Ross doesn’t trust Microsoft’s approach to Web

SocialText’s founder, Ross Mayfield, nails why a bunch of my friends don’t trust Microsoft and are finding what Microsoft’s Web offerings quite boring (or, even worse, worthy of derision).

As I’ve been going around the world I’ve been meeting with many people who’ve built their companies on non-Microsoft stuff. Some of whom have companies worth billions of dollars now. Some of whom you’ve never heard about unless you read TechCrunch. Here’s 12 reasons Web 2.0 entrepreneurs like Ross tell me that they aren’t using Microsoft’s stuff:

1) Startup costs. Linux is free. Ruby on Rails is free. MySQL is free.
2) Performance per dollar. They perceive that a Linux server running Apache has more performance than IIS running .NET.
3) Finding tech staff is easier. There are a whole new raft of young, highly skilled people willing to work long hours at startups who can build sites using Ruby on Rails.
4) Perception of scalability. The geeks who run these new businesses perceive that they can scale up their data centers with Linux and not with Windows (the old “Google runs on Linux” argument).
5) That Microsoft doesn’t care about small businesses. After all, Microsoft is an evil borg, but Ruby on Rails comes from a single guy: David Heinemeier Hansson. He has a blog and answers questions fast.
6) That open source makes it easier to fix problems and/or build custom solutions. A variant of the old “Google or Amazon couldn’t be built on Windows” argument.
7) On clients, they want to choose the highest-reach platforms. That doesn’t mean a Windows app. Or even an app that runs only in IE. It must run on every variant of Linux and Macintosh too.
8) They don’t want to take shit from their friends (or, even, their Venture Capitalist). Most of this is just pure cost-control. I can hear the conversation now: “OK, you wanna go with Windows as your platform, but is the extra feature worth the licensing fees for Windows?”
9) No lockin. These new businesses don’t want to be locked into a specific vendor’s problems, er products. Why? Because that way they can’t shop for the best price among tools (or move to something else if the architecture changes).
10) More security. The new businesses perceive Linux, Apache, Firefox, and other open source stuff to have higher security than stuff built on Windows.
11) More agility. I’ve had entrepreneurs tell me they need to be able to buy a server and have it totally up and running in less than 30 minutes and that they say that Linux is better at that.
12) The working set is smaller. Because Linux can be stripped down, the entrepreneurs are telling me that they can make their server-side stuff run faster and with less memory usage.

Now, why am I telling you this stuff? After all, I’ve just given you a list of perceived competitive advantages for Linux, Ruby on Rails, MySQL, and others. Isn’t this yet another example of why Scoble should be fired for being negative on his own company?

No.

See, I don’t want uninformed customers. That doesn’t help me. It doesn’t help Microsoft. It doesn’t help the customers. I want you to ask your Microsoft salesperson the tough questions before you buy into any of our new Web stuff. And, I start with the presumption my readers are smart enough to use Google or MSN or Yahoo to find out this information anyway. If you don’t get the right answers from Microsoft when it comes time to consider new Web technologies/methodologies/tools, er, if we don’t answer these points above, then I want you to run to the competition (and I’ll help you go there, just like I did when I helped run a camera store in the 1980s). And, when we bring services out, or bring new Web strategies out, I want you to trust us because we treated you right and gave you all the information.

Thanks Ross, though, for bringing your distrust out into the open. That’s helpful cause at least we can work on it now. And deal with it openly, without FUD, is what we’re going to do. Or, we’re going to be fired. That’s my cautionary tale to everyone inside Microsoft. Pay attention to this stuff or you’ll find yourself working somewhere else cause the customers went somewhere else.

What do you think? Did I miss anything in my list of 12?

276 thoughts on “Ross doesn’t trust Microsoft’s approach to Web

  1. Ohh. Robert. Scary scary stuff this thread.

    The security stuff cannot be stressed. MS has the perception out there in the enterprise as being really leaky. It needs fixed.

    Balmer (He of “zero credibility”, thanks to the chair episode, and architect of the 5-year stagnant share price) states that “Vista will be secure”.

    And monkeys will fly out of my butt.

    Honestly. This is the same man who allowed 12,000 man-years wasted effort on Vista (Reset ? Ha!), and forced Visual Studio 2005 to shipping – bugs and all – just so it’d fit a shareholders meeting.

    Vista ? Secure ?

