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Microsoft Sets Tolls for .Net Developers

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  • Smaller developers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by izwiz (444693) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @07:44AM (#2471358)
    Interesting. What they are doing then is creating a bar to smaller (perhaps hobbyist) developers.

    That just means that less cool stuff will be produced then I suppose.
    • > Interesting. What they are doing then is
      > creating a bar to smaller (perhaps hobbyist)
      > developers.

      Gee... Like those 1337 script-kiddies, for instance? Damn, I always liked their cool tools...

      Maybe now they'll have to charge for their distribution of Nimda v2.0. Would be a shame, because then they would get my credit card number as well...

      > That just means that less cool stuff will be
      > produced then I suppose.

      Seriously: It *can* improve the quality of software delivered on windoze, because not every redneck cracker will be able to spread his buggy code. So it might be a good idea for commercial solutions, where businesses actually can afford and want to pay for the software they use.

      For all others, they should have switched to a free OS of their choice long ago... Hope there's not software piracy going on out there, is there? ;o)

      Anyway: it was long way back that I saw cool stuff running only on windoze...

      Lars
      • This "bar to entry", the costs involved in getting started, are why I never learned to develope for Windows .. The tools are too expensive. When I descovered Linux, I was amazed at the quality of the compiler and dev tools, and was able to learn and practice coding without spending any money. Now I consider myself a resonable confident developer for Unix, but have no clue how to write a Windows app. If Microsoft wants to continue having lots of software, they should be doing whatever possible to attract new developers, not make them jump through hoops and spend lots of money.
    • by Tadeusz (131593) <mail@@@gregharris...net> on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @09:32AM (#2471748) Homepage
      I think they are embracing smaller developers. If you want to code and you have notepad then you'll be able to use the free C# (and maybe VB) compilers available from the MS website. Once you become more serious then you can purchase a good development enviroment off them (or grab the free one that someone will build).

      If Microsoft posted an article this misleading about Linux people would be jumping up and down shouting FUD!! FUD!!... Maybe it should be changed to point out what this fee is really for?
      • by jguthrie (57467)
        I'm sorry, I'm having cognitive dissonance over the idea that there are Windows developers who would be willing to develop applications in Notepad. Most Windows programmers I know cannot conceive of using anything other than a fully-blown IDE with all the bells and whistles. They seem to think that there is no way to develop anything at all using the style I use (Emacs or Vi, command-line compilers, and make.)

        So, it doesn't seem to me to be FUD. Nobody familiar with Windows programming is going to even consider using such a "primitive" development "environment" as worthy of their time.

    • by Zico (14255) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @01:18PM (#2473121)

      What Microsoft is charging for is for developers to hook into the .NET MyServices (formerly Hailstorm). That's because to use them, you'll be using Microsoft's own resources, i.e., Microsoft's bandwidth and servers. I think most people by now realize that the business model of giving this away for free is just about dead.


      If you're developing apps that don't use .NET MyServices, there's no charge. You can download the .NET Framework SDK for free and write your programs in Notepad if you want. This includes standalone apps, server apps, and even web services -- just not .NET MyServices.


      Unless Slashdot is just interested in shoving FUD down the throat of all its readers -- and I would hope you'd consider it an insult to your intelligence that they would do this -- they really should correct the story submission.

  • by DavidpFitz (136265)
    Sounds like a fair game to me...

    They obviously think .NET is strong enough to warrant this -- and if you think it's rubbish, then they're only shooting themself in the foot!

    Seriously though -- in a way it's better than giving it away with copies of Visual Studio .NET because then every second web site out there would be Passport authenticated etc... Hell, raise the price to $500,000!!!!!

  • by pointym5 (128908) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @07:45AM (#2471362)
    ... in the war to drive out small-scale developers in favor of well-controlled large corporate entities. People paying that much money for the privilege of developing software are very likely to be quite aggressive in convincing themselves that they're happy. And note that much of the fees here will come from big fat IT budgets for internal application development. CIOs just want an empire like anybody else, and this sort of thing really fuels the fires.
    • Moreover, I think this is an incentive to drive out freeware and open-source developers. Who's going to spend $250/$1500 on something that's not going to make them a penny in return? The big benefit to this for MS is that fw/o-s often provides functionality that they would rather not let you have, or that they would rather charge you for (my fav. current example is Virtual Network Computing 3.3.3r7 [cnet.com], which -- for free -- does everything that PCAnywhere does).

      Yah know what though? It's going to KILL them in the web market. They think I'm going to include the web-based version of .Net calendar on my little site? Think again. JSP is still free, and ColdFusion ain't so much. I don't care how many dorks still use FrontPage, they're going to drop it like a hot potato when they realize they have to cough up for using widget X.
      • Yeah, I agree. You'd think companies would learn from the past and not do their best to shut hobbyist developers out. I'm sure MS would love to take this concept to the extremes... and chate per widget or module as you suggested. I can see it now: A user starts up a game and it bails immediately with the message "This software cannot be run until the susbcription to the for loop on line 145 is renewed please go to www.microsoft.com to renew".
      • Moreover, I think this is an incentive to drive out freeware and open-source developers.
        What it will really do is just drive them off the Win32 platform. Onto Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, whatever becomes of Be, QNX, or even Solaris. No more Emacs on Microsoft OS's. No more Active State Perl. Or Tcl/Tk. or Python. or Apache. (yipe.)

