Is it just me or is Microsoft really crushing it lately?

Ben Halpern on December 04, 2018

Yes, the stock keeps rising But lots of companies have rising stocks. I feel like Microsoft, in the past year or so, has been really positionin... [Read Full]
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I remember a few years ago we were laughing at "Microsoft ♥️ Linux", but now I'm pretty much waiting for them to release a version of Windows that is a Linux distro lol. I'm very impressed with where they got. Personally VSCode and Typescript are my absolute favorites now


I wish they would! I'm split between being dev and IT, and dealing with Windows 10 is one of the worst things I do. Cortana, bloatware, settings changing/disappearing with each update--it's a nightmare. I oddly feel more stability as a JavaScript dev than a maintainer of Windows 10 machines.


And now we can run Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows 10 with full Container support for Docker natively as well.

Agree with VSCode. I love it.


Docker support only on Windows Professional still though?


They use to have a Unix distro, Xenix: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenix

Admittedly it's been like 30 years since the last release, so it's probably not ideal for a modern workload! 🤣


Mega shout out to all their developer advocates for being a large part of this -- they have so many incredible people on staff who have a big impact on the developer community.

Also, VSCode is the best.


Absolutely, and kudos to the high level strategists for recognizing how important the dev advocacy is team is.

I see a lot of companies that have dev advocates, but they don't seem to really empower them. I feel like Microsoft is hiring great people in this space and making the most of them.


If you ever get the chance to visit the Redmond campus during One Week I'd highly recommend it. The sheer scale and investment (both monetary and cultural) in the idea of empowering people to develop solutions is quite breath taking.


Spot on! Female Dev Advocates at Mircosoft are crushing it 'quietly'. Microsoft seems to be empowering female tech leaders much more than other tech Giants that I won't name but...ya know.

Every Co touts 'more women in tech' but only a few have put there money where their mouth is.


Since Satya Nadella is the CEO of Microsoft I feel the company is more friendly with the world outside of Microsoft, I mean they want to be part of the tech community instead of have their own community and cover their piece of cake in a private bubble.


I mean they want to be part of the tech community instead of have their own community and cover their piece of cake in a private bubble

This is probably one of the biggest shift they did as a tech company. They obviously still have their own vertical bubbles but MS is so different from when I ran away from their ecosystem.

They embraced the chaos :D


I do want to say that mega trillion dollar tech companies are not exactly what the world needs per se.

It really seems like Microsoft is safely going to be among the most valuable companies in the world. This is reason enough to hope competition brings them down a peg.

My hope is that Microsoft raises the level of competition and serves the tech community well, as opposed to leveraging their position to exploit customers and maximize profits. But this is not exactly what capitalistic public companies are known for in the long run, so I just hope for the best.


I do want to say that mega trillion dollar tech companies are not exactly what the world needs per se.

Yeah, this is going to be tricky in the future


It really seems like Microsoft is safely going to be among the most valuable companies in the world

It's funny. I though that Microsoft has always been the most valuable software company in the world.

Microsoft was the first company to sell software. They have been earning by everything... Hardware, software, game consoles, embedded systems, real time control systems, health devices, education, sat tech, doc, training... Almost all the branches.

It has many technologies that are dead, but they have earn money with every thing.

Google is one challenger, Facebook also...

How do you define the value of a company?


I think Satya Nadella has been an excellent steward of the company, and is positioning the company for the now, the new, and the future. And embracing being a participant at the table, rather than trying to own the table.

This is a big change from previous leadership.

I was one of the blue-badges impacted by Satya's changes when he took the helm. My development branch office* was shuttered, and everyone there hit by the layoff. Despite that turn, I harbor no ill-will towards Satya or Microsoft, and I applaud his stellar leadership.

* If you've run Expression Blend, Visual Studio, or Internet Explorer... you've probably used code I wrote. Hopefully not code that crashed. ;-)


Heh. I actually found Expression Blend rather promising. I'd almost forgotten about it! While I'm not a fan of .NET as a whole (I'll be reevaluating that with Core eventually), I never found any UI development platform that quite matched the experience of Expression Blend.


My biggest regret over Expression Blend is that it was not released in conjunction with WPF and XAML, at their introduction. My viewpoint is that if anyone has to create or edit any kind of XML (including XAML) by hand, the developers have failed them. (XAML, Ant, XSL-FO... any sort of XML.)

Barring some infrequent situations such as merging branches in source control, or figuring out a damaged XML file.

Related to Expression Blend was SketchFlow, for prototyping that was actually functioning and not merely mock-ups and wire diagrams. It was (is?) an incredible tool for UI designers to make functioning designs.