    And the other thing you missed from your list ?

    BUG-FIXES

    God. MS need to put out better code – and what happens this week ? VS2005 gets thrown over the wall to manufacting, bugs and all.

    Even when the product is thrown out to the customers, and bugs are identified, some product lines only fix bugs once per year. Exchange 2003 – out there for 2 years – and SP2 has just been released.

    Its not as if Exchange even has an agressive features plan. Its actually getting features and support ripped out.

    Open source stuff – hell other vendors such as IBM – work in quarterly or 4-month maintenance cycles. MS works on yearly (if your lucky) cycles.

    So why should I place my trust on MS anymore?

    Trust is such a hard thing to gain, and such an easy thing to lose….

    —* Bill
    http://www.billbuchan.com

  2. Ohh. Robert. Scary scary stuff this thread.

    The security stuff cannot be stressed. MS has the perception out there in the enterprise as being really leaky. It needs fixed.

    Balmer (He of “zero credibility”, thanks to the chair episode, and architect of the 5-year stagnant share price) states that “Vista will be secure”.

    And monkeys will fly out of my butt.

    Honestly. This is the same man who allowed 12,000 man-years wasted effort on Vista (Reset ? Ha!), and forced Visual Studio 2005 to shipping – bugs and all – just so it’d fit a shareholders meeting.

    Vista ? Secure ?

    And the other thing you missed from your list ?

    BUG-FIXES

    God. MS need to put out better code – and what happens this week ? VS2005 gets thrown over the wall to manufacting, bugs and all.

    Even when the product is thrown out to the customers, and bugs are identified, some product lines only fix bugs once per year. Exchange 2003 – out there for 2 years – and SP2 has just been released.

    Its not as if Exchange even has an agressive features plan. Its actually getting features and support ripped out.

    Open source stuff – hell other vendors such as IBM – work in quarterly or 4-month maintenance cycles. MS works on yearly (if your lucky) cycles.

    So why should I place my trust on MS anymore?

    Trust is such a hard thing to gain, and such an easy thing to lose….

    —* Bill
    http://www.billbuchan.com

  3. I too am about to involve myself in a startup.

    I’m a Microsoft developer by nature, and I evangelize most of their products, but then cost becomes an issue. I have an MSDN subscription, and this gets me about 80% of my projected costs for a fairly cheap price (I get full office suites, a development environment, SDKs, easy access to support, etc.) However, the point that Bryan made above is an important one: As a startup from my apartment, not really expecting VC funding (unless it’s offered), I can’t host my own Web 2.0 software.

    This leads me to cheap hosting, which of course is all linux. The only cheap microsoft hosting I found was still on regular ASP and didn’t even have .NET framework, and was impossible to get them to upgrade. Then, the need for quick development to get something running as quickly as possible came into play, which gave me Ruby on Rails. So I shifted about 90% of my work to RoR and am hosting it on a very cheap webhost.

    However, I will say my personal machine is still Windows, and I write tiny code generation utilities in .NET, and I still use Office suite. Simply put, Windows is better desktop software, and provides a much better development environment. It simply runs faster, and doesn’t overcomplicate simple tasks.

    I think the number one problem I have outside of webhosting is that linux and MS don’t play well together in a mixed environment. As in, Linux will let me do almost anything Microsoft, but not the other way around. If MS played well with others, you’d probably see a lot of developers adopt the robustness of the .NET framework, and you might see fewer Google wannabes. Not to mention that if Windows server had native Secure FTP, I would probably front the startup costs of hosting my own Windows server, but even that one simple thing (I don’t want to install cygwin, I want it out of the box), can put me back to using another host on linux.

    Better hosting, play well with others, and MS would get more than half of my setup.

  4. I too am about to involve myself in a startup.

    I’m a Microsoft developer by nature, and I evangelize most of their products, but then cost becomes an issue. I have an MSDN subscription, and this gets me about 80% of my projected costs for a fairly cheap price (I get full office suites, a development environment, SDKs, easy access to support, etc.) However, the point that Bryan made above is an important one: As a startup from my apartment, not really expecting VC funding (unless it’s offered), I can’t host my own Web 2.0 software.

    This leads me to cheap hosting, which of course is all linux. The only cheap microsoft hosting I found was still on regular ASP and didn’t even have .NET framework, and was impossible to get them to upgrade. Then, the need for quick development to get something running as quickly as possible came into play, which gave me Ruby on Rails. So I shifted about 90% of my work to RoR and am hosting it on a very cheap webhost.

