The Inside Word is a weekly feature that looks at industry debates and discussions unfolding on the blogs of employees at digital-media companies.
Poster: Sridhar Vembu
Blog name: Zoho blogs
Backstory: Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Microsoft competed for the attention of the tech press last week with big announcements on the same day: Microsoft relaunched Live Search as Bing, while Google introduced Wave, a communication tool that combines elements of e-mail, document sharing and instant messaging. Vembu, the CEO of web apps company Zoho, uses his company’s blog to explain why as a developer he is backing Wave, even though Google is a Zoho competitor.
Blog Entry: “It comes down to one word: karma,” Vembu writes. “Microsoft just has so much bad karma in this industry that I cannot imagine a company like us trusting them on much of anything.” He goes on to list instances in which he believes Microsoft failed the developer community. He says Microsoft at one point offered Internet Explorer for rival operating systems like Solaris and Linux but pulled them once it had vanquished Netscape. Vembu even questions whether Microsoft will continue to support Silverlight, its media player, on Mac and Linux. “Let’s try to imagine what a Google Silverlight would have been,” he says. “It would have been a fully open-source product from Google, with a very liberal open-source license … And a company like Zoho would have a ton of developers working on Google Silverlight-based applications by now, as opposed to having exactly ZERO developers working on Microsoft Silverlight.”
Postscript: Vembu says that Microsoft could take some basic steps to regain his trust — like supporting web standards for Internet Explorer. Via e-mail, Vembu also says that he’s not flat-out against using Microsoft technology. “We don’t just use Google-backed technologies … we don’t have a problem using Microsoft technologies if they help us serve customers better in a cost-effective way. Our perception is that they are still focused on locking developers and users in, which flies in the face of the general movement in the industry.”
We called Microsoft to get its response to the blog post. “To ensure developers have a choice in development options, we’re working with partners across the industry on projects such as Moonlight, an open-source implementation of Silverlight created by Miguel de Icaza, and the Eclipse Tools for Microsoft Silverlight Project being developed by Soyatec,” says Brad Becker, the director of rich client platforms at Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT). “Microsoft has a long history of engaging with the developer community and we will continue to listen to their feedback to deliver the best tools and platforms.”
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