Well, since FB notes aren’t indexed by public search engines, seems like it’s still better to post here for now and import into FB.
Lots of random things to comment on lately.
Did anyone notice that at the PDC keynote, they didn’t talk about Windows desktop client-side development at all? It was all HTML5, WP7, and Azure. Which were the right things to talk about. It’s good to see MS finally taking HTML5 seriously. If they can manage to keep their focus, I think they can turn Windows in to the best web client OS for desktop/laptop form-factor devices. And that’s clearly where the world is going. I know people still poo poo web apps, but after having worked on a giant one for 6 months now, there is really no going back. The various web technologies will mature (websockets, local storage, desktop integration, etc.), and then there will really be no reason to write client side code in the old way. HTML5 and JS are the new C++ of the client side. Hell, a ton of client side apps these days are even just wrappers around a webkit or IE widget that does most of the heavy rendering. The only last stronghold is gaming, which MS seems to be doing a reasonable job with.
MS’s competitive position with Google is interesting. If they do manage to make an awesome HTML5 client, that clearly helps Google. But at this point, if MS does nothing, Google will still win (because they’ll just be able to push chrome out to relevant platforms), so they really have no choice. I think they’ve seen the light in terms of an online office suite too. Hopefully they’ll be able to provide some good competition for google docs, since GDocs is still pretty basic.
Apple has a slightly different play. While they do support HTML5, it seems it’s more because they have to, and not because they want to. They’ve made attempts at web-apps in the past, like with the iphoto sharing stuff, but I think they’ve basically realized that the HTML5 is the great equalizer that they’ve feared all along. How do you make a web app that “integrates” only with Apple products? the whole concept doesn’t make any sense. That’s why they’ll do everything they can to encourage client side development. Their growing market share, and the new Mac app store will surely help, but I’m still skeptical that this strategy will win in the long run. If MS can build a compelling HTML5 platform, their penetration combined with the general efficiency advantage of developing web apps will make developing for the evolving Apple client platform seem so last millenium. Apple will continue to appliance-ify the PC, and that’s fine, but as long as the world is still mostly HTML5, they too will have to support it, and that will be good for everyone.
The client platform battle is now on the phone, and the war is just beginning. Android, WP7, and Apple, each have their clear strategies. While WP7 is a late-comer, I think it still has a good chance, especially if it manages to learn from its opponents mistakes. Apple made the ┬ábest first product, but there have been constant complaints about the closedness of the platform. While they have been opening up gradually, it’s unclear whether they will seed enough control such that real innovations can develop atop the iphone. On the other hand Android is too open. Carriers/manufacturers take it and do really dumb things like write 3rd party home screens (hey guys, UEX and UI development is really hard. leave it to the frickin experts ok? There are like maybe 200 of them in the world, and they certainly don’t work for you). The first WP7 phone I played with had a pretty good amount of iphone-like polish, lots of cool integration points like android, and minimum of 3rd party crap. If they can keep those properties for a few generations and get the software stack competitive with the iPhone, they have a legitimate shot at winning. As I like to say, it’s not just about being open, it’s about being open enough.
The various design simplicities of WP7, as well as the general messaging around the whole thing give some confidence. It seems like something has really turned around at MS since Win7. Let’s just hope that it continues. As much as I like the Apple stuff, I think MS winning (with a platform play) is better for the world than Apple winning.
On a side note, I’m pretty sure that MS or Google will really figure out online docs before OpenOffice becomes viable. Man, what a sad project. All these years, and when they’re done, it won’t even matter. Just like the consumer linux desktop.

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