

I would venture a guess that the biggest problem Microsoft is probably facing is that most development for a given start up is probably going to be some snazzy web service, and probably on some LAMP variant, with say, lighttpd in place of apache for cool Comet stuff.

When you're doing TCO calculations for a startup, Linux/Apache makes sense for your back end, which is probably going to be one of your biggest purchasing decisions.

Ballmer! Ballmer! Ballmer! (5, Insightful)

ChipMonk (711367) | about 4 years ago | (#32818948)

Really, has Microsoft had a trend-setting new product (not an update or sequel) since Steve Ballmer took the helm? Everything new product line they've come up with since 2000, from Xbox to the Kin, has been an attempt catch-up with someone, rather than blaze new trails.

Re:Ballmer! Ballmer! Ballmer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32819100)

Weren't they the first to bribe ISO to standardize a festering pile of dung?

Collegerial influence (1)

pwnies (1034518) | about 4 years ago | (#32818954)

"We did not get access to kids as they were going through college,"

He makes a good point here - one of the sole reasons why I'm a linux guy today is because the college that I went to (Loyola Marymount University) had a strong FOSS ideology in their computer science department. Had I been exposed to any line of Microsoft products during that time, I'd venture to say that I'd be a MS guy today. College students, despite their outcry to be individuals and unique, are very easy to be moulded into the product of your choice.

Re:Collegerial influence (1)

Mirage of Deceit (1844850) | about 4 years ago | (#32819232)

He makes a good point here - one of the sole reasons why I'm a linux guy today is because the college that I went to (Loyola Marymount University) had a strong FOSS ideology in their computer science department. Had I been exposed to any line of Microsoft products during that time, I'd venture to say that I'd be a MS guy today.

My school's CS department was very similar for our first year. We started learning programming theory and whatnot through vanilla C on boxes running some flavor of Red Hat Linux. Eventually we were forced to write a few programs for Windows, and after that we were mostly allowed to program for / in whichever environment we choose. Most of the class went back to Linux, and a few stayed in the Windows world.

But several of the more advanced classes pushed us all back into the open source world. Lets face it, open source is very handy in the world of Academia. It's much easier to understand the inner mechanics of a computer's OS when you can actually poke around inside of the kernel and experience what happens when you tweak settings and 'enhance' the code in there.

Microsoft tries pretty hard to keep us out from under the hood of their software, so it's only natural that big learning institutions would turn to more open software for education purposes.

Yeah...wrong (2, Insightful)

Amasuriel (1176527) | about 4 years ago | (#32818964)

It has zero to do with not being "hip" or young or in college.

I think the main issue that is loosing them emerging developers in the web. Almost all startups are web based these days and Windows hosting always costs more than Linux, usually a lot more because Windows Server SKUs are minimum $800 USD. Bad enough when your starting up, worse if you are successful and need 30 servers.

There is also a gigantic ecosystem of freelance / small company folk who do contract web work that can't use .NET...but it's hard enough to sell people on Python or Ruby instead of PHP and they run on almost the same stack...you try convincing a client their hosting should cost $100 USD / month instead of $50 when the whole project is 5-10k because you want to use ASP.NET instead of PHP.

Re:Yeah...wrong (1)

Amasuriel (1176527) | about 4 years ago | (#32819000)

Why can't I edit my own post :(

Before people misinterpret "hosting" to mean GoDaddy or something and point out that real startups / projects are not hosted, I meant hosted as in machine is in a datacenter not your house / college campus / office. Amazon EC2 and VPS providers charge more for Windows too, as do most datacenters...and by the time you have your own racks at a datacenter or your own datacenter the $800 Server cost per box is even more excessive.

No access? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32819018)

"'We did not get access to kids as they were going through college,'"

What? With all the free MS software giveaways, special campus prices and events for students, and near-bribery of CS departments with loads of no-cost or low-cost MS software licenses if they or the whole university go exclusively with MS products, and you're telling me Microsoft didn't have access? No way.

What happened was much worse than they imply. They DID have extensive access, but many students still didn't want to drink the kool-aid. Or students tasted it and they were repulsed.

hardly a surprise (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 4 years ago | (#32819098)

Microsoft's business is almost entirely targetted at corporate software users. They never gave a rats ass about individual users. They jump into bed with the RIAA and MPAA, they continue to build lock-in and avoid using existing open standards, and their products suck ass for usability because they treat users like retards.
No wonder consumers don't trust them and avoid their products.