        The only problem with this is that for those that don't jump ship before Microsoft finally cuts people off and forces them to "upgrade" to XP (they've slipped that date what, twice now?) there aren't going to be any transition tools (like Apache on Win32) to help them wean themselves from their pay software addiction; it's going to be cold turkey...

        The solution for that is for people like Miguel to be writing tools in the other direction, that run on Linux (etc., I just don't want to type the whole list :) but take Microsoft-format data and configs (in Win2k or less format; XP, natch, will be verboten to us). A lot of this we already have. We already have a lot of things that grok Word and Excel files. Cold Fusion is being ported; the server engine itself is already there. There is an ASP migration tool whose name escapes me. We need to flesh out the suite; hell, maybe somebody could specialize in a distro full of migration tools (Samba enabled by default with a good user/printer migration tool, etc.).

        In short, instead of bitching about yet another Microsoft screwup, we should use some business judo and make it work to our advantage. Join Larry and Scott and Steve and Lou in watering Bill's feet of clay, as it were. Soon, kids, very soon.

        --
        And on the pedestal these words appear:
        "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
        Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
        Nothing beside remains.
        -- Shelley

  • by joshv (13017) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @07:45AM (#2471365)
    One of the reason that so many people are now using Windows 9x/ME/2000 is that Microsoft bascially gave away their SDK back in the days of Win 3.x, while IBM was looking to their OS/2 SDK as part of their revenue model, and charging accordingly.

    I would have thought Microsoft learned a valuable lesson back then.

    -josh
  • And Sun ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rainer_d (115765)
    Can sombody post a comparison ?
    Java Developer Essentials is about 50 USD per year, IIRC.
    But what else do you get for 1000 USD ? Or 10000 ?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    They want us to pay at least $250 per .Net service used in an application? Why bother? Nimda installs for free.
  • my eyes just glaze over when i see microsoft's revenue and restriction plans.

    it's something i've come to expect and pass over. pretty soon the whole world should be getting numb to microsoft, and when people get numb to something, that something starts losing any appeal it might ever have had.

    can you say ibm?

    the article from a couple days ago about microsoft going the ibm way (existing but not cutting edge) is being fulfilled with every developer's rolling eyes.

    ~A
  • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @07:52AM (#2471390) Homepage
    Developing centralized authentications system - 5 mil

    Building and connecting the required datacenters - 250 mil

    Preventing Hackers from gaining access - unknown (but don't worry, they didn't pay this one)

    Having it cracked less than a day after it's release, which will cost million after million to your customers - PRICLESS

  • Incentive \In*cen"tive\, a. [L. incentivus, from incinere to strike up or set the tune; pref. in- + canere to sing. See Enchant, Chant.]

    1. Inciting; encouraging or moving; rousing to action;
    stimulative.

    It would appear that Microsoft is not seeing the numbers they would like in Office XP sales. They have the audacity to host a media extravaganza including Madonna in New York to hoopla WinXP, despite recent events (they want to "show the world that America is still doing business"... that costs money... they are launching Xbox next month. That will cost money. the economy is bad, and people are keeping both hands on their wallets...

    I may be wrong here... but it looks to me like i am seeing a sick company...

    Desperation \Des`per*a"tion\, n. [L. desperatio: cf. OF.desperation.]
    1. The act of despairing or becoming desperate; a giving up
    of hope.

    2. A state of despair, or utter hopeless; abandonment of
    hope; extreme recklessness; reckless fury.

    • Uhhh... "sick company"? Check their latest 10Q for the amount of cash on hand. (Hint: it is in the billions, and the number rhymes with "dirty pix".) They can afford to have a massive marketing budget, even when IT budgets are shrinking and consumers seem to have stopped spending. When their cash level drops below, oh say $20b, then you can start worrying...
  • by gburgyan (28359) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @07:53AM (#2471394) Homepage
    This is not MS trying to inflict a toll on development -- this is MS trying to make money by selling a service. The .NET My Services is a service that interfaces with MSN Messanger to allow instant communication with your users and also authentication. Seriously people, every time MS charges for something it becomes news on slash...

    The last company [cardinalcommerce.com] I was working for was going to authenticate financial transactions. Let me tell you that they were not going to do it for free. How is this any different? Or maybe the phone company charging for setting up your phone lines and billing your company monthly?

    MS is charging for a service and you can choose to use it or not.

    Perhaps the open source community can get together and create a distributed authentication system to compete with it.

    • The libertyproject alliance is attempting to do just that. Sun Cisco IBM (basically every big tech firm except microsoft)

      projectliberty.org
    • In fact, they are creating something: .GNU [dotgnu.org] (or dotGNU ;-)
      It's a decentralized system but with the same functionality as .NET/hailstorm/myservices/otherBS
      check it out,
    • I fully agree. This is another example of an irresponsible and misleading submission for the purpose of sensationalism. Of course MS is going to charge for a valuable service you can plug into your applications. If you don't want to pay for it, or you don't trust MS to host critical parts of your app, then don't buy it! It's all XML based, so write your own components.

