Microsoft Outplaying Apple? Not the Way I See It, Scoble!

Scoble’s got a sweet job: he’s the only person outside the Bush Administration who can be wrong a lot of the time and still reap the rewards from it. He’s also more likable.

The latest evidence of this is his post titled Why Microsoft Outplays Apple Long-Term. In the post, he talks about an independent developer event in which 300 people — mostly programmers — got together at iPhoneDevCamp, an independent, free-of-charge BarCamp-style event where developers got together from July 6th through 8th to workshop on developing apps for the iPhone. He points out that although he met people from Microsoft, Yahoo! and Verisign at the event, he didn’t see anyone who clearly identified himself or herself as being an Apple employee.

From this observation comes the thesis of the post: by not having an obvious presence there, Apple is telling developers to, in his own words “go pound sand”.

He contrasts this with Microsoft, who in contrast, looooove developers:

Where’s Apple? Microsoft is here.

If this were a Microsoft event the evangelism team would be here in force with T-shirts, stickers, free dev tools, tons of geeks who could help people figure out technical issues, and more. Look at how Microsoft dealt with Maker Faire, they sent the guy who builds Bill Gates’ keynote demos to help out. THAT is how Microsoft got 90% market share.

Why Microsoft Tries So Hard

The answer to Scoble’s questions lies in his talking about how hard-working the Microsoft Evangelism team is. I’ll counter with this: these days, Microsoft works hard at getting developer love for the same reason that people sign up for hokey courses at the Learning Annex on how to flirt: because they have to.

The fact that three hundred developers, with no funding or prompting from Apple, started their own BarCamp-ish event on iPhone development is a sign that Apple have, to borrow a Kathy Sierra-ism, created passionate users. They didn’t need to be there in an official capacity; they just needed to stoke enough interest in their product to turn their own customers into evangelists. Surely you’ve heard of Kathy’s blog, Scoble!

To get the same level of interest in a Microsoft event takes a lot more work. Consider the hoops that Microsoft has jumped through here in Toronto. In spite of the fact that we’ve got an active BarCamp scene here in Toronto thanks to events like DemoCamp, CaseCamp and VizThink, in order to get developers to get together and talk about Microsoft tech, it takes either a Microsoft-organized conference like the recent EnergizeIT or its local PR company to organize smaller events with free booze and food. They had to book the “rock star suite” at the Gladstone Hotel and hold a party afterwards to get us to look at Microsoft Live, but the upcoming gathering where we’re going to workshop the Facebook API grew out of a suggestion on a mailing list.

Although there’s a lot of passionate Mac fanboy-ism on the web, there is hope for Microsoft. There is one fanboy out there who praises Microsoft even though he’s not on their payroll: it’s Scoble.

I’ve got to run right now, so I’ll continue later ’cause I ain’t done yet. If you’d like to make any comments in the meantime, please do so!