How would you answer the following question:
Do software developers write software for Windows because
a) Windows is REALLY cool and hip
b) Microsoft creates a great environment in which to write applications
c) 90% of all PC users use Windows
d) Microsoft understands and looks after 3rd party software developers
e) Windows users understand that paying for software provides much needed support for their favourite tools and utilities
My answer: “f) All of the above (except a)”.
What’s my point? Well, it’s a convoluted answer to numerous, very complimentary, requests to port FileLocator Pro to the Mac. Usually I reply something along the lines of “We don’t have the resources to support multiple platforms with minimal market share”. But it’s not as simple as that.
For all of Microsoft’s faults it has always understood one very important thing. Look after software developers. Microsoft’s support for developers is multi-faceted. Its development tools (such as Visual Studio) are best in class, its help systems are comprehensive, the support communities are (for the most part) welcoming and Microsoft really cares about backwards compatibility.
Microsoft also cares about fostering a strong inclusive 3rd party community listening not only to the large partners but also the smaller partners, as we witnessed first hand when they included us in a recent press release.
This isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ its incredibly important.
Writing software is a HUGE investment with no guaranteed returns. To take that sort of risk you need to know that the organization ultimately responsible for the ecosystem in which you want to live cares about your success and survival.
Which leads me back to the topic on writing software for the Mac. With all the recent press regarding the App Store (I know it’s for the iPhone but it’s still the same company) Apple appears to have a very arrogant attitude to its 3rd party developers. Paul Graham has a good article about it here: http://www.paulgraham.com/apple.html
Don’t get me wrong Apple products are invariably cool. They make you smile, even chuckle, when you use them. Apple users don’t mind paying for software. The Mac market place is big enough for a FileLocator Pro type utility. I would even like for Mythicsoft to write software for the Mac. But, and this is a BIG but, I just don’t trust Apple to look after the ecosystem in which we would need to live. I’m not saying that we won’t write software for the Mac but Apple isn’t making it a no brainer.