Some things to keep in mind:

  • Visual Studio is a profit center. There's nothing inherently noble about Microsoft offering the Visual Studio Express editions for free (heck, remember they were not meant to be free at the beginning); it's just another way to get people to buy the more expensive Visual Studio editions.
    It used to be in the past that the purpose of the developer division at Microsoft was to attract legions of developers to the Microsoft platform. Not anymore. See, they already got legions of developers on it. If a few leave now and then, they probably don't even notice. That purpose is, then, obsolete, and now they need to actually make money of it, because it's not increasing revenue in the platform space anymore. We're now in the "milk them for all they're worth" business.[1]
  • Microsoft doesn't like it when other people make them look bad and realize everyone else is noticing how petty and short-sighted they're being.
  • There are a lot of fantastic people within Microsoft who realize the value of an empowered and committed community. There are a lot of fantastic people within Microsoft who realize agile methods and open source tools are an important part of the ecosystem that benefit users of Microsoft software and developers on the MS platform greatly. But they might be fighting a losing battle where their own War Machine is their biggest enemy.

I think we're now in a very interesting time; so stick around to see what's coming...

[1] There's nothing inherently bad about this, either. One could hope that becoming self-sustained would be a good test for the developer division, but so far, results have been a bit disappointing, to say the least.

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Tomas Restrepo

Software developer located in Colombia.