    However, I will say my personal machine is still Windows, and I write tiny code generation utilities in .NET, and I still use Office suite. Simply put, Windows is better desktop software, and provides a much better development environment. It simply runs faster, and doesn’t overcomplicate simple tasks.

    I think the number one problem I have outside of webhosting is that linux and MS don’t play well together in a mixed environment. As in, Linux will let me do almost anything Microsoft, but not the other way around. If MS played well with others, you’d probably see a lot of developers adopt the robustness of the .NET framework, and you might see fewer Google wannabes. Not to mention that if Windows server had native Secure FTP, I would probably front the startup costs of hosting my own Windows server, but even that one simple thing (I don’t want to install cygwin, I want it out of the box), can put me back to using another host on linux.

    Better hosting, play well with others, and MS would get more than half of my setup.

  5. I’m starting a company right now.

    No way will I be able to use MS or Apple products on this budget. I have a old Apple Powerbook which will become the main workstation and for the servers I’m going to use FreeBSD, Postfix, Postgresql, lighttpd and Ruby on Rails.

    Mostly because they are free, but also because not all open source software is created equal, Linux and Apache are much more complex for example, translation: require more time to configure and maintain.

    My time is the most expensive resource I have, I don’t want to waist it on anything else then things that produce money.

  6. I’m starting a company right now.

    No way will I be able to use MS or Apple products on this budget. I have a old Apple Powerbook which will become the main workstation and for the servers I’m going to use FreeBSD, Postfix, Postgresql, lighttpd and Ruby on Rails.

    Mostly because they are free, but also because not all open source software is created equal, Linux and Apache are much more complex for example, translation: require more time to configure and maintain.

    My time is the most expensive resource I have, I don’t want to waist it on anything else then things that produce money.

  7. I started coding using WinMain() on Windows 3.0 in 1990, moved to MFC and right now I’m working in both the Java and .NET worlds as well as starting to learn RoR. I’ve made a decent living using Microsoft tools and even had Microsoft ship code that I wrote.

    What I really like about Microsoft’s development products is that they are designed to work together extremely well and they *do*. The level of integration is pretty amazing actually. There is nothing in my experience that comes close to that in the FOSS community.

    The problem with Microsoft’s products is that they work really well with Microsoft’s products.

    If I was going to be running a startup I’d choose either Microsoft XP Pro or OSX as my client-side OS depending on who I was working with. Both support Eclipse and the languages (Java, RoR) that I’m interested in developing with.

    If I was going to be running a startup I’d choose Linux/FOSS software for the SERVER-SIDE over Microsoft for the following reasons.

    1 – Go to eBay to purchase used server hardware for testing/develpment and you will find that the boxes come without an OS license. I can download a Linux distro and burn to CD and I’m up and running for the cost of the media. No cost, no activation, no thousands of joules coursing through my keyboard if I mis-type one character out of the 256 characters while entering the license codes.

    2 – Go to the site of the development tools (Eclipse, RubyForge, PostgreSQL) that I’m interested in and download and install. No cost, no activation, no thousands of joules coursing through my keyboard if I mis-type one character out of the 256 characters while entering the license codes.

    Cost *is* a factor in both of those decisions but the whole idea that I have to tell Microsoft what I’m installing on what computers is more than just annoying – it is a waste of something more important than my money, it is a waste of my time and my trust. Microsoft doesn’t trust me to not pirate their software.

    MS SQL Server is an amazing product and if I had the money to deploy it I would. But I don’t. I can have PostgreSQL up and running on a quad processor with dual cores and not worry about licensing schemes or cost. Is it great? Nope. But it follows one of the themes that Microsoft has used in the past – software that isn’t great but is good enough.

    Finally, I don’t believe that Microsoft is committed to ISVs any more. Others have brought up the “fear of competing with Microsoft” but that isn’t it for me. Since somewhere around 1999-2000 Microsoft has appeared to change their focus from supporting ISVs to supporting business developers. Microsoft no longer needs developers to help make Windows *the* operating system. What Microsoft needs now is for companies to continue to use and purchase their operating system and other business tools and in order to do that they sell to the enterprise.