      I'm not sure if MS has released pricing on Visual Studio.NET.. Whatever it is, I'm sure it won't be far off of their current VS pricing. One thing you'll never see is MS making developers SUBSCRIBE to Visual Studio.. they know their customers, and they know that nobody would stand for that. If you had to pay a monthly fee just to run VS in order to revise your app, developers would jump ship.

      When someone simply refers to .NET, I tend to think of the core development tools of the .NET initiative.. that is, the common language runtime along with the framework class library, and individual languages such as C# and VB.NET. You'd have to be crazy to tell someone, "If you don't pay up this month, your C# compiler will break." Gimme a break, developers can't have that.
      • There's the problem I have with Microsoft pushing towards software as a service. If they know they they wouldn't want to pay for development tools monthly, and none of the ISVs want to do it, why do they assume that everyone else will want to transition to a monthly fee for all of their other software?

        It seems to me that you can only force customers into accepting software as a service when you are as big as MS. Any other vendor would be abandoned quite quickly. However, everyone has made themselves vulnerable by relying on MS software so much; they are going to be stuck with it eventually.

        Predative, anti-consumer monopoly anyone?
    • People seem not to have noticed Ximian's [ximian.com] rival project called Mono [go-mono.com]. It's a Good Thing they're doing there, imho - even if it is miles away from being a .net rival at the moment...

      Mong.
    • Let me tell you that they were not going to do it for free. How is this any different?

      I keep seeing this over and over - the DIFFERENCE is the Msft is a monopoly using dominance in one market to extend their influence in other markets, just as if they were the only cable company in town wanted to go into, say, auto sales and would only air THEIR car commercials on the tv. The problem with monopolies is what sets the price. If there are two auto dealers naturally people are going to shop between the two to get the best bargain which keeps the dealers operating efficient. If there is ONLY ONE CHOICE, in this case to get on the .NET bandwagon, the supplier can regulate their own price for their own profits, screw the consumer. They can offer a low, low introductory price to get many developers signed up, and after they are two years committed on down the primrose path the prices go UP and they make yet another windfall.

      There's an amusing story behing how the Strowger automatic telephone switch system started - Strowger ran a funeral parlor and got suspicious when the competition down the street started getting all the business. It turned out that the phone operator was in cahoots with the competing parlor and was send all requests for funeral services THEIR way. Strowger got busy and developed an AUTOMATIC telephone switch so customers could look up a number in a phone book and make their own damn choice, w/o some techno-tomfoolery making it for them. see http://www.webuildphonesystems.com/history.htm for a referance to this story.
  • Online banking?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nullset (39850)
    The story mentioned online banking two or three times. I will NEVER use the same password for bank accounts that i would use for hotmail, much less the same authentication service.

    Converging things like that is bad, mkay?

    --buddy
    • Re:Online banking?? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Tadeusz (131593)
      For banking website (and other sites that require more security) you'd log on with your passport and a seperate pin. From passport.com:

      "Participating sites that require a more secure authentication process can use this feature to optionally:

      * Require that all aspects of sign-in occur over SSL.

      * Require the user to supply a second password in the form of a 4-digit personal identification number (PIN) that Passport manages. The use of the PIN, which is required in addition to the user's current password, results in a higher level of credential strength. In addition, the PIN is protected more rigorously against dictionary attacks."
  • There are on-going charges on top of that too, of up to $1000 per application developed. I expect there is a $POA license for unlimited applications as well that the big service companies will go for. Microsoft really has a thing going for generating income through licensing at the moment doesn't it?

    I suppose that's one way of dealing with the industry downturn in the hope of keeping your shareholders happy. It'll be interesting to see how well it fares in real life of course...

    GPL: Free to download, free to upgrade, free to use next year, but you may need to pay for support.
    MS: Pay to have delivered, pay to upgrade, pay to use next year, and you will have to pay for support.

    Well, my cash-strapped industry-downturn budget's made up it's mind...

  • Don't compare (Score:2, Interesting)

    by saqmaster (522261)
    I think these prices are fair for what you're getting.. You have to actually look at what it is you're getting, rather than instantly comparing it to other things, like open source.

    Personally, I believe that if something is good enough, it is worth paying for. Look at Hotmail, the largest free online email service - it's a pretty good deal, it's never down really and you get a lot of features.. Now if you wanted to implement this kind of service into a more corporate environment, surely you'd expect to pay for it?

    The extra charges for customized solutions and support - what's the problem with that? Anyone in the market for purchasing bespoke solutions would budget for obtaining a customized product and excellent support services - I know that there are hundreds, probably thousands of companies out there making bespoke solutions that charge an absolute fortune for it, and then totally extortionate the client when it comes to post-sale support..

