By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2005-01-31 Print this article Print

Any new partnerships on the Express level? Sridharan: Not yet, but in a few months. I think there are some really cool ones Im excited about.
Id heard there might be partnerships with game software providers and digital camera makers …
Sridharan: Yeah, imagine an 8-year-old kid wanting to build a game, thats exactly the target market. Somasegar: The thing that is interesting about the Express editions is when you think about the developers weve been focused on so far with Visual Studio .Net 2003, we sort of targeted what I call the professional developers. And we think there are about six million professional developers around the world. Thats a good number of developers, and they are core to what we are doing, so we love them and we want to take care of them. But if you think about the rest of the Windows customer base … and the Windows customer base is 600 million … my vision is that someday we can build tools that are relevant to the 600 million people or whatever the installed base then is, and not just to the six million professional developers. So if I think about it that way, Express Edition is sort of a first big step in the direction of expanding the number of people who can use tools to do things they really care about getting done in a simple, easy way. Thats the thing that excites me the most. And we think literally there are probably three times the number of professional developers, or about 18 million people, that are potential customers for the Express Edition. Back to the ecosystem, I totally see where youre going with it and see where companies like Compuware or folks like that might go for it, but then theres IBM and, to a lesser extent, Borland. How do you gauge that whole competition issue with them? Somasegar: Thats sort of the balance that we walk. IBM is absolutely a competitor for us. At the same time IBM is absolutely a great partner for us. So the key is for us to figure out how when I build VSTS and make it an extensible platform, I really want IBM to play in the platform as well. I will be excited for IBM to come and say, "Hey, we have the Rational developer tool set. Lets figure out how we can make that add more functionality to what you guys are building and really have a complementary offering." The reason why Compuware and Borland and Mercury and others are excited and are working with us is because they see those places where they can add more value than we are adding as well as fill in the gaps that we dont have. I would love for IBM to think about it with the Rational developer tool set. And actually IBM should decide how and when they want to get started on this. I want to do everything possible to get IBM to bring their tool set to our platform as much as anybody else. But at the end of the day theyll have to make a decision as to when and how they want to do that. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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