    Yes, Microsoft does make small business tool sets but they appear to be a secondary concern. I’m guessing that the ROI just isn’t there any more.

    That’s unfortunate for Microsoft because just as they were able to take advantage of IBM moving to the higher ROI customers to shape the trends of the next generation of customers Linux is taking advantage of the lower ROI customers and shaping the trends of the next generation of customers.

  8. I started coding using WinMain() on Windows 3.0 in 1990, moved to MFC and right now I’m working in both the Java and .NET worlds as well as starting to learn RoR. I’ve made a decent living using Microsoft tools and even had Microsoft ship code that I wrote.

    What I really like about Microsoft’s development products is that they are designed to work together extremely well and they *do*. The level of integration is pretty amazing actually. There is nothing in my experience that comes close to that in the FOSS community.

    The problem with Microsoft’s products is that they work really well with Microsoft’s products.

    If I was going to be running a startup I’d choose either Microsoft XP Pro or OSX as my client-side OS depending on who I was working with. Both support Eclipse and the languages (Java, RoR) that I’m interested in developing with.

    If I was going to be running a startup I’d choose Linux/FOSS software for the SERVER-SIDE over Microsoft for the following reasons.

    1 – Go to eBay to purchase used server hardware for testing/develpment and you will find that the boxes come without an OS license. I can download a Linux distro and burn to CD and I’m up and running for the cost of the media. No cost, no activation, no thousands of joules coursing through my keyboard if I mis-type one character out of the 256 characters while entering the license codes.

    2 – Go to the site of the development tools (Eclipse, RubyForge, PostgreSQL) that I’m interested in and download and install. No cost, no activation, no thousands of joules coursing through my keyboard if I mis-type one character out of the 256 characters while entering the license codes.

    Cost *is* a factor in both of those decisions but the whole idea that I have to tell Microsoft what I’m installing on what computers is more than just annoying – it is a waste of something more important than my money, it is a waste of my time and my trust. Microsoft doesn’t trust me to not pirate their software.

    MS SQL Server is an amazing product and if I had the money to deploy it I would. But I don’t. I can have PostgreSQL up and running on a quad processor with dual cores and not worry about licensing schemes or cost. Is it great? Nope. But it follows one of the themes that Microsoft has used in the past – software that isn’t great but is good enough.

    Finally, I don’t believe that Microsoft is committed to ISVs any more. Others have brought up the “fear of competing with Microsoft” but that isn’t it for me. Since somewhere around 1999-2000 Microsoft has appeared to change their focus from supporting ISVs to supporting business developers. Microsoft no longer needs developers to help make Windows *the* operating system. What Microsoft needs now is for companies to continue to use and purchase their operating system and other business tools and in order to do that they sell to the enterprise.

    Yes, Microsoft does make small business tool sets but they appear to be a secondary concern. I’m guessing that the ROI just isn’t there any more.

    That’s unfortunate for Microsoft because just as they were able to take advantage of IBM moving to the higher ROI customers to shape the trends of the next generation of customers Linux is taking advantage of the lower ROI customers and shaping the trends of the next generation of customers.

  9. Right on target!

    I, for one, graduated from a Computer Science program at a major University, and I never touched a Microsoft product in my 4 years there. So, I guess that would predispose me to OSS.

    I am a developer now, and we chose OSS over 5 years ago for at least 8 of the reasons above, and we still don’t have any regrets.

    My challenge to Microsoft would be: Make me Switch.

    Make something so flexible that I can pick whatever technology(ies) I want (PHP, Java, Perl, Tcl, Python, .Net, VB, MySQL, MSSQL…), make it so scalable that I can run it on my P2 450 or my brand new IBM E346, make it so available that I can download at a moments notice and configure it at will. Develop a user base with users that are brimming with useful information and are out in force to help me. Make it so compelling that all of my geek friends email me and say “you have to try this” like they did with Ruby on Rails.

    Make this product, charge whatever you want, and I’ll gladly jump on board.

  10. Right on target!

    I, for one, graduated from a Computer Science program at a major University, and I never touched a Microsoft product in my 4 years there. So, I guess that would predispose me to OSS.

    I am a developer now, and we chose OSS over 5 years ago for at least 8 of the reasons above, and we still don’t have any regrets.

    My challenge to Microsoft would be: Make me Switch.

