D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

PCMag.Com – Apparently .NET is a Failure

Sunday, August 31, 2008 8:02 AM


So tell me what the following have in common:

WebTV
TabletPCs
WinFS
Passport
.NET
Windows Live Spaces
SidewinderFreestylePro
WinG
Sidewalk
OS/2

Give up? Well, according to Jeremy Kaplan and Sascha Segan of PC Magazine, these are all 10 Great Microsoft Technologies That Failed. There’s nothing really scientific about this list, especially considering that its a jumbled collection that spans 1980’s operating systems, a gaming controller, and a very well established development platform.

In fact, I would have just laughed this list off if it wasn’t for the inclusion of .NET and the un-educated statements made about it:

.NET (2002)
Runtime compiled, and featuring Net-connected apps back when people were laughing at the idea? You go, Microsoft! Go people did…to Java. Microsoft keeps improving the .NET framework, and people do build apps based on it, but it has nowhere near the scope that MS had envisioned back in 2002.

Nowhere near the scope? Where have these guys been the last 7 years?! .NET has become *the* Microsoft development platform, touching all product areas in the Microsoft space! Game development using the XNA tools and framework, integration with all major Microsoft platforms (Sharepoint [built using .NET btw], BizTalk, Microsoft Office, etc.), driving new technologies like Silverlight and WPF…

The only statement in that paragraph they published that had any ring of truth to it was that “people do build apps based on it…”. A quick search of ASP.NET case studies brings up some pretty big names like USAToday.com, Nasdaq, US Air Force, Xerox, L’oreal, and others. Recent Tech Ed conferences produced approx 15000 developers and IT pros who attended talks and discussions that involved .NET at some level. .NET user groups exist throughout the world (check out the International .NET Association for how to find a user group near you). .NET jobs are still in high demand, both in North America and abroad. There’s obviously still people “building apps” for .NET.

The inclusion of .NET in this list is BS, and IMO its an example of irresponsible journalism. Spouting your opinion about something is one thing…having no data, examples, or …anything!…to back up your statements is nothing but spouting off at the ass.

What’s worse is that PCMag is recognized, at some level, as a quality, reliable publication. When an executive editor, which Jeremy Kaplan apparently is, puts his name to something like this it brings down the authenticity, objectivity, and reliability of information published in print and online of PCMagazine.

Since Jeremy and Sascha both come from more hardware and peripheral type backgrounds, maybe they should stick to making comments about those things that they are experienced and knowledgeable about and leave any opinions on development products to those qualified to make them.

D




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# re: PCMag.Com – Apparently .NET is a Failure

Was OS/2 even a Microsoft technology? I thought IBM produced that. Even then I'm not sure I'd call it a failure. It worked pretty damn well. 8/31/2008 9:26 AM | chris williams

# re: PCMag.Com – Apparently .NET is a Failure

If there is anything that one could argue a failure of .NET with it's the nurturing of the developer community's skillset. MS has failed .NET developers by lulling them into a false sense of accomplishment and success through the use of drag-and-drop techniques for application design.

Now, does this mean that .NET is a failure? In my mind, hardly. As many developers are showing, proper software design and practices are possible with the .NET platform. The failure isn't technical, it's social. 8/31/2008 9:39 AM | Donald Belcham

# re: PCMag.Com – Apparently .NET is a Failure

Right on. Including .NET in that list was really a mistake. You know how these lists are made, right? A few people joking near the water cooler or at lunch just come up with some idea for "yet another list". Lists are the cheapest way to draw attention and traffic.
Back to the subject, I'd agree that .NET did not achieve some of the things that were touted back in 2000/2001, like having the Windows API entirely in .NET and Office written in .NET (which now look like pipe-dreams or serious miscommunication), it's still very hard and problematic trying to write shell or IE extensions in .NET. I mean, .NET isn't the solution to everything even in MS OSes but saying that it's a failure is ridiculous. You showed enough evidence in your post. 8/31/2008 11:11 AM | Sergio Pereira

# re: PCMag.Com – Apparently .NET is a Failure

@Sergio:
"Lists are the cheapest way to draw attention and traffic."

Are personal blogs not lists too? I guess everyone in blog-land is just a cheap attention whore then.

Anywho back to the topic at hand.

"Microsoft Windows emerged as a dazzling multitasking operating system that OS/2 was still struggling to become."

When I read this I laughed. Film at 11 OS/2 is still a more stable 32 bit environment than Windows XX ever was, the fact of the matter it is still being used in embedded system like ATMs.

"You go, Microsoft! Go people did... to Java."

So they are saying more people moved to Java once the .NET framework was released in 2002? Funny I doubt Java was as ever popular as .NET is or has been. Concidering back in the day Java developement was more of an enterprise solution.

8/31/2008 11:39 AM | William

# re: PCMag.Com – Apparently .NET is a Failure

There are those like me who jumped from Java to .Net. Probably more so than the other way around.

I was a full Struts, Tomcat, Eclipse whore back in the day, I would argue the merits of Java up and down over .Net....not any more...

9/1/2008 11:32 AM | Shaneo

# re: PCMag.Com – Apparently .NET is a Failure

Yeah, there are all kinds of ways that you could criticize MS or .NET, but to claim that it is one of MS's biggest failures and that most developers have been jumping from .NET to Java is just plain ludicrous.

Since traditional tech magazines are in a permanent decline and have been in the financial crapper for ages, perhaps the senior staff editors are really just minimum wage interns these days. That's about the only way I could imagine that such low quality crap could have been printed.

Too bad... I remember liking PCMag back in the day. 9/2/2008 9:01 AM | Russell Ball

# re: PCMag.Com – Apparently .NET is a Failure

I'd agree that what PC Mag wrote doesn't make a lot of sense.

That said, this was how MS originally marketed .NET:
"The Microsoft .NET vision means empowerment for consumers, businesses, software developers and the entire industry. It means unleashing the full potential of the Internet. And it means the Web the way you want it."
(citations, etc at http://david.safitech.com/?p=54)

If that's what PC Mag were thinking of, then I think they could have a point. .NET is a great development platform, but I don't think it's the Internet transforming power it was originally marketed as.
9/4/2008 5:22 PM | David

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