    I think Microsoft are getting their shit together with this and do have a good focus on the future. With the failings of the dotcom model, someone needs to start using the web for just more than a bunch of websites offering resources and to put this emmence network to some practical use.. .NET/Hailstorm/MyServices is a new business idea which is benefiting from the Internet and will offer companies a good service..

    Yeah, Sun may try and compete. They may try and compete against Passport. True, Passport isn't widely used on 3rd party websites - but with the integration with .NET - this intergration count will surely go up.

    And at the end of the day, you're not being forced into using it. You can still go off and use whatever technologies and platform you wish. You may opt to not pay for such services, but if I went to a garage to get my car serviced and was told it was free, i'd be rather dubious about the quality...
    • Re:Don't compare (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rknop (240417) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @08:09AM (#2471454) Homepage

      With the failings of the dotcom model, someone needs to start using the web for just more than a bunch of websites offering resources and to put this emmence network to some practical use.

      Where does this assumption come from that if big companies aren't making money off of it, the net is not being of practical use? I just don't get it. Yes, I can see why companies would want to find a way to make the web useful for business. What I don't get is why all of us as a whole world population should think that this is necessary for the web to be useful. I send lots of E-mail; I find scientific preprints online; I can easily post information that people across the world can see; I download huge quantities of free software to run personal and professonal workstations; I order some books and computer hardware online. All of these things are of tremedous use to me, but by and large only the infrastructure providers are profiting off of it. Why should we think that the web isn't of any use right now just because, as one self-styled luminary noted, it isn't obeying some basic rules of business?

      Mind you, if companies do find ways to make money off if it, I don't begrudge that... IF (1) I'm not forced into using it (and with M$ behind passport, I bet it will get very difficult for me to do the sort of online commerce I've done in the pass without giving into it, which will piss me off), and if (2) the great elements about the open web which is a "collection of websites" right now don't go away (and the entertainment industry very much wants them to go away in order to turn the internet into the next TV so that they can more easily make money off of it). I'm not anti-business, but I really would like the internet and the web to keep some of the great features it has right now.

      -Rob

      • Where does this assumption come from that if big companies aren't making money off of it, the net is not being of practical use?

        Economies of scale. If corporates are regularly buying lots of of something, then the price of it comes down for everyone else too. You can get a PC for under a thousand dollars today... the price wasn't driven there by hobbyists, it was driven there by massive corporations signing deals for 50,000 units so the manufacturers could take advantage of economies of scale, which they in turn passed on to consumers.

        Why do you think the airlines are hurting so much right now? It's because large corporations are cutting back on business travel... it will result in a round of cost cutting, some airlines will go out of business, but if the corporations don't start travelling again, air travel for the consumer will go up. In any commodity market, margins are thing and you make money on volume. If there's no volume, there's no market, apart from at the expensive, bespoke end. Here endeth the lesson.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Alot. MS was built on piracy: DOS, Win 3.1, Win95, Visual [anything], etc. All heavily pirated. How many programmers traded compilers among each other in high school and college? Most, I'm sure. I know I got my pascal, Quickbasic, and several C++ compilers from friends. I also gave copies to other friends. I only bought 1 version of dos, never bought windows until 95. Why do people pirate? Look at the price of software. What'll happen if .NET stuff has workable copy protection? It'll flop. Free (pirated or otherwise) or very cheap is REQUIRED to start a new "standard". You need young geeks to work with it, grow with it, learn it, etc.

  • Make note that this is a subscription, not just a flat, one-time fee. This looks like the beginning of Microsloth's relationship with everyone's wallet.
  • I see things like this, and my first reaction is that it confirms my biases that Miguel de Icaza et al. have gone completely off their rocker by thinking that they can work with Microsoft and support .NET using Mono or anything else developed as true free or open source software.

    How does this affect Mono anyway? Will somebody have to cough up in order to develop Mono? While, sure, Ximian could pay, what happens when Ximian does an Eazel? Nautilus is still with us; if Mono is open source, it would still be with us too, except then who has to pay? Or does M$ then sue the entire open source community for working on a .NET application without anybody paying the fees? Or do we really believe that somehow Mono is going to have unfettered access to the APIs it needs without having to pay?

    Or would it only be the users of Mono who had to pay the fees?

    The lesson I personally would take from this is "stay away." The free software community would do much better to come up with its own solution to the need (if there is one) that .NET is addressing, rather than trying to support the .NET platform. Honestly, if we don't want to hand over all final control of all computing and web standards to Microsoft, we need to be doing everything we can right now to (at best) make them irrelevant, or (at worst) keep just enough of a competing presence in there that open standards can't be summarily ignored.

    -Rob

    • I see things like this, and my first reaction is that it confirms my biases that Miguel de Icaza et al. have gone completely off their rocker by thinking that they can work with Microsoft and support .NET using Mono or anything else developed as true free or open source software.

      Mono has nothing to do with .NET My Services a.k.a. Hailstorm. Miguel said as much when I interviewed him for Slashdot [slashdot.org] and the same thing is on the Mono FAQ page [go-mono.com].

