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Innovation

Developers want Ballmer to show money

Australian developers have asked Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer what the company will do to address a Microsoft coding landscape that hasn't offered financial rewards like those available to iPhone and Facebook developers.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

Australian developers have asked Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer what the company will do to address a Microsoft coding landscape that hasn't offered financial rewards like those available to iPhone and Facebook developers.

steveballmer.jpg

Steve Ballmer
(Credit: Microsoft)

In the lead-up to Ballmer's visit to Sydney this Thursday, the software giant has asked developers to submit questions on its forum which it plans to relay to Ballmer on the day.

Questions from the Australian developer community have ranged from what Microsoft's mobile phone strategy will be to the impact of fragmenting programming languages on developers' bottom line.

Jose Fajardo, a Silverlight and Adobe Flex/AIR developer at the Sydney-office of US-firm Cynergy asked whether Microsoft would offer financial incentives similar to those on offer to iPhone, Facebook and Android application developers.

"I have spent two years picking up Silverlight. It's been a long two years, but at end of that what do I have to show for it?" he told ZDNet.com.au in an interview.

"If I had spent last two years learning Cocoa for the iPhone or Android, learning Google's language or building apps for Facebook, I could be pushing an app that could be sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars if I had done it right," he said.

Developer 'Dale' said that writing C# (C-sharp) had become too complex as programmers increasingly integrated applications with JavaScript, Python or Ruby languages.

"Does Microsoft have any oversight in place over the language enhancements that occur in the different languages?" asked Dale. "It can lead to massively different programming styles within the one language which make it harder to maintain."

A posted named Richard Banks expressed concern about the proliferation of Microsoft products.

"For Visual Studio alone there is Visual Studio Express/Standard/Pro/Team Editions... The rate of change ... is wearing the 9-5 developer out and driving adoption of simpler technologies with smaller learning curves such as Ruby on Rails," he said.

Concerned about web and browser standards, developer Damian Edwards asked why Microsoft has continued to invest in Internet Explorer when open source alternatives have responded to changing standards faster.

"Can you explain why Internet Explorer is still relevant and why it's worth the company spending so much money on a new rendering engine?" he asked Ballmer.

Jeremy Kelaher wants Ballmer to outline Microsoft's advertising strategy around Microsoft's cloud-based operating system initiative, Azure. "How [will] the ad sponsored Azure service work for advertisers — where will the inventory be sold, what kinds of ads will be supported? Will ads be content sensitive (eg I am writing about Adobe, I get ads for Microsoft products) or sponsor-based. Can competitors [like Adobe] advertise?" he asked.

On 6 November at 3:30pm AEST, Ballmer will deliver his first speech since this year's Professional Developer's Conference to a select Sydney audience. The entire speech will be broadcast live, exclusively in Australia through ZDNet.com.au.

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