# Friday, April 18, 2008

I spent the week on Microsoft's Redmond campus for product team meetings and the MVP summit. One thing that always surprises me is the growth of Microsoft. I have been traveling out to Redmond to meet with the big evil empire since 1996. Back then I was like "holy cow there is a lot of growth." Now 12 years later, it is more of the same. Cranes everywhere, it looks like Dubai or Shanghai. Across the expressway, it looks like they are building a huge complex. I joked to my friends in the car that this is the new building to handle all of the new Yahoo! employees.


It is always amazing to me just how well Microsoft treats its 3rd party developers. Arguably we are the reason why Microsoft beat out Apple in the 1990s. Apple had user design specifications and an approval process, and Microsoft just treated us like gold; and we also were able to build anything we wanted and install it on Windows independent of Microsoft. While this may have made Windows less stable, it also made it a standard. Businesses can hire anyone to build them custom software, and that is still true to this day.

Apple is making the same mistake with the iPhone as they made with the Mac. They treat 3rd party developers poorly. Microsoft flew out 4,000 developers this week and showed us their roadmap and vision for the next three years, and some ideas that span out even further. (Watch out Amazon S3 and Google, when I can use SQL Server in the cloud, why do I need you?) They had frank discussions and never once said "we can't answer that question." (Even questions on Yahoo! sale and how far MS is behind Google in search.) This went up to the Ray Ozzie and Steve Ballmer level.

Apple does no such thing. As Wired Magazine points out, they are the new evil. They close down fan blogs and sue children who try to report on new features. We have to wait until MacWorld to get an announcement.

Memo to Steve Jobs: It would be nice to know in advance (like a year or two) about your new stuff. Then we can build apps for it. Giving us a half baked SDK with tons of restrictions (and a approval process that is draconian) will just have us build for other platforms like Java, Linux and Microsoft. Oh ya, your arrogance does not fit well with the software developer crowd-we think *we* are the center of the universe.

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