      Mono is a development platform, .NET My Services are web services provided by Microsoft. What exactly makes you thing there is any relationship at all?
      • Mono is a development platform, .NET My Services are web services provided by Microsoft. What exactly makes you thing there is any relationship at all?

        From the About Us [ximian.com] page on the Ximian website, "...announced Mono Project, a community initiative to develop an open source, Linux-based version of the Microsoft.NET development platform."

        It's little statements like that that make stupid people like me think Mono might just have something to do with .NET.

        The FAQ you point at claims that Mono has nothing to do with Passport-- although I think my questions still stand. Would users have to pay if they use Mono to hook into passport? (Presumably yes.) Would Mono developers have to pay if Mono had the capacity to hook into Passport? (No clue).

        That FAQ doesn't say a damn thing about "My Services", whatever that is. The article says something about creating applications which can hook into "My Services." Is this going to include anything that uses the .NET API (that thing which Mono is emulating)? Again, I don't know. Saying "Mono has nothing to do with .NET My Services" doesn't even come close to addressing any of the questions I ask. Indeed since Mono trumpets itself as a replacement of some of the things in .NET, it's only natural to ask how Mono is affected when there is an article about licensing fees of some portion of .NET (particularly if the vocabulary is not the same as what's in the Mono FAQ).

        -Rob

  • How much does it cost to sign up as a Linux developer?

    *snicker*
  • Microsoft will be losing brainshare like crazy. The colleges that still teach microsoft technologies will now get yet another good reason to toss out Microsoft technologies. Mine taught us assembler and some pretty interesting details about NT in OS class. That was about it.

    And look where it got me. A great job programming a credit card fraud detection system using Linux, Mysql and Perl. A competitor didn't believe his own eyes when he saw the performance on our solution. He implemented using .NET.

    Anyhow - just say no, kids. And if you mention the $1000 price tag, your manager will be more likely to say go ahead if you propose using open technologies. They are getting pretty fed up with Microsoft licensing.

    That wasn't coherent. I hope some parts were slightly informative.
    • That wasn't coherent. I hope some parts were slightly informative.

      Not really, because the article refers to MS's .Net services, not the development environment. You can write applications with visual studio .Net that don't use the services (primarily distributed authentication). You're getting the two confused. You don't even have to use VS .Net since you can download the CLR and compiler for free. Blame Microsoft for creating the blurry line between their own services and their development environment-- there really is a distinction though.
  • Oh, pay attention... (Score:2, Informative)

    by aziraphale (96251)
    This is about the cost of becoming a corporate partner for use of My Services (that's what they now call HailStorm, if you weren't paying attention).

    The actual cost of developing for .NET? That'll be a big fat zero, over and above the cost of your Windows licence (although once the BSD port has happened, that'll wipe out that little overhead.

    Download the .NET platform SDK, and you'll find you get the CLR, the framework libraries, the compilers, and all the command line tools you need to play with .NET.

    And that'll cost you nothing. no-thing.

    Yeah, VS.NET will cost you hard earned cash. So will a Windows server licence or two for hosting. But even MS isn't stupid enough to create a barrier for entry so high that nobody jumps over it at all.
  • I wonder if they'll sell me just the exploitable bits? :{)
  • Giveaway as in "Reveal what's up" and not as in "Here ya go, buddy, have one on me":

    "I think the numbers are quite reasonable. The applications are putting a load on us," Muglia said. "These numbers are barely covering (our costs)...We're not making money with these numbers. We want to make it as friction-free as possible to adopt this new platform."

    Despite some opinions here, $250 is not a lot for a small developer to pay for a year's certification. Look at Sun's licensing scheme. I have no trouble believing MS aren't maknig a penny and may even be losing money on the scheme right now. What did IE development cost them and was it worth it to own the browser market? Lots, and yes. They're very good at this game.

    Think about what's going on: MS want to make it easy for developers. They're offering low prices to get a lot of companies to accept and adopt quickly. Consider IE: "Warn if Site Certificate Invalid" and "Notify if certificate has been revoked" are standard options and default on.

    Once MS can get to critical mass with .NET and their certiication, your mother-in-law is only going to use MS-certified apps. MS will control the content and the prices will then change to ensure a steady profit stream. This is fairly close to a give-away as it stands, and it meshes with the browser they give away already, and which they have set the way they want it.

    Microsoft have added an "E" to their formula: Embrace, Extend, Entrench, Extinguish.

    woof.

    How am I ever going to beat what's-his-name's "Green Eggs and Hamlet" sig?!

  • Microsoft says customers who sign up for .Net My Services, expected to debut in full next year, can expect to eventually get one-step access to electronic documents, contact lists and calendars; instant alerts on stock changes, weather forecasts and flight delays; and automated transactions, such as online banking, ticket purchases and stock trades, from Microsoft and its partners.

    I get all of these things for free from various places around the net. In a lot of cases, there are even places that will give me one stop shopping ... My Yahoo! comes to mind. Why does M$ think they can get me to pay for this?
    Oh, yeah, I use a Mac and Linux. I couldn't pay for them if I wanted to.
  • MS isn't charging you to develop .NET apps (minus the cost of IDE which you don't need either if you are inclined), they are charging you to use their MyServices stuff (passport, etc) which I think is perfectly reasonable.
  • by pubjames (468013) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @08:23AM (#2471500)
    What I don't understand about Microsoft's .NET strategy is

    a) Where is the evidence of demand for it?
    b) What are the benefits for the customer?

