Feeds

Microsoft! needs! Yahoo! developers! developers! developers!

Lose the tie, SteveO!

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Analysis The rhetoric surrounding Steve Ballmer's unsolicited $44.6bn offer for Yahoo! will focus on the obvious - the potential market share growth that a Microsoft and Yahoo! tie-up would have against Google.

For all the talk of saving Yahoo! shareholders, Google is uppermost in the Microsoft chief executive's mind, and Microsoft is - once more - trying to buy its way into the internet club having already spent billions to no visible effect.</p

While much will be spoken in the coming weeks and months of synergies, structural integration and the combined market share potential of a Microsoft and Yahoo! marriage, it will be the practical and philosophical decisions that Microsoft takes in relation to maintaining and supporting the Yahoo! Developer Network that will really determine whether this deal becomes a success or whether it's just another merger that barely moves the needle or, worse, sees developers drift away from Yahoo!.

Microsoft has a track record of "not getting" it when it comes to building and supporting online services, from the early days of SGI's mighty Rick Belluzzo taking Microsoft's internet helm to the snotty nosed de-activation of measly-sized Hotmail email accounts,

Even today, having spent billions to challenge Google, Microsoft is pushing a decidedly portal-based strategy akin to Yahoo! while the company's Hotmail growth has stalled out at 270 million "active" accounts, up from 201 million in 2001.

This bodes poorly for both Ballmer's proposed deal and for those millions of programmers and entrepreneurs who are currently using the one thing that Yahoo! has managed to get right: support for developers through the Yahoo! Developer Network.

While Yahoo!'s business and monetary fortunes have foundered and been eclipsed vis-à-vis Google, the company has proved relatively successful in working with third parties to build out its platform. Yahoo! is up there with Google, Amazon and eBay in having realized early on in the web services boom that, to become a successful online service provider, you needed buy in from developers who can extend the platform.

Yahoo! joined its peers by not only making its APIs openly available to third parties, but also in devising toolkits and programs for those working with its APIs to build applications, services and businesses online. These resources are available under Yahoo! Developer Network, while developers have had a number of properties that they can target for deployment - chiefly Yahoo!'s search, mail and messenger.

Despite more than a decade online (and Steve's love for developers), Microsoft has been significantly less adroit at building offerings around its MSN service. MSN has been eclipsed by the company's money spinning offline offerings such as Office and Windows.

If Ballmer wins Yahoo!, then Microsoft could rectify past failings of outreach by taking control of a major channel for communicating to those building online services. Owning the Yahoo! Developer Network would provide a single place for Microsoft to bring the APIs for its own "Live" email, search and collaboration software and services to the attention of a massive audience.

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.