Svetlana Gladkova is someone I consider to be one of the most thoughtful voices in the blogosphere today. I rarely disagree with her. But this quote proves that even the most thoughtful people can go astray when relying on the opinions of others...
I also see another problem for Microsoft venturing to the cloud computing market with Azure. The problem is mainly is in the perception of the company in the developers community. It is well-known that Microsoft products rarely are admired by developers for their reliability and the company itself is often criticized by the developers community for its clumsy attempts to finally build some presence online. Obviously, for developers to adopt this new platform where competitors already exist Azure needs to be a great offer to persuade the developers they need this particular solution and prove it will actually offer a perfect infrastructure and reliability - along with some very competitive pricing.
As pointed out in my last post I'm not on board with Azure but I feel the above characterization is off base.
I point this out only to show how the tech blogosphere can distort the world to those who track it. If one was to read the blogs you'd think that Ruby on Rails was the most popular platform in the world and that Microsoft technologies don't hold a candle to it.
But that simply isn't true.
In fact, a quick look at the Tiobe index for October 2008 shows that Visual Basic and C# have more developers between them than Python, Perl and Ruby combined. Moreover, the #1 spot still belongs to Java a language that has become nothing short of a punch line on the tech blogs.
The truth is, in the real world, a lot of the darlings of blogging are starting to lose steam. Looking over at a recent Netcraft study I noticed that Microsoft's IIS webserver has reached 34% of the overall market compared to Apache's 50%. That's a huge gain (to give some perspective, at the end of 2003 those numbers were 67% to 21%). Given the huge amount of effort it takes to switch from one web server to another that's a very significant jump for Microsoft.
In the end most of the people who are spouting the opinion that Ms. Gladkova quotes above are zealots who would never use Microsoft software no matter what. Microsoft could produce software that programs itself and I guarantee David Heinemeir Hansson wouldn't touch it. So the most important thing for Microsoft right now is to simply focus on building a better platform. That way they can get the serious developers even if the script kiddies continue to bash them in the blogs.