    I regularly buy flights on the net, also books. I tend to use the same companies each time. They have my details, I just need to select the product I require and click the accept button. I know that my info. only resides with them, and I trust them not to spread it around.

    Where does .NET fit into this?

    I am imagining going to a web site, say Amazon. The site asks me "Can Amazon access your hobby list to make recommendations?" Er, sorry, no it can't. "Can Amazon access your calendar so we can find when your birthday is?". Er, nope. "Can Amazon access your address book so we can tell your friends about our great products?" Absolutely not. "Can Amazon access your job profile so we can suggest some business books?". No, and stop asking the dumb questions. The answer is no.

    There are lots of, for instance, on-line calendar services available, which can be accessed from any web enabled device or WAP phone. Do people use them that much? What would Microsoft provide that I can't already get? And would it be worth paying for?

    Please, someone tell me, I'm dying to know. What is the benefit to me, Joe Consumer, of .NET???
    • I'm imagining something a little scarier. Going to a website, say A(MS)azon. The site says, "Based on the hobby list I just accessed, here are some recommendations." "Happy birthday, Dan! I just read your calendar through Passport/.NET and found out it's your birthday!" "Here are some business books based on your job profile..." etc. Why should they bother to ask, once MS controls the whole (.)net?
      Of course, that would never work for me, since I will never have a Passport/.NET/M$ account/identity. But would that then mean that I would no longer be able to use the (.)net for anything besides reading news on Slashdot?

      Dan Aris
      • The problem as I see it is that nobody is going to tell Microsoft what they need to know in order to make .NET useful (to marketeers). And not just because they are Microsoft, but I think that most people are wary about giving any personal info.:

        Imagine these scenarios:

        a) a telesales person phones you and asks for your date of birth. Average person responds "Go away annoying person!".

        b) a rep. comes to your front door and asks your date of birth. Response "P** off".

        c) you get a mailshot asking for your date of birth. Response - in the bin.

        d) you want to buy a product from a web site. It asks your date of birth. Response: 1/1/1970.

        Do they seriously believe that people are going to give them that info?
        • by revscat (35618) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @10:54AM (#2472116) Journal

          d) you want to buy a product from a web site. It asks your date of birth. Response: 1/1/1970.
          Do they seriously believe that people are going to give them that info?

          Yes, they do. And people will.

          I have been involved in setting up several web ventures; a handful of them were even successful. One project I was working on involved credit scoring with hooks into buying insurance and such. Before setting off on this we did some research on how willing people would be to become a part of this, seeing as how it required more than the usual amount of personal information. The company we outsourced the research to came back with some truly unexpected results: over 60% of the respondents either were willing to give their information, or didn't have strong feelings against it. Only around 25% of the people we surveyed responded negatively.

          Remember, this was information such as social security number, credit history, mother's maiden name, and so forth -- the most personal of information. This took us completely by surprise; we were fully expecting this to be a major hurdle to overcome.

          Eventually the effort was killed not by lack of market potential, but by legislation prohibiting the distribution of such information directly to the consumer. (This was backed largely by the credit reporting agencies and their lobbies.)

          So do I beleive that .NET will be successful? Absoultely. If it offers even the most trivial of benefits to consumers, they will flock to it like cattle to the slaughter.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I am imagining going to a web site, say Amazon. The site asks me "Can Amazon access your hobby list to make recommendations?" Er, sorry, no it can't. "Can Amazon access your calendar so we can find when your birthday is?". Er, nope. "Can Amazon access your address book so we can tell your friends about our great products?" Absolutely not. "Can Amazon access your job profile so we can suggest some business books?". No, and stop asking the dumb questions. The answer is no.

      What makes you think they will ask? Clippy, retired from irritating users, will be trying to compile all of those things to give to whoever wants to tap the information. You can bet all of that crap will be stored on your hard drive in some file that will crash the OS if removed. Why build a four terrabyte database on your victims when you can make them do it for you.

      The most disgusting thing about this is that it may work. M$ will continue to twist the arms of big vendors to maintain the stupid Windoze only OS sales, and they will break their old OSs. Joe sixpacks will either quit buying computers (like he already has), or he will migrate eventually. Getting my own wife to use anything but windoze was like pulling teeth, though she understood why. If the greedheads see the migration working, they will try to tap it. They are all licking their chops.

      If M$ can't collect my information at home, they have me at work. Service packs and "upgrades" have been adding privacy invasion tools on our NT machines for years. Think Outlook, MSIE 5, remote desktops, bleh. Soon the company will be putting up a ton of money for Win2k, which has yet to be tested with more than 150 company applications. XP has been prove to break Word templates, so more costs will be incured there on thousands of broken documents. But it's worth it, right? Gotta keep current.

      -Twitter.

