Hey Microsoft, why do you still charge a fortune for programming tools... when Apple's are FREE?



Hey Microsoft, why do you still charge a fortune for programming tools... when Apple's are FREE?


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Have you noticed that there are now more programs available on Macs, iPhones and iPads than Microsoft? Here's one reason.


I'm venting again.

I've been writing software since 1979. In that time, I've paid tons of money to buy tools to write programs that run on DOS and Windows. The current price for writing programs using Visual Studio Pro is $499. Meanwhile, Apple gives away the software needed to write programs that run on iPhones, iPads and Macs.

When the iPhone came out, the ability to not only write programs, but have them made available in Apple's App Store was revolutionary. Suddenly, countless independent developers started to write software to run on Apple products.

Since the tools for writing iOS for devices (iPhone and iPad) and OSX (Mac) are FREE, there are now more programs for iPhone, iPad and Mac than there are for Microsoft products


The Apple App Stores have an endless variety of high quality Apps made by large companies, small companies and even teenagers eager to develop the next million dollar App like Flappy Bird or Fruit Ninja.

I realize Microsoft has free "Express" versions of their development tools, but they hold back on some of the most important features a programmer needs to develop a real commercial application.

In fact, if you can get past all the missing pieces, you discover the terms of service has such gems as "...Any/all software created will be for internal, enterprise use only, and not be sold." Nice one, Microsoft. So, you can write programs and use them in-house, but if you want to sell, you have to upgrade.

To be fair, Apple has a $99 fee to have an App included in the App Store, but you only pay that price after you've developed your app and you want to sell it in the App Store.

Microsoft is switching their pricing to subscription models bundled with MSDN, so some editions of Microsoft's tools can cost as much as $13,999. Only large corporations can afford that. There are countless third party sites selling Visual Studio with even more confusing price options like this one.

I'm sure many people feel that Apple has more programmers simply because there are more iPhones and they hit the Smartphone market first


That's only partially true. I had a Microsoft Smartphone 2 years before the introduction of the iPhone. In fact, there were quite a lot of Windows Smartphone makers selling Windows based Smartphones as far back as 3 years before iPhone, and they had nearly 100% of the Smartphone market back then. Some were pretty well made, but crude by today's standards.

The game changer from Apple was when they created the App Store, gave out the tools and then stood on stage and said "We can't wait to see what you build with them"... and build they did.

The increase in developers and apps created a snowball effect. As the number of great Apps increased, so did the number of people buying the phones and the number of developers increased because they wanted to reach that larger audience, which led to more high quality Apps... making the phones even more desirable.

The snowball effect worked the opposite way for Microsoft... a lack of good Apps makes less people want a Windows Phone or tablet. Meanwhile, Microsoft was banking on people buying Surface because they claim they are "real" computers that run familiar Windows Apps... but when you think of it, other than Microsoft Office... what are the "Familiar" programs Microsoft thinks people are looking for? If anything, people are looking for ported versions of things that started on Apple devices.

What about Google / Android?


To be fair, Android is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. They clearly have a massive share of the total market, massively larger than Microsoft's share, but the truth is, who would've thought Microsoft would ever be a DISTANT last place in a race for software / operating systems? That's exactly where they are, and why this is so vital for them to start courting developers. Google clearly gained a lot of traction and it should be noted that ALL the development tools for Android are FREE too. See the pattern?

The point I'm raising is that 10 years ago, there were very few Apple developers, and therefore very few popular programs that ran on Macs. Today, the Mac App Store has far more Apps than you will find for Windows. What Microsoft needs are more developers, and free full featured tools are a step in the right direction

Another point to consider is that while a flood of developers are embracing Google's Android, the risk to Microsoft extends beyond the mobile market because as the line between desktops and mobile devices blurs, Microsoft's dominance in the desktop will be meaningless as more people will be using tablets and other devices as their primary "computer". By then, if they don't have solid base of programmers in their camp, their share will continue to drop. Unlike the Android threat, Apple developers can easily port their iOS Apps to the OSX / Mac desktop.

On the product page for Microsoft's Visual Studio development tools, Microsoft allows people to leave reviews. As of the moment I am writing this there are exactly 7 reviews. Two of those reviewers specifically said they liked it, but had issues with the price.

"I love the features included, such as the amazing code completion. I can tell for sure that I will be upgrading to Ultimate as soon as I can afford it Smile."

"The best IDE hands down. My only issue, that at $499 it's a expensive. Especially considering there are a few quality open source IDE's out there. But frankly, if you writing code targeting MS platforms you can't best Visual Studio. Nothing touches it."



Source: Motley Fool... Fool.Com

Look, I may be exaggerating a bit to make a point... but with all the competition for developers, why not bend over backwards and make it easy for new developers to start writing apps for Microsoft platforms?


Remember, a lot of programmers are fresh out of school. They don't need any barriers or complicated licensing. Just give them FREE access to the same tools as the professionals and inspire them to make great software that runs on every Microsoft platform.


, Founder

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User Icon Posted: 11/19/2014 11:39:55 PM
From: , Founder - Staten Island, NY

UPDATE.... Microsoft is making Visual Studio free to small developers


This is a bold move for Microsoft...

Announcing Open Source of .NET Core Framework, .NET Core Distribution for Linux/OSX, and Free Visual Studio Community Edition

Based on this, it will now be free for independent programmers and developers in small companies to develop software:

Here's an excerpt:

"Announcing Visual Studio Community Edition
I’m also excited to announce that we are launching a new free edition of Visual Studio today that will empower even more developers to build great apps and solutions.

The new Visual Studio Community 2013 edition is a full-featured IDE. It supports multiple project types in one solution file in a single IDE, and has all of the productivity features and IDE extensibility capabilities (meaning you can use Xamarin, ReSharper, VsVim, and any other VSIX extension) that developers love in Visual Studio.

It is now available completely free for:

Any individual developer working on a commercial or non-commercial project
Any developer contributing to an open source project
Anyone in an academic research or course setting (e.g. students, teachers, classroom, online course)
Any non-enterprise organization with 5 or fewer developers working on a commercial/non-commercial project together"




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