Can Microsoft build a "web platform?"

In additon to fending off challenges to Office from Google, a lot of people (myself included) think that Microsoft’s facing a challenge to their platform dominance from the internet. If you buy the World of Ends-style idea that “the internet is a platform that nobody owns,” that’s a pretty big, amorphous blob for the guys in Redmond to wrestle.

A lot of startups today are creating software that doesn’t target a specific operating system. They’re developing software to run on the internet; on stacks of free and open software (ie, LAMP), and using browsers’ HTML and JavaScript rendering capabilities to be the client side of their applications. In another era, they might have been developing Windows software, writing to the Windows API, and delivering their apps as Windows binaries. So what’s Microsoft to do to keep developers focused on platforms they control? Robert ScobleizerScoble thinks he’s seeing the patterns in Microsoft’s tea leaves:

Adam Sohn (he was the PR guy in our group when I started at Microsoft) is quoted on Redmond Developer saying that Microsoft is preparing a Live Development Platform. Ahh, an API that’ll do it all? Hmmm. I’m worried about the boil-the-ocean approach.

Scoble’s concern is that web developers like (or are at least used to) their pieces loosely joined; trying to create an all-singing, all-dancing API runs counter to that. Microsoft, on the other hand, has built their fortune around making developers productive, so it would be a mistake to underestimate their ability to understand the needs of mainstream programmers.

One thing’s for sure, it’ll be interesting to hear what Microsoft has to say at Mix this year.

Source: Microsoft trial balloons Web strategy? « Scobleizer – Tech Geek Blogger

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