Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

March 5, 2008: The Day Microsoft Changed the Web

I've been saying this for a long time: The tech industry (and the financial markets associated with the tech industry) has continually underestimated Microsoft at its own peril. At MIX 08 today, Ray Ozzie emerged from his undisclosed location to show us all what the "Ray Ozzie Microsoft" will look like. And I try not to swear on the blog to often... but HOLY F---ING SH--! As Scott Guthrie so aptly put it, "Apps speak louder than words," and the LOOOONG keynote showed off more bits than you can shake an ICBM at. Here's what came out, courtesy of WaggEd:

  • Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1: Microsoft unveiled for the first time Internet Explorer 8, showcasing Internet Explorer’s commitment to developers. Internet Explorer 8 offers an unprecedented level of interoperability and tools, enabling developers to be more productive while delivering innovative experiences for end users on the Web. Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 for developers, released today, provides the most extensive support for Internet standards of any Microsoft browser and reduces the amount of time required to bring new experiences online. 
  • Silverlight 2 Beta: Silverlight 2 supports managed code, includes the core of the Common Language Runtime and adds over two dozen user interface controls (such as Button, CheckBox, Date controls, GridView and Layout) that are designed to be used right out of the box, or to be tweaked with styles. If you need full control over the look and feel, the appearance of any control can be fully determined by templates and control behavior can be modified by hooking events, or ultimately by creating custom controls.
  • Expression Studio 2 Beta: Expression Studio 2 works seamlessly with Visual Studio to enable better designer and developer collaboration. New features include PHP support in Expression Web, and support for Silverlight in Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Media Encoder and Expression Design.
  • SQL Server Data Services: Microsoft announced a preview of SQL Server Data Services, a building block service designed for developers and businesses that need scalable, easily programmable and cost-effective data storage with robust database query capabilities. MIX08 attendees will be able to register for an invitation-only beta of Microsoft SQL Server Data Services.
Don't forget:
  • DeepZoom, powered by SeaDragon
  •,,, and the new AOL Mail - all powered by Silverlight
  • XAML embedded in video enabling new ad metrics systems - By DoubleClick

When Microsoft decides to compete, they don't screw around. And now you can take the platform that a majority of Fortune 500 companies trust and use every day, and take that wealth of developer experience, and bring it to a cross-platform, cross-browser solution? How about .NET developers building rich applications on the Mac? How about using the same XAML code for an advertisement, and having it work on a web page, in a video clip, or in a WPF app?

So I say it again, count Microsoft out all you want, they have a history of out-competing almost everyone. Everyone thought OS/2 would beat out Windows. They were wrong. Everyone thought .NET would be a joke, cause Java "did everything right". They were wrong. Everyone thought Flash would take over the world. But Silverlight out-flashes Flash, and no one with any sense uses Flash for Enterprise apps.

Microsoft has a history of letting innovation happen, then finding the weaknesses in a competitor's product and attack it in force. Microsoft now dominates software development, and Guthrie & Co are doing it through good ol' fashioned innovation. Now they are putting their full weight into the arena that Macromedia/Adobe have dominated for so long.

if I were Adobe, I'd be real scared right about now.



  • steve bolton said:

    Are you forgetting that Microsoft wrote OS/2?

    March 6, 2008 4:25 AM
  • ak said:

    .NET is a joke, just as bloated as Java. And Silverlight, I will never put that crap on my machine

    March 6, 2008 9:33 AM
  • Aaron said:

    Everything you said is right when it comes to the desktop space Robert. But when it comes to the web I know, and you know, that Microsoft is a different company. They dont get how they can embrace the web, without destroying their desktop ecosystem. Thats why they havent won a lot in the web space, and their strategies for the web is a jumbled mess. I cant see how they can win without giving away some of the dominance in the offline world.

    March 6, 2008 4:12 PM
  • Steve: I thought IBM wrote OS/2?

    AK: But you'll put Flash on your machine? Flash has crashed my IE in Vista about a thousand times. Silverlight has never once brought down my browser. I wonder why.

    Aaron: But that assumes the it's an either/or proposition. Anyone that thinks the web will kill desktop OSes is either an idiot or a fool. You'll always need local software to run local hardware. So the OS will never die.

    It actually furthers their desktop dominance, because now, even if you're on a Mac, you can do .NET. So a MacBook Pro can be running Vista in Parallels, and then still have .NET in Firefox on the Mac through Silverlight... how is that not an extension of their desktop dominance?

    March 6, 2008 11:19 PM
  • Aaron said:

    Didnt they both write OS/2?

    Sorry I didnt mean just windows desktop itself. I was meaning more giving away ground like in office apps, media etc. Yeah its a good point you raise about .net on macs, but I think its a double edged sword. I thought .net apps being exclusive to windows meant protecting windows market share, and now they are moving away from that. So I dunno...

    I also dont think MS is the 'kill the competition' company it once was. It got a very big spanking the last time it did that so I dont think its Microsofts aim to destroy other companies and their products, which is a good thing.

    March 7, 2008 4:07 AM
  • paul said:

    Yeah - I gotta argue a couple points here, some stuff is valid but...

    2 dozen ui controls does not out-flash flash.  Flex provides that and more and when combined with the large amount of open-source content out there the number becomes quite large....

    " one with any sense uses Flash for Enterprise apps."  Somebody should have told Oracle, SAP, Saleforce, Sungard, etc...

    "if I were Adobe, I'd be real scared right about now."  Let's be honest - this is not a zero-sum game.  Java devs and old flash pros are not leaving to go to Silverlight.  Granted it has some cool stuff but Adobe is not going anywhere and until Silverlight has a killer app (like, something that cannot be done - or hasn't already been in Flash) you won't see a won't see a slew of Flash/Flex developers running to Silverlight in the near future...

    Not that your article was inaccurate, some of these releases are really cool - it just should have been titled "The Day Microsoft Changed the Web - for .NET developers."

    March 11, 2008 8:47 AM
  • March 25, 2008 6:39 PM
  • zxevil172 said:

    JmgibH      Were a U from?

    March 28, 2008 3:14 PM
  • Rob said:

    Do you get paid per positive word about Microsoft??

    Open your eyes, look at the REAL world and whats happening.

    April 1, 2008 6:44 AM