3rd March 2007

Scoble on Macs in the developer ecosystem

posted in Developers, Mac, Technology |
Last week Scoble wrote a piece about the developer ecosystems, Microsoft vs. Adobe and the role of Macs. From my perspective he is half right.

His observation that Macs are everywhere is dead on. I bought my MacBook a couple of months ago and on most client visits I’d rather bring my MacBook, both because its lighter than my Dell, but also because its the “cool” machine to have and you see them all over now.

But Robert goes on to say that “WPF/E and Expression and the fun workflow that Manuel and John show off won’t matter one bit if you develop Web sites on a Mac”. I think this misses one of the key angles on the recent Mac phenomena- many of those Macs are running Windows, at least partially. The inflection point when the developer community shifted from a few mostly isolated designers running Macs to everyone carrying them around is pretty clearly the Intel Macs, Bootcamp and Parallels. This means that Expression, etc, run great on those Macs.

Of course part of the sad thing is that both Microsoft and Apple are so ambivalent about this shift that neither is really capitalizing on it. Apple is the closest, but I get the vibe (I hope I’m wrong) that Apple doesn’t really want Windows to kick-ass on their machines. If all the drivers for Vista were 100% and Apple added right mouse buttons and/or a couple of keys to the keyboard, Vista on my MacBook would be a killer experience rather than a “nice but somewhat annoying” one. But Apple is conflicted because they fear that might diminish the MacOS.

So, while it would be nice if Expression ran on the MacOS, the fact that WPF/E runs great there, and you can run Expression on your Mac hardware I think gets Microsoft 80% of the way there. Most of the Mac-developers and designers that I’ve worked with lately all run Windows for various tools and IE testing and as long as they can run the results of their efforts on the MacOS, they are willing to work in both environments.

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