First of all, a very Happy New Year 2015 to all my readers. I am feeling pretty excited at the start of this year. Ericsson has shutdown the modem business and moved its modem workforce into core baseband business. Yes, I am now working as one. Telecommunications as a whole feels like a commodity especially after my visit to India where phones are being sold are cheap and way up in HW specs. The whole business aspect of Telecommunications is turning upside down with apps like Viber / Tango / Messenger, etc. taking charge of either calling over CS/PS or IP making the backend providers (networks/basebands) more of a data pipe. This is but a natural evolution. It would be exciting to see how the network providers / manufacturers will be able to maintain their steady flow of income to sustain, create and fund more business as well as maintain R&D capabilities.
But I will write my views on that one in some other post. For the time being, I am quite excited with the way Microsoft is taking the technical field by “storm”. It is great to see Microsoft going away from absurd business building models into something that is more profitable and attractive to developer community. I still remember the days when I was travelling with Microsoft in my position as a Product Manager for “Bridge” for Windows Phone 7 launches. Microsoft at that time had hired long time “Apple Executives” who were introducing concepts of store / app space, developer fees, single point of installation for Windows Phone apps, UI changes (Metro anybody), etc. It felt like they were simply taking everything that Apple had and trying to “Microsoftize” it! The result was not that good. Developers eventually left Windows Phone 7, Windows 8 and Phone follow-on products to their fate. Even today, Microsoft app store has the lowest number of applications compared to its competitors.
One of the compelling reasons for developers to leave the Microsoft platform was the cost associated with it. First of all, one needs to buy a professional version of Visual Studio to really make an application that can be deployed on any machine. Second was the high cost of app store membership charges (99 USD per Year, What were you thinking Microsoft?). A developer like me who just wants to explore Windows 8/Phone development will not invest such when its counterpart (Android) gives everything away for free and a play store lifetime membership for 25 USD only!
Well, guess Microsoft has finally fired those “Applers” and got some sense into bringing back the developer community. First of all, Microsoft made a community edition of Visual Studio that is essentially a professional version but under a different license. Now anybody can create apps. Secondly, the app store lifetime membership is only 19 USD and they have removed the yearly recurring charges! I see these two as very important and constructive changes in the Microsoft policies. For individual developers like me, I suggest one should try their hands of Microsoft Techs again to gain some market momentum which is very hard to get in the overcrowded Android & iOS space.
And one of the very important change is the Microsoft is trying to have the same OS on all the PCs/Phones in order to minimize the number of compatibility issues as well as ease developer life. Yes, Microsoft is giving away Windows 10 as a free upgrade to all Win7, Win8/8.1, WP8/8.1 users! YIPPEE! And its not just apps, I am very excited to see that HoloLens announcement this year! Man, in a year or two, I am pretty sure we will see a huge change in the way MMI is happening not just in computing space but in virtually all spaces where humans and computers interact!
Microsoft’s Channel 9 is a great site for getting the knowledge needed for application development, XAML updates, VS 2015, ready made templates and apps, I am pretty sure in a couple of years, Microsoft will pioneer visual coding! Well maybe not but they are definitely back in business and I feel 1987 all over again! All the best Microsoft and thanks for the positive changes. I have registered myself and should soon by publishing some apps of my own. Stay tuned!