    Make something so flexible that I can pick whatever technology(ies) I want (PHP, Java, Perl, Tcl, Python, .Net, VB, MySQL, MSSQL…), make it so scalable that I can run it on my P2 450 or my brand new IBM E346, make it so available that I can download at a moments notice and configure it at will. Develop a user base with users that are brimming with useful information and are out in force to help me. Make it so compelling that all of my geek friends email me and say “you have to try this” like they did with Ruby on Rails.

    Make this product, charge whatever you want, and I’ll gladly jump on board.

  11. Yes you missed a few important thing that I try to explain below, giving some facts from real experience, and after my conclusions about what should be changed in the MS developper culture :
    - the sources of the components are not available, and it is thus impossible to guarantee that there is no backdoor in security, that the published API are optimized, …
    - all MS components are bound to each other in an undocumented way. Example : remove the print spooler service in W2K, and the builtin mailer won’t work anymore.
    - Network is implemented in an horrible manner with many ports unconfigurable (or hardly). Some examples to illustrate this :
    1/ have you tried to secure the communication between a WebMail Exchange Server in DMZ and an internal server ? At least a dozen rules is required and it is still not perfect.
    2/ Kerio FW needs to upgrade to keep compatibility with Windows Update and other MS sites (only MS sites!)
    - International problems are not the priority. Have you tried to setup mail encryption with Outlook 2000 in French version of the software ? Yes it is possible but… the solution is difficult to imagine.

    To synthetize, it reflects the fact that MS developpers :
    1- suppose first that other MS components are always here and don’t imagine that a product can be run with third party or Open Source products. So they think that they can adapt the norms and standards.
    2- are following strategy changes by adapting products that were not initially conceived for this (adapt to Internet after strategy change for example).
    3- are too US centric.

    Hope you can understand my points.

    Best regards.

  12. Yes you missed a few important thing that I try to explain below, giving some facts from real experience, and after my conclusions about what should be changed in the MS developper culture :
    - the sources of the components are not available, and it is thus impossible to guarantee that there is no backdoor in security, that the published API are optimized, …
    - all MS components are bound to each other in an undocumented way. Example : remove the print spooler service in W2K, and the builtin mailer won’t work anymore.
    - Network is implemented in an horrible manner with many ports unconfigurable (or hardly). Some examples to illustrate this :
    1/ have you tried to secure the communication between a WebMail Exchange Server in DMZ and an internal server ? At least a dozen rules is required and it is still not perfect.
    2/ Kerio FW needs to upgrade to keep compatibility with Windows Update and other MS sites (only MS sites!)
    - International problems are not the priority. Have you tried to setup mail encryption with Outlook 2000 in French version of the software ? Yes it is possible but… the solution is difficult to imagine.

    To synthetize, it reflects the fact that MS developpers :
    1- suppose first that other MS components are always here and don’t imagine that a product can be run with third party or Open Source products. So they think that they can adapt the norms and standards.
    2- are following strategy changes by adapting products that were not initially conceived for this (adapt to Internet after strategy change for example).
    3- are too US centric.

    Hope you can understand my points.

    Best regards.

  13. Picked up a copy of vs.net, got some great programs written that help me be very productive (I’m an amateur here). Way better than vb6. Never used open source but i will say that as an amateur, I run into all kinds of niggly little crap that will drive you nuts. EG, a bug in asp.net that which gives you some wierd error unless you restart your indexing service. The point here is that it was just a matter of googling and the problem was solved. Can you say that about open source? Is the overall level of online available knowledge the same for MS and foir OS ?

  14. Picked up a copy of vs.net, got some great programs written that help me be very productive (I’m an amateur here). Way better than vb6. Never used open source but i will say that as an amateur, I run into all kinds of niggly little crap that will drive you nuts. EG, a bug in asp.net that which gives you some wierd error unless you restart your indexing service. The point here is that it was just a matter of googling and the problem was solved. Can you say that about open source? Is the overall level of online available knowledge the same for MS and foir OS ?

  15. Nice spin. Microsoft has been untrustworthy for over a decade. Just because you and the Bill Gates sycophants are just now waking up, it amusing. It is not groundbreaking or even noteworthy. Just amusing.

    How sad that you must continue to spin for Bill. You completely ignore the fact that MS does business in underhanded and in some cases illegal ways.

    I don’t care for “open source”, strikes me as socialism on a chip. I don’t care for MS, either; strikes me as Totalitarianism on a chip.

