[Marketing] Microsoft Developer Marketing Question

Anthony Long along at flexiety.com
Sat, 13 Sep 2003 10:05:01 -0400


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Thanks for the extended reply.  Some good thoughts in there.

You wrote "Need to get enough users so that developers think there is a 
viable market."  Maybe it's the case that you just have to make enough 
developers THINK there is a viable market (with the facts to back it up, 
of course).

Where do most developers hang out (i.e., what do they read, voices they 
trust?)

And does anyone know if there is a similar marketing discussion list for 
Linux?

ian wrote:

>On Sat, 2003-09-13 at 07:38, Anthony Long wrote:
>  
>
>>It occurs to me that a large part of Microsoft's success has been based 
>>around its ability to attract and sustain a hefty number of software 
>>developers for its platform.  I'd like to figure out why.  Why did 
>>developers initially develop for Microsoft's BASIC, DOS, and Windows and 
>>continue to do so in droves? 
>>    
>>
>
>Because there was lots of it out there. In the early days every PC in
>the business sector came with DOS so its a no brainer to develop for it
>if you operated in that sector. Once captured all MS had to do was
>maintain the developer community.
>
>  
>
>> Same question goes for Palm.
>>    
>>
>
>Confidence in the brand name, again by getting a lot out there and
>spending a lot on initial marketing and advertising.
>
>  
>
>>Is it the case that an entity must first capture a dominant market share 
>>in order to then capture substantial numbers of developers? 
>>    
>>
>
>Certainly likely and makes it a lot easier - create a market and people
>will flock to it. The difficulty is in creating the market if its
>already dominated by one supplier and end users have high dependency on
>it.
>
>  
>
>> So maybe 
>>the answer to this question, it was MS's cornering of the PC market that 
>>led to developer attraction?  But if this is true, then why in the early 
>>80s,  when it was uncertain which way the PC industry would go, did MS 
>>attract developers?
>>    
>>
>
>It wasn't that uncertain as soon as IBM stepped in and Compaq
>demonstrated the PC could be cloned. I got sick of hearing "industry
>standard and open architecture" in those days. Even in the early 80s the
>writing was on the wall so it was pretty obvious that a lot of
>developers would develop on the *IBM* PC - DOs just happened to be the
>OS used on those machines so it got a sudden following in a very short
>space of time.
>
>  
>
>>Using what we learn from answering these questions, how can we apply the 
>>lessons to better attract developers for open-standards platforms like 
>>Linux, Mozilla, and OpenOffice?
>>    
>>
>
>Need to get enough users so that developers think that there is a viable
>market. The advantage for early adopters is that its a niche with little
>competition. That's why its central to our business plan. We see a few
>years of high potential growth with relatively low competition and for a
>small company that is better than fighting head to head with large
>corporates in a saturated market. The one thing we have going for us is
>a unique marketing model in our client base that allows us to get
>GNU/Linux systems in. To be realistic its going to be far harder for a
>general purpose tech company to do that. What is needed is specific
>expertise in the specific sector so that relationships can be built at a
>professional level. Relationships are the key. eg say in the law sector
>a lawyer who is tech savvy and has many contacts throughout that sector
>demonstrating why FLOSS saves money, why its good for professional
>lawyers and selling systems into that sector. That is effectively what I
>do in the education sector. I generate business from professional
>management services in education - the technology supply and development
>is a spin-off from relationships. There has got to be quite a lot of
>trust for someone to ditch Windows and MS Office for an "unknown".
>
>In the end though we don't need all the market, we need sufficient
>market to demonstrate what is possible and give people confidence that
>it works by providing concrete examples. Its why its *absolutely* vital
>that any early adopter customer gets a good experience and believe me
>there are problems to overcome simply because these are complex systems
>to integrate and we are doing a lot of it on a largish scale for the
>first time. If it falls over and its Windows people accept it. If it
>falls over and its FLOSS they say there, we should have had Windows!
>
>Still life would be boring without a challenge ;-)
>
>  
>
>>I'd love to hear peoples' thoughts on this.
>>    
>>
>
>
>  
>

