On September 5, Nokia announced new Windows Phone 8 Lumias. While those phones are not revolutionary on the surface (no pun intended :), but rather evolutionary, the story is completely different on the software side: Windows Phone 8 has not much resemblance to its predecessor Windows Phone 7.5. Specifically, I refer to WinRT, and completely new ways of developing software for it.
Today I decided to get Windows Phone 8 SDK to start developing a new app I have an idea for, so that it would be ready for the WP8 launch, or at least soon after it. Imagine my surprise when I learned that there is no preview version of WP8 SDK available. And, even worse, Microsoft is not even planning to release it to the general public before WP8 launch in the end of October – only “more published developers” will be able to get it later this month in addition to those “select partners and developers” that have already seen early builds of the new SDK before.
Now this is seriously puzzling me. Microsoft, which has troubles getting market share with Windows Phone, is not giving interested developers the new SDK before WP8 release? What the heck!? I guess they hope that their “select partners” and “more published developers” will develop some cool apps for the launch date. Which is fine. But they do forget, that by giving these guys this kind of advantage they are stealing a chance from other developers. And these developers (me included) will be pissed, and rightfully so. How can we be loyal to Microsoft, if Microsoft is dividing developers into two classes: first class people who get the SDK, and “everyone else”?
In the last few years I started to believe that Microsoft has genuinely changed its approach to developers by offering early previews of their new technologies, and even listening to the developers’ feedback. Now I see that not much has changed in reality – different divisions of Microsoft act in completely different ways (e.g. Visual Studio 2012 vs Windows Phone 8 SDK), and, for some of them, political agendas are more important than real issues in the market. Sad.
PS I am not the only one with this opinion…