That was a separate team that created SketchFlow, and it leveraged the power of WPF. (WPF is one of the Microsoft technologies that is best-in-breed in that domain, in my not-so-humble opinion.)

Alas, it appears SketchFlow is a casualty of the changing times. :-(

I think .NET (and Mono) is pretty darn impressive technology. For example, I've had good experiences using Visual Studio for Macintosh (formerly known as Xamarin), and F# on Mono.

FYI: they just released WPF as open source with MIT license (today is full of news both from Microsoft and Google): blogs.windows.com/buildingapps/201...

Wow! I'm utterly shocked and pleased with this news!

I'm not shocked that Microsoft made it open source. I'm shocked that the developers were able to disentangle WPF from its tight coupling OS dependencies.


I used to really not like MS - to the point where I was looking to jump ship to developing in other areas (PHP or front-end).

For me, the game changers were Visual Studio Code + .NET Core.

Being able to use my .NET expertise to build lightweight apps on linux is fantastic.


I know. I'm loving getting stuck into Linux and Containers. Having a blast with Core.


.NET Core seems like a huge move for keeping .NET devs excited. What's your sense on whether new devs are being attracted towards that environment?


I've been seeing a lot of developers who have a little bit of experience with JavaScript and Python under their belts becoming interested in getting started with .NET Core.

It's just so much more accessible then .NET Framework was...

There is a bigger learning curve with .NET Core vs. let's say JS though.

You are getting started immediately with a framework (ASP .NET Core for example, which is the .NET Core web framework).

So it's like learning JS but also Express and all the other plugins that you need to build a complete app at the same time.

But there's the rub - you get everything you need in one shot. No need to figure out whether you want Express or some other JS web framework etc.

I think .NET, in general, is viewed as a mature platform for building secure and "solid" production web apps. It's just that it's never been that easy to get started with.

I think MS is making great strides to overcome the view that .NET is just for really big and convoluted enterprise apps.

As a side note that is relevant, this is why I've been building an open source project Coravel. It's directly addressing this issue of "how easy can I just get up-and-running with a production quality .NET Core app?"

It does look like future .NET Core features are targeting bigger players and micro-service scenarios, whereas Coravel is trying to appeal to the indie devs who just want to build one simple yet solid production app quickly.

Another smart thing Microsoft has done, though, is the investment in TypeScript. It was perfectly timed to react (no pun intended) to the rise of JavaScript fatigue and anyone with a bit of TypeScript experience will have a much softer landing in C# than someone coming from PHP, for example.


Same as James below. The barometer of. NET Core success I think is how the community is contributing to to the dotnet corefx and coreclr projects. The PR contributions is staggering. There was alot of talk about this at Connect yesterday.

I think .NET Core strengh is it can rev quickly now. Full fat. NET was intrinsically tied to Windows and VS updates. Core changes quickly which is great.


Microsoft is a little hit-or-miss with me personally. VSCode, dotnet core, and TypeScript are all amazing open source technologies. They are high quality, cross platform technologies, and Microsoft has been excellent stewards of their open source communities. But I still feel like the Windows OS is user hostile. Invasive telemetry, bloatware, and OS level ads are a big turn off for me. I know I can spend time turning off that telemetry, I could uninstall all the annoying preinstalled games, and could ignore the ads that are creeping into more menus of the OS. But honestly that seems like a waste of time for an OS that still costs money. I expect this level of privacy breach from free Google services, but not from a paid Microsoft product.

All of that said, I think there's reason to be optimistic moving forward. Microsoft's open source projects show that it can be a good citizen, and if they ever release an open source OS, I'd be interested to try it.


Fully agree, Windows 10 is a hot mess. It makes me long for when I had an Android phone from Verizon full of bloatware. That was less bothersome than what the Windows team has put together. My gaming machine at home still runs Windows 8.1, and I don't think I'll ever upgrade it.


I still feel like the Windows OS is user hostile. Invasive telemetry, bloatware, and OS level ads are a big turn off for me

True that, technically Windows 10 is much better than predecessors but all of that stuff in userland (in part due to OEM vendors) is pretty annoying.

I feel like change there, though, it's going to come last. Embracing open source and cloud computing is already a giant effort for a big company. Windows and Office are a big chunk of their revenue, they are not going to change overnight.

I've also heard Windows 10 is going to be the last major version for a long time. They've been updating it with huge service packs (editions they call them now?) with mixed success.

I'm honestly rooting for Azure and their open source efforts and I've seen many super talented developers being hired in the last few years, like Jessie Frazelle:

I'm not naive but I'm glad it's showing signs of improvement


I think you are right. I really had Microsoft outside my bubble until VSCode. I was trying to use Atom and it was always an issue to fix before I could use it. Then came VSCode and man I love it. They have obviously bought Github and I had no idea about Linkedin. They seem to be setting themselves up for a cornering of the market somewhere. I mean if they started to charge for VSCode and Github integration package with LinkedIn as your profile hub what would you do?


