Microsoft Builds Up Relationships at Build 2013 Developer Confab

Hoping to reach out to San Francisco Bay and Silicon Valley developers, Microsoft is holding its Build 2013 dev conference in SF – its first there in over 15 years.

As Microsoft prepares to host its third Build developer conference, the company is making a move to come to the home of the enemy: the San Francisco Bay area.

The Bay Area and Silicon Valley are home to a host of born-on-the-Web startups and companies that are steeped in open-source technologies and are one with the ABM—anything but Microsoft—mantra. And yet, Microsoft knows it has to make its presence known in the area. Not that it’s unknown. But it could easily be considered hostile territory.

The last big developer-ish things I remember Microsoft doing in San Francisco was a Visual Studio launch some years ago—in 2005 with VSLive shows were bigger and more important Bill Gates keynoted and I got a chance to interview him. Obviously, that’s been some time as Gates has been removed from the day-to-day for several years. The last time Microsoft held its major developer event—then called the Professional Developers Conference, or PDC—was 1996. Several folks are saying the last major developer event Microsoft had in San Francisco was 1997. That may be true, but it was not a PDC.

In any event, Microsoft is back in San Francisco with Build 2013, and it’s about time. Sure, there’s the Microsoft location in Silicon Valley, but who really considers that a real presence? They do some feel-good stuff and there is some serious research under way, but it’s not enough to make anybody feel like a real Microsoft presence is felt in the Valley.

But this should make for an interesting conference as Microsoft plans to deliver previews of Visual Studio 2013 and other core developer technology, which will help developers be better prepared for building Windows 8.1 applications. In an in-depth interview with eWEEK prior to TechEd 2013, Brian Harry, a Microsoft technical fellow working as the product unit manager for Team Foundation Server, told us that Microsoft would deliver the first preview build of Visual Studio 2013 at the Build conference. Microsoft discussed the application lifecycle management (ALM) features of VS 2013 at TechEd, but will discuss the core software construction-oriented features at Build.

“At Build 2013 this week in San Francisco, we will showcase how developers, app builders and companies of all sizes can create experiences on the Windows platform to engage consumers, empower employees, solve problems and drive companies,” said Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of Developer Platform & Evangelism, in a blog post. “Whether developing a client application for the Windows desktop, or building to the modern device and cloud application patterns with Windows 8 and Windows Azure, developers are seeking consistent and flexible platforms.”

Moreover, “The developer ecosystem is undergoing rapid change, having grown from fewer than 20 million professional programmers just 15 years ago to more than 100 million coders today, ranging from pros to citizen developers,” Guggenheimer said in opening up his post. “And, the opportunity has never been greater: With an explosion of low cost, powerful devices and the access to massive computing and processing power in the cloud, developers are no longer constrained by the hardware or software of a specific device or a local data store. But with opportunity comes the challenges of learning new technologies, fierce competition, and juggling the variety of devices and services in the marketplace. A successful path forward can include navigating any number of difficult choices before an app can generate revenue, create a differentiated experience and provide an efficient return on investment.”