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Thanks for the extended reply.&nbsp; Some good thoughts in there.<br>
<br>
You wrote "Need to get enough users so that developers think there is a
viable market."&nbsp; Maybe it's the case that you just have to make enough
developers THINK there is a viable market (with the facts to back it
up, of course).<br>
<br>
Where do most developers hang out (i.e., what do they read, voices they
trust?)<br>
<br>
And does anyone know if there is a similar marketing discussion list
for Linux?<br>
<br>
ian wrote:<br>
<blockquote type="cite" cite="mid1063449149.25590.23.camel@localhost">
  <pre wrap="">On Sat, 2003-09-13 at 07:38, Anthony Long wrote:
  </pre>
  <blockquote type="cite">
    <pre wrap="">It occurs to me that a large part of Microsoft's success has been based 
around its ability to attract and sustain a hefty number of software 
developers for its platform.  I'd like to figure out why.  Why did 
developers initially develop for Microsoft's BASIC, DOS, and Windows and 
continue to do so in droves? 
    </pre>
  </blockquote>
  <pre wrap=""><!---->
Because there was lots of it out there. In the early days every PC in
the business sector came with DOS so its a no brainer to develop for it
if you operated in that sector. Once captured all MS had to do was
maintain the developer community.

  </pre>
  <blockquote type="cite">
    <pre wrap=""> Same question goes for Palm.
    </pre>
  </blockquote>
  <pre wrap=""><!---->
Confidence in the brand name, again by getting a lot out there and
spending a lot on initial marketing and advertising.

  </pre>
  <blockquote type="cite">
    <pre wrap="">Is it the case that an entity must first capture a dominant market share 
in order to then capture substantial numbers of developers? 
    </pre>
  </blockquote>
  <pre wrap=""><!---->
Certainly likely and makes it a lot easier - create a market and people
will flock to it. The difficulty is in creating the market if its
already dominated by one supplier and end users have high dependency on
it.

  </pre>
  <blockquote type="cite">
    <pre wrap=""> So maybe 
the answer to this question, it was MS's cornering of the PC market that 
led to developer attraction?  But if this is true, then why in the early 
80s,  when it was uncertain which way the PC industry would go, did MS 
attract developers?
    </pre>
  </blockquote>
  <pre wrap=""><!---->
It wasn't that uncertain as soon as IBM stepped in and Compaq
demonstrated the PC could be cloned. I got sick of hearing "industry
standard and open architecture" in those days. Even in the early 80s the
writing was on the wall so it was pretty obvious that a lot of
developers would develop on the *IBM* PC - DOs just happened to be the
OS used on those machines so it got a sudden following in a very short
space of time.

  </pre>
  <blockquote type="cite">
    <pre wrap="">Using what we learn from answering these questions, how can we apply the 
lessons to better attract developers for open-standards platforms like 
Linux, Mozilla, and OpenOffice?
    </pre>
  </blockquote>
  <pre wrap=""><!---->
Need to get enough users so that developers think that there is a viable
market. The advantage for early adopters is that its a niche with little
competition. That's why its central to our business plan. We see a few
years of high potential growth with relatively low competition and for a
small company that is better than fighting head to head with large
corporates in a saturated market. The one thing we have going for us is
a unique marketing model in our client base that allows us to get
GNU/Linux systems in. To be realistic its going to be far harder for a
general purpose tech company to do that. What is needed is specific
expertise in the specific sector so that relationships can be built at a
professional level. Relationships are the key. eg say in the law sector
a lawyer who is tech savvy and has many contacts throughout that sector
demonstrating why FLOSS saves money, why its good for professional
lawyers and selling systems into that sector. That is effectively what I
do in the education sector. I generate business from professional
management services in education - the technology supply and development
is a spin-off from relationships. There has got to be quite a lot of
trust for someone to ditch Windows and MS Office for an "unknown".

In the end though we don't need all the market, we need sufficient
market to demonstrate what is possible and give people confidence that
it works by providing concrete examples. Its why its *absolutely* vital
that any early adopter customer gets a good experience and believe me
there are problems to overcome simply because these are complex systems
to integrate and we are doing a lot of it on a largish scale for the
first time. If it falls over and its Windows people accept it. If it
falls over and its FLOSS they say there, we should have had Windows!

Still life would be boring without a challenge ;-)

  </pre>
  <blockquote type="cite">
    <pre wrap="">I'd love to hear peoples' thoughts on this.
    </pre>
  </blockquote>
  <pre wrap=""><!---->

  </pre>
</blockquote>
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