    • It gets even better.

      Joe! I will pay you $5 to take a survey about your Xbox and to let me see which games you play on it. Don't worry. This will be kept confidential in accordance with my "privacy policy" which says I can share it with all my business partners.

      Joe! I see that you have an UltimateTV. Congratulations ! With your permission, I can access your viewing and recording history in order to provide you with a better Internet experience. I'll even throw in a 20% discount off your first purchase! Would you like that?
    • "Can Amazon access your..."

      Unless, of course, they default everything to YES. We all know how Joe Sixpack changes the default anything...
  • .NET "Entry-Level" subscription
    Subscription: $1000 per year.
    Cost per application: $250

    .NET "Standard" subscription
    Subscription: $10,000 per year.
    Cost per application: $1500

    Linux
    Subscription: $0 per life
    Cost per application: $0
    I don't get it, is this for support on your product you are developing? What about a university or a person making a program on their free time? There's no way some high school kid is going to pay $1250 to hack around on some code while learning C.
  • by mav[LAG] (31387) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @08:31AM (#2471523)
    Microsoft's business right now is selling millions of CDs with the same code on it to as many customers as they can. There are multi-billion dollar niceties like marketing and getting existing customers to buy newer versions of the code but ultimately Microsoft's core business is to get as many of those discs out the door and installed onto customers' hardware - by whatever channel they can.

    .NET and its components represent a shift away from this. A huge shift. Instead of selling code, the company wants to sell services. And when you sell services, a lot of things change about your business model which can be very painful while you're trying to make the move.

    • Services are different from boxed product. Well doh. But more than one IT company has been bitten by that in the past. Charging for a service means customers generally demand that service from you. If they don't get it, they go elsewhere. And on the Web, there are plenty of places to go - most of them for free.
    • Offering services means your infrastructure has to change - radically. Instead of a finely tuned assembly line turning out the latest products, a services-based business must offer the best infrastructure in the game to customers. Don't believe me? Then check out the unique selling points of any systems integrator you can think of. Our Global Network Brings Economies of Scale! We Will Manage Your Infrastructure! Does Microsoft have the reputation for security and reliability that goes with running an infrastructure? Not at the moment. Not even nearly.
    • There are limits to the economies of scale in a services business that aren't there in a software business. As one of the linked articles says, Microsoft has many millions of Windows users out there, but hardly any monthly billing relationships with any of them. It has to find some way of getting to that ideal, but it will find that selling millions of CDs is a very different proposition to selling millions of relationships - because that's what it is. Sure you can wrap it all up in words like Convenience and Access Anytime Anywhere but a service contract is a relationship. It takes post-sale time and effort - something which Microsoft will have to learn because the company doesn't know a hell of a lot about it now.
    • Services represent a trust relationship - packaged software often represents a grudge relationship The lock-in of Windows can be very easily side-stepped in a services model. Don't like the service? Don't sign up for it. Don't like the levels of service you got last month? Don't pay for them. Or go somewhere else.


    Make no mistake - moving from a boxed product model to a services-based model is hard, whether you are a small dealer or Microsoft Corp. And often the two have clashing priorities. At the moment Microsoft spends hundreds of millions making sure its channel works hard at getting product out to the end user. If they ultimately want to move to services-based revenue and electronic upgrades, the channel could well find itself out in the cold eventually.
  • Don't you guys see the scheme? Sure, a place to get your weather, stock quotes, etc is all available on the web for free now, who needs .NET????

    Until its available to businesses, and all those place that offer free-everything realize they can start charging people for it after paying a $1000 fee to Microsoft. The other scenario is that even if only a minor percentage of people sign up for .NET, the "free" sites lose that advertising revenue.

  • Not only will they be setting tolls for developers, but I'll bet you there will be a charge for every transaction that happens on .net. As Microsoft's stated goal is for every economic transaction that occorus on the Internet to go through .net, this means that there will be an unavoidable Microsoft tax on every internet financial transaction. The Microsoft tax on computers will have become a Microsoft tax on everything. They will have successfully have challenged the government's monopoly role in collecting unavoidable taxes.
    • If .NET using companies have to raise their prices because Microsoft is charging them more all the way down the chain, then great. That means my company which is not using .NET can charge less and thus become even more attractive to the end consumer.

      Honestly, I think that Microsoft will have grabbed a total world monopoly in anything to do with computers by 2010. OS, hardware, network, payments, authentication, subscriptions... everything. And people will pay heavily - Microsoft may charge $250 per application at the moment, but when they have the developers tied in and trapped, that will be $2000pa. Transactions may start at 2% of transaction value, but in a few years that will be 5%, then 10%.

      Competition is good. Make Linux and other free operating systems great. Make them compete on both the desktop and as wonderful integrated servers that are easy to program using simple, easy languages. Improve the paradigm of the internet (uh oh, dilbert time) by having web browsers that can not only load a web page, but can dynamically update that page as a bit of new data arrives (e.g., a new post on /. would appear in the correct place at the time it was posted - no reloading necessary). It doesn't have to be .NET, it can be better, and it can happen sooner, and it can be safe, secure and reliable.