  16. Nice spin. Microsoft has been untrustworthy for over a decade. Just because you and the Bill Gates sycophants are just now waking up, it amusing. It is not groundbreaking or even noteworthy. Just amusing.

    How sad that you must continue to spin for Bill. You completely ignore the fact that MS does business in underhanded and in some cases illegal ways.

    I don’t care for “open source”, strikes me as socialism on a chip. I don’t care for MS, either; strikes me as Totalitarianism on a chip.

  17. Its funny, while this server is running Linux, its also running some of the worst blog software ever written: WordPress. Still, its better than anything developed on a Microsoft platform…

    Standards are a big issue for me, mostly the Web Standards maintained by the W3C.

    Someone said that coding on Linux is just as locked down as coding for Windows, but the fact is, if I’m developing with Java or PHP, I can run my program on ANY platform that supports the languages.

  18. Its funny, while this server is running Linux, its also running some of the worst blog software ever written: WordPress. Still, its better than anything developed on a Microsoft platform…

    Standards are a big issue for me, mostly the Web Standards maintained by the W3C.

    Someone said that coding on Linux is just as locked down as coding for Windows, but the fact is, if I’m developing with Java or PHP, I can run my program on ANY platform that supports the languages.

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  20. First I am slightly confused as to why so many people have been jumping on Scoble said Microsoft doesn’t cut it bandwagon.

    Maybe it’s just me but even though Scoble has taken a very technology agnostic writing stance in this post, the underlying messages are still there.

    This is a post about paying attention to what “others” are saying, I don’t see any mention of the “others” being right.

    For Example: I have actually had people tell me they bought linux because they had to be up in 30 minutes.

    Surely I can’t be the only one picking up on these funnies? :)

    Obviously he realises Microsoft isn’t perfect, after-all who is?

    I’m also fairly certain that he is well aware that the only reason to dismiss Microsoft as a technology provider completely is either lack of education on the platform/products or just plain being stubborn.

  21. First I am slightly confused as to why so many people have been jumping on Scoble said Microsoft doesn’t cut it bandwagon.

    Maybe it’s just me but even though Scoble has taken a very technology agnostic writing stance in this post, the underlying messages are still there.

    This is a post about paying attention to what “others” are saying, I don’t see any mention of the “others” being right.

    For Example: I have actually had people tell me they bought linux because they had to be up in 30 minutes.

    Surely I can’t be the only one picking up on these funnies? :)

    Obviously he realises Microsoft isn’t perfect, after-all who is?

    I’m also fairly certain that he is well aware that the only reason to dismiss Microsoft as a technology provider completely is either lack of education on the platform/products or just plain being stubborn.

  22. Mark,

    While Empower is useful for addressing a startup’s internal software needs – it does not address a couple of very important issues.

    1. It assumes that a startup is building packaged software – if you are building a web application/service at least on first, plain English reading you don’t qualify.

    (i.e. requirements read: “Commit to developing one (1) packaged and resalable software application that supports at least one of the following Microsoft technologies:”)

    I would argue that this program should be extended to companies building web applications as well.

    2. It does not address or help simplify the cost of liceneses for PRODUCTION. Both a web service you (the company) run and manage or what you sell and deploy to clients – the cost of the underlying required MSFT licenses is not at all addressed by the Empower program.

    So if I were writing a business plan, Empower would address some of my internal costs and budget (at least until I reached over 5 developers) but it does nothing to help me structure my sales prices or deployment costs, nor does it help in the building of a Web 2.0 type service.

    And it would assume and require that even as a small company (i.e. less than 5 developers) I have the resources to manage MSFT servers for internal use (Exchange, Sharepoint etc.) This is a big assumption. Even in the best run shops someone has to be dedicated to manageing those servers (while this is true in unix shops as well since provisioning unix mail and web services is so standard and inexpensive few startups run those features in house, you can just pay

  23. Mark,

    While Empower is useful for addressing a startup’s internal software needs – it does not address a couple of very important issues.

    1. It assumes that a startup is building packaged software – if you are building a web application/service at least on first, plain English reading you don’t qualify.

    (i.e. requirements read: “Commit to developing one (1) packaged and resalable software application that supports at least one of the following Microsoft technologies:”)

    I would argue that this program should be extended to companies building web applications as well.