All thanks to Satya Nadella. He's the real MS MVP right now.


what a difference a good CEO makes, eh? :D

I can't answer for others but I can answer for myself: I switched to a Mac 12 years ago when Windows wasn't any good and I was fed up with Linux on my Dell. I wanted an easy desktop OS where I could develop as well. OSX was the perfect choice and I was never happier. My first Mac lasted 4 years and I sold it to an acquaintance, my latest Mac has lasted 5/6 years (the one in between was stolen) and it's still going which makes it a worth investement (I also bought it refurbished from the Apple Store :D). The few times I have had to interact with Windows 10 I hated it (but I admit it's also because I haven't used Windows daily in a decade).

I don't know what will happen next because in my opinion Mac prices have gone up and the quality has gone down but my experience so far with Macs as computers has been stellar. I would probably have a different opinion if I had a post 2015 Mac? I don't know.

I've had to change the original HDD for a SDD and add 8 more gigs to this computer but I'm determined to see how far I can go with it (basically until developers will keep shaving off resources from their apps or until my habits change).

So, this is my "why I'm using a Mac". Maybe in the future I'll change, who knows.


Today just got better. Microsoft are open sourcing WinForms and WPF!

Yeah, agreed. That's why I switched from Mac OS X to Windows 10 about a month ago. I don't want to pay Apple tax for a locked in operating system on dated, underpowered hardware. Other than that I found Mac OS X to be a joy to use

I don't want to pay Apple tax for a locked in operating system on dated, underpowered hardware. Other than that I found Mac OS X to be a joy to use

that's the annoying part. Love the operating system but the hardware is more and more overpriced.

Seriously speaking: Apple has a rocky relationship with Intel. I feel like their ultimate goal is to have in house ARM based CPUs so they can severe the tie with Intel for good.

It'll take a few years unfortunately


But do they?

While they are doing much better than Google with their cloud offerings, they're still magnitudes worse than AWS.

TypeScript and VSCode are pretty good, but what else?

They included a Linux shell, which seems like they lost the faith in PowerShell.

They want to switch to Chromium, because Edge didn't cut it, despite them hiring many great JS devs.

They are even investing in React-Native, despite having bought Xamarin some years ago...

I'm not sure where they are want to go right now...


Azure - definitely I didn't like it at first experience, but after understanding their targeted audience I get it - big corporation, that is the answer. AWS for new startups, prototyping .Azure for integrating already invested Microsoft infrastructure to the cloud.

Microsoft is playing safe- supporting open source projects and when it gains some momentum include it in their business model- Entity Framework, Xamarin ,Mono - sponsored by Microsoft in same time .Net core was launched


Things are going great for Microsoft, and it wasn't inevitable. If they stuck to their guns and kept .NET closed-source on Windows and kept their heads out of the cloud then things would be very different for them right now.


I'm still waiting for their hidden agenda hoping there is none :)

Seriously, Microsoft is going in the right direction, but their history is something that I'm not willing to forget so easily.

I know Balmer and Gates are long gone, but still ...

Really wish they'll stay this way ... I'm not using their single service for long time, not even Skype, SwiftKey, VSCode etc. but who knows what the future holds :)


Not just you. As someone who swore off Windows during the Vista period for Linux (and never really looked back), I'm currently wearing a MS Hactoberfest t-shirt and―due to many of their hires over the past years―I've ended up following a lot of people who now work there (but didn't when I followed them).

Nothing got me to look back so hard as the Windows Subsystem for Linux. What a fascinating and great idea.


There is no denying the stock performance.

Counterpoints to the MSFT love fest:

  • Ads in the start menu in the out of the box Windows 10 experience?
  • A recent Windows 10 update which deleted users files.
  • Donated lots of patents, but not the super important FAT filesystem one that they used to sue Garmin and many others over the years.
  • Open-sourcing .NET and now even including Windows Forms and WPF sounds so nice, only its about 8yrs too late.

Never forget: "Embrace, extend, and extinguish" Microsoft is still Microsoft.


As a developer advocate who cares deeply about Open Source and spends most of my time building JavaScript, Cloud, open source stuff — I have nothing but a huge amount of respect for all that Microsoft has been up to for the last two years (and probably more, I caught up in 2016).

I invested my time in learning VSCode for the VSCode Power User course and less did I know — I'll love what I'll see. Their open source workflow with VSCode repo was pretty awesome. I loved it. And then they set the right standards for extensions marketplace. You'll find other editors' marketplace with not as much as a screenshot of what that extension is about. With VSCode you not only see animated GIFs — but also what the extension contributes.

