Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your aggregators!

Tonight's top item is Macromedia's John McDowell reacting to talk of a Sparkle project here at Microsoft.

He's quite right that sensationalism is what journalists use (hey, webloggers do it too -- remember my "How to Hate Microsoft" headline?

Remember, I work for the Windows group. We're the folks who build Windows. We're trying to be a better platform company. We need Macromedia and Adobe to build killer tools for Longhorn. If I were a betting man, I'd say they both see the business opportunities that are opening up in the industry. Microsoft does too (we have a sizeable building filled with folks who build Visual Studio, for instance).

It's useful to look back through computing history. Where were the business opportunities? Tools baby!!!

Look at Altair. What got Gates started? A BASIC interpretter.

Apple II. My first experiences on that platform were with programming tools (er, and games, but that's another story, and what came first, tools or games?). My dad bought home Pascal. My friends played with Basic and Assembly.

On the Mac, what was one of the first things I saw back in Rich Cameron's classroom? Hypercard. And even the "killer apps" were tools. Pagemaker. Illustrator. Photoshop.

Windows 3.11? Visual Basic. And all those killer compilers from Borland.

And so on.

Personally, I'm expecting a whole new kind of tool for Longhorn. Why? You think I'm gonna write XAML by hand? Yeah, right! When I learned the Web, I only had to hand-code things for the first few months. After that it was Pagemill, FrontPage, and later Dreamweaver.

John has a good point, though. It's all about reach. How many boxes are out there. How many business opportunities are out there for developers. Today Longhorn looks unimportant. Too far off. Too many distractions for the next two or so years. But, tools like Visual Studio and Dreamweaver take years to develop.

There's one thing, though. The industry has been through this cycle before. I remember back in the early Windows days folks said "nothing will sell on Windows." Heck, I remember people telling me "who needs a mouse and menus?"

When Windows 95 came around I remember screaming at the Acrobat team telling them that Windows 95 would be huge. It was. They were lucky that they put just enough effort into supporting the Windows platform to stay relevant (and now Acrobat is building them a third skyscraper in Silicon Valley).

The Longhorn evangelism team's door is open. We want to talk tools. We want to talk business opportunities. I think Macromedia is gonna be a major player on Longhorn. Why? Because Macromedia understands designers in ways that Microsoft will struggle for decades to do.

We have yet to really show off Longhorn to graphic designers. The ones I met at the PDC saw huge business opportunities. There's a reason Adobe was on stage with us last week. They see that graphic designers are becoming more important. More on that in the next post.

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Robert Scoble works at Microsoft. Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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© Copyright 2004 Robert Scoble Last updated: 1/3/2004; 3:17:31 AM.