    2. It does not address or help simplify the cost of liceneses for PRODUCTION. Both a web service you (the company) run and manage or what you sell and deploy to clients – the cost of the underlying required MSFT licenses is not at all addressed by the Empower program.

    So if I were writing a business plan, Empower would address some of my internal costs and budget (at least until I reached over 5 developers) but it does nothing to help me structure my sales prices or deployment costs, nor does it help in the building of a Web 2.0 type service.

    And it would assume and require that even as a small company (i.e. less than 5 developers) I have the resources to manage MSFT servers for internal use (Exchange, Sharepoint etc.) This is a big assumption. Even in the best run shops someone has to be dedicated to manageing those servers (while this is true in unix shops as well since provisioning unix mail and web services is so standard and inexpensive few startups run those features in house, you can just pay

  24. Many of you have pointed out a need for MS software license for start-ups. One of the best kept secrets is Empower for ISVs at https://partner.microsoft.com/global/40010429. The subscription is $375 a year and includes a host of benefits, i.e., product licenses, MSDN universal and support services. If you have other things in mind, please send me your feedback directly at markbar@microsoft.com. We have been analyzing this for some time and would be useful to validate our thinking.

  25. Many of you have pointed out a need for MS software license for start-ups. One of the best kept secrets is Empower for ISVs at https://partner.microsoft.com/global/40010429. The subscription is $375 a year and includes a host of benefits, i.e., product licenses, MSDN universal and support services. If you have other things in mind, please send me your feedback directly at markbar@microsoft.com. We have been analyzing this for some time and would be useful to validate our thinking.

  26. You see the fatal flaw with using linux and other opensource flavors for development is that you don’t have decent tools. I asked if there was any intellisense-like featured ruby on rails text editor, and the response wasn’t just no, but its not possible. That’s the kind of attitude that makes me steer clear of platforms. With MS I have dev studio. And I don’t care what anyone says nothing can beat Dev Studio as an IDE. 2005 is amazing.

    Linux is a big no for me. For any server solutions I use FreeBSD. And this isn’t just preference. It makes more sense to use an option that doesn’t tie me down. The GPL isn’t exactly a business friendly licence. On top of that linux is just a kernel. FreeBSD is a complete system with a very robust set of tools. But again just because its my server platform of choice does it mean its my development? No. I still develope in windows and port to unix. I said unix, not linux. Linux has too many variants for me to keep track of. Do I build with 2.4 libc or 2.6 libc will it run on Red Hat or SuSE? I don’t care I compile wiht FreeBSD’s libc and be done with it. And since there’s only one FreeBSD flavor I don’t have to worry about it. NetBSD and OpenBSD generally don’t have a problem running the program natively, at least in my situations.

    Next I don’t like projects with just one controller, its a nice beginning. An organized development team is always a good thing. Linux has Linus. Linus in my opinion isn’t the greatest developer ever. He is a smart man however. He took an old idea repackaged it gave it a new licence and its now the hottest buzz word in the tech industry. I used linux many years ago and tried again recently, I’ve seen improvments but its still not FreeBSD. And KDEV is not Dev Studio. Nor is Eclipse. They don’t even come close. Linux just might be turning into that evil demon microsoft used to be. Then again I’m just one lowely developer.

  27. You see the fatal flaw with using linux and other opensource flavors for development is that you don’t have decent tools. I asked if there was any intellisense-like featured ruby on rails text editor, and the response wasn’t just no, but its not possible. That’s the kind of attitude that makes me steer clear of platforms. With MS I have dev studio. And I don’t care what anyone says nothing can beat Dev Studio as an IDE. 2005 is amazing.

    Linux is a big no for me. For any server solutions I use FreeBSD. And this isn’t just preference. It makes more sense to use an option that doesn’t tie me down. The GPL isn’t exactly a business friendly licence. On top of that linux is just a kernel. FreeBSD is a complete system with a very robust set of tools. But again just because its my server platform of choice does it mean its my development? No. I still develope in windows and port to unix. I said unix, not linux. Linux has too many variants for me to keep track of. Do I build with 2.4 libc or 2.6 libc will it run on Red Hat or SuSE? I don’t care I compile wiht FreeBSD’s libc and be done with it. And since there’s only one FreeBSD flavor I don’t have to worry about it. NetBSD and OpenBSD generally don’t have a problem running the program natively, at least in my situations.

