All of the mainstream press is done talking about Mix last week. So I wanted to give my impression as a long time Microsoft watcher and developer.
First I have sat through hundreds if not thousands of keynotes over the last 15 years at Microsoft events. (Most recently I sat through one in Portuguese on Wednesday in Lisbon. 2700 developers, what a turn out!) Microsoft is really focused on the developer. They have a developer culture (that gets them in trouble with the mainstream press a lot) and treat developers like gold.
For all the great treatment, they will still turn up the PR engine at these keynotes, because while TechEd, PDC, and Mix maybe developer events, the press is still there. I noticed something different about Microsoft at Mix: honestly.
Case in point. In all of my years at keynotes, MS has never admitted to a mistake. They have come close by saying "Version 3.0 was slow, sorry. Version 4.0 out in XX months will be 10x faster! We rock! Cheer for us!"
They have touched some third rails like during the IE monopoly trial in the USA they brought a new computer out on stage and said "where is IE" in the middle of the demo. It was loaded with Netscape. That kind of poking fun at themselves was nice, but still not what I was looking for.
No at Mix they showed the maturity of an industry leader. They showed IE 7.0 not implementing CSS 2.1 standards. They then showed FireFox and Opera implementing it correctly. Then they said that they will fix it in IE 8 and showed us a demo to the point.
Some of you may not think that this is a big deal. It is. It is Microsoft growing up knowing that they are not the only player out there, realizing that people depend on their stuff and they are willing to take responsibility. This is the first step in losing their arrogance.
Speaking of arrogance. That is my opinion of Apple at the moment. As a developer, the iPhone SDK is 1. late to the party, 2. not that compelling (I had similar tools for RIM 7 years ago and Palm and MS SmartPhone 5+ years ago) and 3. arrogant. I have to develop according to the Apple UI and deployment standards. Sorry Steve Jobs look in the mirror. You will see Bill Gates of 10 years ago. The person you hate is the person you just became.
A torch has been passed. Who will replace Microsoft as the arrogant one in the software space? It will take a few years for Microsoft to completely change and a few more years for that change to be accepted. I think buying Yahoo! and working in a mature manner with Yahoo! is the first step. Who will replace Microsoft? The likely candidates: Google or Apple.