Every time Robert Scoble and TechCrunch talk about a new revolutionary iPhone app coming out of Silicon Valley, many wonder why is iPhone the first choice. In Microsoft’s second attempt at mobile phones, I’ve been questioning the lack of support from the startup world. Microsoft has had to use its own money to several apps onto the marketplace but the new developers still stick with iOS.
In an interview with Wired, startup entrepreneur Jeremy Howard explains the primary reason. Coming from someone within the Valley, Howard’s comments cannot be disputed. Howard is very categorical in his interview about what fellow entrepreneurs feel about Microsoft and the company’s development tools. In short—they’re not cool. In the age of gazillion development languages, it’s a tough to choose one, usually one opts for what they feel is slightly better than the other and as a developer know a little about. If I know C#, I’d feel comfortable using the language over Ruby on Rails and vice versa. Howard’s comments come with a back story, his startup Kaggle runs on Microsoft’s Windows Azure—a cloud computing platform. And according to his fellow Valley entrepreneurs, Howard doesn’t know what he’s doing since he’s using Microsoft’s products. Some select quotes from Cade Metz’s article on Wired:
In this echo chamber which is the [San Francisco] Bay Area, unless you follow what everyone else does, then there’s an assumption that you don’t know what you’re doing.
Silicon Valley types think that Jeremy Howard doesn’t know what he’s doing because he runs Kaggle on Windows Azure, [...]. Kaggle once ran on Amazon EC2 — the most popular cloud in the Valley [...]
they [developers in the Valley] look at him funny when he says that Kaggle uses Azure. “People say, ‘Oh, I’ll have to teach you about Java sometime, so then you’ll know the bright side.
Judging from interviews with myriad coders over the past several months, Azure isn’t just off the Silicon Valley radar. It’s misunderstood [...] by the younger generation of coders who grew up on open source software and such languages as Ruby and Python.
The Wired article explain a bigger problem for Microsoft. Not only is the company’s mobile platform getting traction, their next-generation cloud platform is having a similar perception problem. Howard explains that he knows 18 different languages and feels C# is as good as it can get. For Kaggle and Howard, Azure works well with .Net languages—a reason why he moved from Amazon’s infrastructure cloud to Microsoft’s cloud platform.