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Microsoft Woos Developers At Build

Does a barrage of Azure announcements indicate that Microsoft may finally be shifting away from a "Windows-first" mindset?
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The Azure Preview Portal's Billing and Account feature.(Source: Microsoft)
The Azure Preview Portal's Billing and Account feature.
(Source: Microsoft)

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AbeG
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AbeG,
User Rank: Black Belt
5/31/2014 | 3:08:48 AM
End of an Era?
Microsoft was king of the hill for a long time, but it seems as though we've reached the end of that era, but Microsoft is still trying to hold on.  The one-size fits all model may no longer apply to what I see as three groups with increasingly different needs.

General end-users - This group has basic needs which can often be addressed by a mobile device that has a web browser and the ability to install apps, many of which are free or ad-supported.  Easy home integration and trendy styles/features are likely to appeal to this group.  So far, Apple seems to be the leader here.  Samsung seems to be following that lead with its home appliances and popular galaxy devices.

Power users / IT Pros - This group will likely want to hang on to the full feature set offered by a traditional operating system as well as the emerging functionality of mobile operating systems and apps.  I'm guessing this group will end up as a small minority.  With less consumers available to spread the cost of software development, some applications will no longer be developed for local install and only be available in subscription based web apps.  This may lead this group to resort to open source options.

Enterprise - This group might start to lean toward solutions that are more specifically tailored to their needs.  That should open up competition from all over the place as solutions are not necessarily built with Windows or Azure.  For example, IBM sells host servers with an open-source based hyper-visor that is reputed to be very robust and never need updating or restarting.

It seems that the only place for Microsoft to go is to specialize in some particular niche and be happy that they had a long run as #1 in many categories.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2014 | 3:25:20 PM
Re: Microsoft is making the right moves
Azure may compete with more upstart infrastructure service providers such as Google and Amazon, but that doesn't diminish its clout.

Fortune 500 companies are willing to pay for reliability and support, which is what Microsoft continues to do really well.

After all, isn't it easier to build out an all-Microsoft solution? You have less fragmented parts.

I'm not shilling for Microsoft here, I just see what larger organizations value from Microsoft's Server and Tools division. 
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/4/2014 | 7:00:39 PM
Cloud before Windows, for Microsoft to thrive
That's a good report on Build. I would say Satya Nadella is putting cloud as a platform before Windows as a platform, while trying to hold onlo all Microsoft-oriented developers. It was the loss of interest by the young development community that was truly threatening to Microsoft..
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/4/2014 | 4:35:10 PM
Microsoft is making the right moves
Bravo to Microsoft for opening up. But if the company succeeds in making its development tools (through Xamarain) the preferred way to generate cross-platform apps for Android, iOS, OS X, the Web, and Windows, how long will it be until Apple or Google finds a way to break Microsoft's toolchain?

Apple, Google, and Microsoft have all demonstrated that they will open up when behind and become more closed when ahead.
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