Comparing Apple and Microsoft as Platforms for Developers

I missed October’s Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles this year because of a couple of other conferences and meetings in other cities. But of course I was happy to see the coverage in the technology press and blogs, so much of it positive about our announcement on Windows Azure and the Azure Services Platform.

Then I read Joe Wilcox over on his “Apple Watch” blog at eWeek, on “What Apple Needs to Know about Azure, Windows 7.” It’s striking in its conclusions, particularly coming from a longtime Apple watcher:

This year’s Microsoft developer conference was bolder and brasher than Apple’s-methinks; Steve Ballmer’s crew is more forthcoming with information than was Steve Jobs’ gang.

Apple’s developer conference, where the CEO unveiled the iPhone 3G, was closed to the press. Participants agreed to NDAs. By stark contrast, Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference was open to the press, and pretty much anything and everything was public. Secretive Apple tightly holds close its future product plans, while Microsoft revealed information that competitors could use before new products reach market, such as Office Web, Windows Azure and Windows 7.

What? Microsoft more open?

Okay, more open than Steve Jobs’s Apple.  (Not much of a trick, actually – God knows I have always loved Apple but they sure aren’t known for openness.)  Wilcox goes into quite a bit of technical detail on the overall Windows 7 strategy, and the Azure cloud services platform, judging that “Microsoft articulated the clearest strategy I’ve seen anywhere for the PC, mobile device and Web service. Apple has got nothing even close.”

His ultimate verdict: “Apple can laugh at Vista, but the management team developing {Windows} Seven is more disciplined and pragmatic and fiercely determined to clean the tarnish off Windows’ image.”

Time will tell. I’ll check out my developer’s copy of Win7 and see how things go – I’m certainly not the most skilled of the target audience.

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