Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Microsoft: Platform provider, application provider or both?
I made a strange connection (or was it a disconnection?) about Microsoft.

Scoble makes this statement on his weblog:
Hey, I'm happy that we're missing that boat. I'd rather that Microsoft focus on making the best platform to build weblogging tools on top of!

Then I read an article over at InformationWeek that talks about Microsoft's Project Green:
Two years and more than $2 billion after Microsoft bought its way into the business-applications market, the company's Business Solutions division is a money loser. Yet Microsoft officials remain doggedly upbeat about the direction of a unit that increasingly will compete with Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP in a software sector that's been dragging. Why? The answer involves a little-known initiative called Project Green.

The question I have to ask is whether Microsoft is a platform provider, an application provider or is it both? Obviously, from Microsoft's current business, it is both. I don't have a problem with this. Hey, Apple and Sun do this. In fact, they take it to the extreme by even providing the hardware. The only question I have for Microsoft is this: How do you help developers when you're stomping on their market space? It seems to me that the provider of the platform will often have an advantage when it comes to creating applications on that platform. True, the platform provider needs to take application development seriously, but I think Microsoft and Apple are two examples of platform providers taking application development seriously. So, what are the application developers supposed to do when a gorilla like Microsoft decides it's time to dominate the developers' market?

I trust that Scoble does want Microsoft to provide a great platform for other developers to create great applications on, but does that jive with what Microsoft is really doing? I sense that there is a division of opinion on this issue internally at Microsoft. Worse than the split on this issue is that Microsoft is headed in a direction that may very well destroy the partners it claims it wants and needs.
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And you thought you were a geek
A friend from Bible study has a daughter with the middle name of Perl. Yes, Perl, as in the programming language. If they have another son or daughter the middle name will be Python. And I thought kids were cruel when they found out my middle name, Noel. Ha!
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The Colonel