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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Kudos to Microsoft

Like nearly everyone else, I do have some problems and gripes with Microsoft. I don't really dislike them, though, and I have to give them credit when it's due.

I've been researching tools for a couple of different technologies at work lately, and I've been shocked how common royalties are. Maybe that will fly for a huge company that has either a few big clients or the manpower to deal with the royalty issues, but neither case fits us. We're too small to dedicate staff members to handling the details, but we have thousands of sites that we'd have to pay for. No thanks.

What I've been discovering this week is that this sort of hidden overhead for developers is
far more common than I previously knew. Are there a lot of carpenters who have to pay a per-house royalty for their saws and hammers?

So this is what I have to give MS credit for: generally speaking, they make it pretty easy and cheap for developers to use their tools. Yes, Visual Studio and MSDN are notoriously non-cheap, but they are also mercifully free of hidden costs and royalties.

They also provide a range of prices from free to several thousand dollars, depending on the developer's particular needs. I appreciate the non-commercial versions that many companies offer, but if that's the only alternative to the full price (which may be several thousand dollars), then it's a hard sell, especially for startups. And if your website says we have to call or email for a price quote, then you can rest assured that you won't have to worry about having me as a customer, except in extraordinary circumstances.

So, props to Microsoft for making things relatively easy, transparent, predictable, and cheap when compared to other products, especially for startups and small companies.

Tomorrow we'll return you to your normal, everyday random thoughts and MS bashing. ;-)


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