Game over for Windows ISVs?

Summary:Some questions to ponder this weekend.When was the last time you found a really exciting, new Windows application, from a start-up or a near start-up?

windows xp logoSome questions to ponder this weekend.

When was the last time you found a really exciting, new Windows application, from a start-up or a near start-up? When was the last time you read about a venture capitalist funding some new Windows software developer?

I read these kinds of releases all the time in the open source space. There's a lot of capital out there looking to support open source applications.

Microsoft itself is doing a lot. They are in the news for Longhorn and new software for mobile devices, for online efforts and new capabilities, even for automotive software, often bringing things to the operating system, such as security, previously found only in third party applications.

But there's a hidden cost to all of this. Each time Windows becomes more capable, some outside software developer's niche is closed. And many folks who were once happy Windows ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) now find that risk may be too much to take.

Metro is today's Exhibit A. It's an XML-based document format that could make Adobe's PDF obsolete. Is there any wonder, then, why Adobe bought Macromedia? The risk of Microsoft taking out ISV niches has to drive consolidation. Size is the only protection. And that protection is limited.

But this is not yet a big risk in the open source world. I can see your hole cards, You can see mine. Transparency keeps the game honest. There's little danger the owner of the space is going to swoop in and steal the hand.

I know many people who read this blog use Windows. Many here like it, they trust it. So I address this question to you.

When was the last time you saw a great new Windows application, from a start-up or small company?

Tell me about it on TalkBack.

Topics: Windows


Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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