# Thursday, May 27, 2004

Monopoly or no monopoly, this is what put and what keeps Microsoft on top:

I had an incredible experience today at the sails pavilion - I asked about Speech Server...So I'm sitting at the SQL cabana and the Microsoft helper gets on the radio and asks someone if they've got the Speech Server group at their cabana. About fifteen seconds later, every MS radio in earshot lights up with "Any Speech Server expert, any Speech Server expert, we need an answer in the cabana ASAP!" Really really impressive! [Jason Fredrickson ]

Back in the dim time, I started out as a Mac developer before moving to Win32 (I never had to write a far pointer :-) ).  I was pretty up on developing for the Mac.  I went to two WWDCs in the early/mid 90's.  I was a total Apple bigot.  Why aren't I still?  Because Apple had (and probably has) a habit of completely jerking developers around, when they weren't ignoring them completely.  The barrier to entry was high.  I still have the many $100s worth of Apple Developer books that you pretty much had to buy to write for the Mac.  Apple's own development tools were way overpriced, and horribly under-useable.  Worst of all was the System 8 debacle.  I spent quite a bit of time and effort getting ready for "Copeland" which was Apple's first "System 8" replacement for their antiquated System 7.  I even went and learned Dylan, since Apple said they were going to be moving into the future with Dylan on Copeland.  (Dylan, and particularly Apple's Dylan implementation which was written in Lisp, was awesome at the time.  Everything Java brought to the table later and more useable, IMHO.)  Then Apple pulled the rug out, never shipped Copeland, or any of the DocPart stuff they were touting with IBM, killed Dylan, etc.  I think that was when they really started losing market share.  They were alienating developers at the same time that MS was coming out with Win32 and courting developers.  No matter how cool your operating system is, if nobody writes apps for it, it's not going anywhere (witness BeOS).

I'm not saying MS has never lead developers astray (Cairo?) but overall they have made a concerted effort to attract developers and make them feel valued, which leads to more high quality apps being available on Windows then anywhere else. 

I've been to numerous MS conferences, and always had a good time, and more importantly I always felt like MS was seriously committed to making my life easier and showing me how to better get my job done.  That's worth a lot.