Erm do any of you work in the software business? (2, Informative)

js3 (319268) | about 4 years ago | (#32819138)

The amount of .net developer jobs out there is insane. Almost EVERYTHING is now .net, iphone development is kinda "hip" but it's not exactly a money maker at this point for anyone. I"m still stuck on old c/c++ development but that brings in the biggest and longest software contracts compared to the 3 week "do this iphone app for me" jobs.

I don't think Microsoft get it at all... (1)

zkiwi34 (974563) | about 4 years ago | (#32819142)

They are missing the point that:

a) PC's are now a mature technology, and there's little new/innovative going on with them. At best a slow evolution and a marketplace for developers that is saturated.
b) Growth areas in software development are happening where Microsoft is not a presence worth a second look. People go where the jobs are, and Microsoft isn't where that is.
c) Their recent attempts at reinventing themselves have been major crash and burns. No one likes jumping on the back of a crashing and burning vehicle.

Anyhow, one day they will wake up and realize they've painted themselves into a corner and have no clue how to get out. Who knew they were going to be a chunky niche player.

Not buying it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32819162)

Wait, there's such a thing as a hip developer?

"Older and experienced" (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 4 years ago | (#32819164)

I'll take an older and more experienced developer over "young and hip" any day of the week.

File this story under "A fail that counts as a win"

Should have made it good (2, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 4 years ago | (#32819216)

In the early days it looked like .net might evolve to take on Java in that it was solving all those little coding nuggets that you have to otherwise grind out such as getting files from web servers. But then it turned into marketing for all their other products and the surface area of the whole .net thing grew out of control. But horribly enough I was still having to turn to ActiveX era programming to accomplish anything really cool.

Then I discovered QT and a whole new world was opened to me. After a year I realized that the only Microsoft product I was still using was Windows and that was seriously getting in my way. That was years ago and MS has not offered me a single geeky reason to go back.

PHP is better than any .net crap.
Apache is better than IIS
Linux is better than MS Server
MySQL is better than SQL Server
C++ QT is better than .Net
Eclipse is better than Visual Studio for multiple languages
Git is better than VSS
Mac OS X is better than Windows for programming
Anything is better than IE

So I have been able to nearly completely leave MS behind yet am able to release my desktop software with little effort for both Mac and Windows because of QT. I don't see an easy way for MS to get me back.

But there is a hard way. They could toss the present windows foundation and make Windows 9 based upon BSD. Make Visual Studio compile to a zillion platforms like Mac and Linux all the while opening it up to other languages like PHP. All the while beating away their marketing department who would want to do forced tie-ins to existing products. Then from this new foundation they could let their developers loose to make everything way better. Then, depending on pricing, they might get me back; maybe.

Poor Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32819260)

'We did not get access to kids as they were going through college,' acknowledged Bob Muglia

Windows has maintained over 90% market share on desktops for over a decade. If a kid had a computer in the house growing up, the overwhelming odds are that it ran Windows. So have you not had access to college kids, or did you squander the opportunity you've had for years and now you're passing the buck?

Lord Bill's Nightmare and Irony (2, Informative)

coaxial (28297) | about 4 years ago | (#32819262)

The obvious fact is, that Lord Bill's nightmare came true. He was afraid that web browser would make the operating system irrelevant, and that's exactly what happened. Think about it. When was the last time someone said, "Hey check this out! Go download this application..." Almost never. All the really exciting is happening on the web. That's because the web has matured to the point that developers are leveraging Internet scale data. Not only that, but web based apps are preferred by users because they work everywhere. I still use a standalone application for email, but I'm in the minority. This hasn't just made Microsoft unhip, but frankly irrelevant. As I told a friend of mine who said how he despised Microsoft, "Isn't hating Microsoft, a bit like still hating Prussia?" What does Microsoft have that's relevant? Sure they still have their Windows and Office, but that software is commodified. I can access the web with any OS, so Windows simply doesn't matter. With interoperability. no one really needs Office. For me, Apple's Pages and Numbers work pretty well, although I still prefer Excel for its ability to allow me to write custom functions (albeit in VB).

Now here's the irony, Microsoft Research is supercool. They do all sorts of groundbreaking stuff. Photosynth [photosynth.net] , Surface [microsoft.com] , along with work in collaboration and personal information management, just to name a few areas. MSR is great, and there really aren't that many places that do that work, let alone at with the both the breadth and depth of MSR. Microsoft doesn't really have too many peers in that respect, and that makes Microsoft very hip. Of course, MSR isn't for everyone, but for those people that like to do research, its great place to work.

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