  • by IntelliTubbie (29947) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @08:55AM (#2471606)
    Dear God, what are they? Some kind of proprietary software company??? Next I bet you're going to tell me that the license has restrictions in it!

    Cheers,
    IT
  • by Otis_INF (130595) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @09:12AM (#2471668) Homepage
    If you have your own server with the .net runtime, you don't need to pay this fee, since you don't use the My Services service. If you want to store your service at their site, or/and you want to use their services, thus build f.e. a shell around the functionality they provide, you have to pay for the usage of these services, like you have to pay for the cable TV services you get.

    Alternatively, other companies will be providing the same services for perhaps less or free. All you really need is a .NET runtime and VS.net. So stop crying this fee is for building .net applications.
  • Now I get why Microsoft would be eager to get this into Linux, and every other viable competitor. .Net isn't about just web services. It is about programs. You can be charged $5/month for a backup program after 30 days. Of $2/month for extra calendar features. Or $1/month for an online backup of your config files.

    If *just* Windows goes into renting software, then the Linux community has a GREAT advantage. Why? People absolutely HATE having the meter running. Any service which has a flat rate, when reasonably priced and sometimes even slightly more expensive, will ALWAYS win the consumer. It is a historical truth.
    If only Windows adopts .Net, and the renting of software, they're writing the first chapter in the mainstreaming of Linux. That is, providing, the Linux community doesn't adopt .Net!

    Seems like it would be a strategic advantage NOT to have software rental on Linux. And this is a plus for the open source community.
  • Opposing Open Source (Score:2, Interesting)

    by heikkile (111814)
    I think it is pretty obvious that one of the main purposes of this move is to exclude Open Source development from this platform. Not many contributors to OS software are willing to pay such amounts, and you can bet there is a clause that prevents people from sharing one MyServices license even inside the same project.
  • This is unbelievable. It would also seem like good news to other aspects of the distributed object market.

    Consider Java/Corba, SOAP and even DCOM if MSFT continues to support it in it's current implementation (I doub it). None of them combined get as much press attention, as .NET ... but might when free-lance writers that drive various e-zines and smaller publications have to ante up $1000 bucks to get their twinky little demo to work.

    And talk about timing, how many cost-cutting/concious companies will want to add as much as $10,000 to the cost of a project. Even at that price, Government contractors are going to think twice.

    It seems to me as of Microsoft is going down the same path of destruction Digital Equipment and IBM traveled when they were kings of their hills. This thought that "nobody gets fired for hiring/using microsoft" ... and that the customer will pay exorbitant prices to play.

    Moreover, it makes the time right for third party companies to begin creating component libraries that will either emulate, compete or obviate .NET's own component-warez.

  • I wonder if Microsoft plans on offering an Academic discount below the quoted $1,000 entry-level price. My first tastes of programming were with MS's QBasic, then in college I bought their Academic version of Visual Basic (which was bundled with NT 4.0 for free) for $99. That was quite a deal, especially for the bundle. It made the appearance that Microsoft had a market for learners on a tight budget.

    If $1,000 is going to be the lowest Microsoft will go, then I'm sad to say that beginning developers in the Windows/.NET arena will be stifled. They'll approad other venues, such as Linux, Qt, etc. for learning how to program.

    I guess in the current economy, inexperienced, entry-level programmers are not important to Microsoft, making it that much harder for college graduates to get their foot in the door.

  • by sheldon (2322) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @10:22AM (#2471953)
    Scotty beam me up!

    Once again it becomes blazingly obvious that the bulk of Microsoft's detractors haven't a clue which end they use to go to the bathroom, much less what .Net is.

    This is about .Net services. You know... the idea of web services? Like this is what it'll cost if you want to utilize Microsoft's services as part of your system.

    Has nothing to do with the .Net programming environment, which from everything I have seen thus far indicated will be available free as in beer. Except for a number of value add pieces, such as the IDE, ASP.Net caching, and a performance tuned compiler.
  • I was afraid that MicroSquish might actually have been bright enough to make this whole ".net" scheme catch on.

    -jcr
  • missing the point. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by *weasel (174362)
    It's not for the costs of the tools (ala msdn).

    It's for the costs of access to their prebuilt -services-. If you have the skill to write and support your own shopping cart, you don't shell out $1000.

    I mean, the price bar was set by Verisign. They'll charge you $1400 a year for a certificate and 'payment services' (cybercash).

    If you snub Verisign and hit up Thawte ($125) for your certificate, and MS for your 'payment services' ($1000) it looks like you're -saving- $375 to me. And that's if MS .Net services -don't- include CA. (which would be a shameful oversight)

    Is everyone so terrified of writing their own web calendar that they feel 'robbed' by 'having' to buy .Net services from MS?

    But I suppose writing a well-thought article/post that points out that MS is -saving- you money (albeit a slight bit), or even just releasing their services at the already established going rate, just doesn't get the hits.

He: Let's end it all, bequeathin' our brains to science. She: What?!? Science got enough trouble with their OWN brains. -- Walt Kelly

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