Joel on Software - How Microsoft Lost the API War


It’s not that Microsoft didn’t notice this was happening. Of course they did, and when the implications became clear, they slammed on the brakes. Promising new technologies like HTAs and DHTML were stopped in their tracks. The Internet Explorer team seems to have disappeared; they have been completely missing in action for several years. There’s no way Microsoft is going to allow DHTML to get any better than it already is: it’s just too dangerous to their core business, the rich client. The big meme at Microsoft these days is: “Microsoft is betting the company on the rich client.”

Joel explains eloquently why Microsoft is in trouble. And my anecdotal evidence confirms it: Danish Radio is looking for .NET developers, and they simply can’t find any at a reasonable cost. They’re desparate.

The Raymond Chen Camp has an important lesson for those of us who are developing an application development framework, essentially a high-level operating system for web applications: If you want to have many rich applications available, make sure you maintain the ugrade path. In fact, for us over in the OpenACS world it would be relatively much simpler to do workarounds in the core for specific versions of specific packages, since we have almost all of them sitting right there in the very same CVS repository!


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