Knowing Developers

A lot of people regard Apple and Microsoft as two sides of the same, cynical coin. But if you ask me, I think a core difference between the two companies is that Microsoft gets developers, and Apple doesn't. You can look no further than Apple's decision last month to reverse its ban on AppStore distribution of programs written in non-native, third-party development tools.

Honestly, I was shocked when Apple announced in April that it would prohibit from its AppStore any iPhone and iPad apps not coded in C, C++, Objective C or JavaScript. That decision cast a lot of third-party tool vendors into the void, including a host of Flash developers caught up in the very public spat between Adobe and Apple, as well as the people at the Mono Project at Novell. The Mono Project MonoTouch tooling allows developers to write .NET-compatible applications for the iPhone and iPad platforms. And I can't help but think that Apple's edit must have pleased managers in the Developer Division at Microsoft, which has worked overtime to welcome developers to its Windows Phone 7 platform.

So when Apple caved last month and re-opened the doors to non-native development, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. It was clear that the ban had created a firestorm of ill will among developers and had handed an important competitive advantage to both Microsoft and the fast-growing Android platform. Even with all the advantages Apple owns with its mobile platforms, surely it could not afford to anger the dev community this way.

Apple, in announcing the loosened restrictions, said: "We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart."

My question is, how could Apple have not known what developers would say in the first place? Tell me what you think: [email protected].

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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