    Next I don’t like projects with just one controller, its a nice beginning. An organized development team is always a good thing. Linux has Linus. Linus in my opinion isn’t the greatest developer ever. He is a smart man however. He took an old idea repackaged it gave it a new licence and its now the hottest buzz word in the tech industry. I used linux many years ago and tried again recently, I’ve seen improvments but its still not FreeBSD. And KDEV is not Dev Studio. Nor is Eclipse. They don’t even come close. Linux just might be turning into that evil demon microsoft used to be. Then again I’m just one lowely developer.

  28. One more reason: Microsoft is an American company. Conspiracy theory or not, one has to wonder about MS’s relationship with the US government. Some EU government entities (mainly at local level) are choosing non-MS solutions simply to avoid foreign solutions.

    You can also add in general anti-Americanism in the wake of Iraq/Bush/etc. Rightly or wrongly MS, like McDonalds, is perceived as a symbol of America. This brings with it its own set of pros and cons which
    Linux/MySQL/Apache/etc don’t have to contend with.

  29. One more reason: Microsoft is an American company. Conspiracy theory or not, one has to wonder about MS’s relationship with the US government. Some EU government entities (mainly at local level) are choosing non-MS solutions simply to avoid foreign solutions.

    You can also add in general anti-Americanism in the wake of Iraq/Bush/etc. Rightly or wrongly MS, like McDonalds, is perceived as a symbol of America. This brings with it its own set of pros and cons which
    Linux/MySQL/Apache/etc don’t have to contend with.

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  31. Wow, what a list. For me, it’s MSFT’s tools’ attitude toward HTML. ASP.NET treats HTML as if it’s a burden, an embarassment. It’s very hard to get good valid, predictable HTML out of it.

    it’s frankly an attitude of disrespect for the way that web development has gone in the last three or four years. HEre are some suggestions:

    - Stop bothering with demo-only featrures like “draging and dropping” controls to build a page, which then of course uses fucking pixel-based positioning, destroying my page layout. You know how often it’s useful to be able to drag a checkbox control (a frigging *control*! For a single HTML tag!) onto a page, rather than writing it? Never ever ever. That how often.
    - Everyone buidling web apps that I know wants to render clean, validating HTML, or as close as reasonably possible. Stop treating HTML as merely an output format, to be slapped together as you see fit.
    - Everyone buidling web apps in 2005 wants to style the page almost entirely through CSS. That professional MSFT tools automatically insert spacer gifs is an embarassment. Table-row background colors in tr-tags is an insult. Support for older browsers should no longer be a default, it should be an option.
    - Everyone buidling web apps wants to do more with DOM manipulation than ever: Ajax, page effects, etc. Existing libraries (like Prototype) do this cross-browser, and are nicely designed. MSFT’s “Atlas” feels like some thick-client geek was assigned by a middle-manager to reinvent the whole damn paradigm cause it wasn’t “flexible enough.”

  32. Wow, what a list. For me, it’s MSFT’s tools’ attitude toward HTML. ASP.NET treats HTML as if it’s a burden, an embarassment. It’s very hard to get good valid, predictable HTML out of it.

    it’s frankly an attitude of disrespect for the way that web development has gone in the last three or four years. HEre are some suggestions:

    - Stop bothering with demo-only featrures like “draging and dropping” controls to build a page, which then of course uses fucking pixel-based positioning, destroying my page layout. You know how often it’s useful to be able to drag a checkbox control (a frigging *control*! For a single HTML tag!) onto a page, rather than writing it? Never ever ever. That how often.
    - Everyone buidling web apps that I know wants to render clean, validating HTML, or as close as reasonably possible. Stop treating HTML as merely an output format, to be slapped together as you see fit.
    - Everyone buidling web apps in 2005 wants to style the page almost entirely through CSS. That professional MSFT tools automatically insert spacer gifs is an embarassment. Table-row background colors in tr-tags is an insult. Support for older browsers should no longer be a default, it should be an option.
    - Everyone buidling web apps wants to do more with DOM manipulation than ever: Ajax, page effects, etc. Existing libraries (like Prototype) do this cross-browser, and are nicely designed. MSFT’s “Atlas” feels like some thick-client geek was assigned by a middle-manager to reinvent the whole damn paradigm cause it wasn’t “flexible enough.”

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