Per usual Mary Jo Foley is doing a better job of conveying Microsoft’s goals than Microsoft is…

Last week during the first public preview of the Windows 8 user interface, Microsoft officials said that new Windows 8 apps will be created in HTML5 and JavaScript. By deciding not to mention anything about .Net and Silverlight — telling developers they’d have to wait until the September Build conference to hear more — company officials ended up setting off new speculation that the company is poised to dump its current frameworks and programming interfaces.

I’ve blogged before about the XAML layer that Microsoft is building for Windows 8 as part of its “Jupiter” initiative. Yes, it still exists, I hear from my contacts. And yes, this will enable support of native Silverlight applications. (Does this mean Windows Phone apps written using Silverlight will be able to run on Windows 8 with no/few tweaks? I don’t know.)

I’ve watched Microsoft for a long time.  As in “I was reading accounts of the internal war between Brad Silverberg and Jim Allchin back in Jr. High” (on Usenet no less).  So I’ve seen technology shifts before and I’ve seen Microsoft Turf wars before. 

The problem is this particular shift didn’t shift to something developers can use. 

Microsoft hasn’t even given details on HOW one would write HTML5/Javascript desktop apps.  Unless they want everyone to use Chrome or Adobe Air (which I assume isn’t the case).  Yet they very publicly announced HTML5/Javascript Desktop apps are the future and left out their current offerings (namely Silverlight).  A public announcement that was carried in the Wall Street Journal.  

So any CIO or Consultant using Microsoft technology is left adrift.  Because the Executives/Customers they’re pitching to have now heard Microsoft say “HTML5/Javascript is the future of Desktop Apps”.  Making Silverlight look like a technology with an expiration date that’s only a year in the future.  Yet that CIO/Consultant has no way to pitch an HTML5/Javascript based Desktop App. 

It wouldn’t have taken much for Sinofsky to say “HTML5/Javascript or Silverlight” instead of “HTML5/Javascript”.  But he didn’t.

If I had to guess why this  happened I’d go back to Tim Anderson’s theory that different divisions of Microsoft are pulling in different directions.  With the Developer Division continuing to support XAML based solutions while Sinfosky’s Windows/Windows Live team tries to unify under HTML5.  Meaning Sinofsky would leave Silverlight out of his presentation because of some kind of internal turf war (which again Microsoft is famous for). 

But if that’s the case Microsoft seriously needs a leadership overhaul.  If the head of the WIndows division can appear to throw a large portion of Microsoft developers under the bus just to spite another Microsoft division then something has gone terribly, terribly wrong over in Redmond.