For these and more reasons, I was excited when I heard about GitHub acquisition. That's exactly why I wrote on Dev.to about it → Microsoft GitHub Acquisition: Thoughts of a Full-time Open Source Developer

And MSFT has proved me right, the recent changes on GitHub have been incredibly fast, and much wanted. Look at these awesome GitHub engineers build excellent new features.

Long story short, MSFT is changing and everyone knows it. I think this change is for good.

P.S. Shoutout to the Developer Relations teams run by Jeff, Thomas, and others. Some of the best devs in a single team, and they're all very appreciative of the community efforts.

Peace! ✌️


I believe it is really refreshing to see the latest Microsoft initiatives. It is shifting my perspective on them.

However, I do have one specific concern. This post I read some time ago mentions plans from moving GitHub off Rails and using different technologies. Many GitHub staff members are very active open source contributors in the Ruby on Rails ecosystem.

I wonder if GitHub stops using Ruby on Rails, will their collaborators continue as active members of the ecosystem? Or will they shift to contributing in different technologies? Could this somehow reduce the rate of advances in Ruby development?

Thoughts on these questions?


This post I read some time ago mentions plans from moving GitHub off Rails and using different technologies

Didn't know but it make sense:

GitHub is about a third of the way through an architectural change that began last year. The company is moving away from Ruby on Rails toward a more heterogeneous, composable infrastructure.

"Our monolith is starting to break up and we're starting to abstract things into services," said Lambert. "The platform we've chosen to put them on is Kubernetes."

Getting bigger means also empowering teams to make their own technical choices. I don't think there's a single huge company that's using a single tech stack anymore.

Embracing Kubernetes means embracing Docker which means embracing the black box of containers. One of the valid reasons to use microservice architectures is when you have too many devs splitted in autonomous teams :)

I wonder if GitHub stops using Ruby on Rails, will their collaborators continue as active members of the ecosystem? Or will they shift to contributing in different technologies? Could this somehow reduce the rate of advances in Ruby development?

Rails isn't really designed for microservices (although it can be used for such), but I don't think they are going to throw it away in one day. If they stop using Rails altogether they will probably stop contributing also, but maybe some of the devs will do so in new gigs or on their own time. It's impossible to predict the future :D


Well, they acquired Github which is my fav, they also did the whole Windows + Linux WSL integration which I thought was really weird and out of place, but I'm actually using it in my job and liking it a lot.

Plus they knocked it out of the park with VSCode so needless to say they've been hitting quite some home runs lately.


Breaking News:

Disney buys Microsoft!

Sorry guys couldn`t resist :P Big hopes for the continous growth and lot of VSCode love <3


Hahaha, that was funny!


It's amazing how Microsoft went from being one of the most hated companies from the perspective of developers working on Open Source projects to become one that released VSCode, bought Github and integrated part of Ubuntu with Windows.

To be honest, I won't be surprised if Windows become Open Source in a few years in the future.


Move towards open source (^ devloper trust) and Azure cloud (^ revenue) are major drivers I suppose. Nice strategic moves by MSFT.


At first blush, when you put all of those pieces together, it seems like they're making better moves. I'm still wary.

Sidenote: maybe goodbye Edge?


I love that VSCode is taking pair programming to the next level! Also great new product launches this year, from Surface to CosmoDB


I think it all comes down from their decisions to go in the same direction as others and be part of the community (doing open-source, "Microsoft ♥️ Linux", favoring modern and popular techs, etc...) rather than just doing their own thing like they did in the past.

Microsoft finally realized it's better to be a team player rather than trying to forcibly set the rules. Who would've though!

Now they just need to fix their OS and they might become a decent IT company! 😂 (joking obviously... but not for the OS part 😛)


5 years ago it was 'M$ the big bad corporate ugly'. As you observed the have done a 180* and now reaping the rewards. Honestly 8 do t know who the executive board is but whoever they have, should stay as long as possible.

Like it or not, even Linux owes credit to the recent MS about face.


The tech industry seems to have a short-term memory. Microsoft and their practices seem to have taken a back-burner to recent publicity. People want to believe this company can change, but I try to read between the lines.

I've been running Linux on the desktop for 20 years and reboot into Windows to play games only. I've built software on Windows, Linux and Mac and the latter two are the only ones I've used in the past eight years for development.

Microsoft is a very convincing trap; if you think you can't live without Windows it behooves you to try running Linux or Mac for a year and then try to return to the hegemony that is MS Windows. Fifteen years ago the idea of MS supporting anything related to Open Source was laughable; Ballmer equated it to communism.

As the web evolved further and further away from MS and into UNIX/Linux, MS then changes its tune and wants in? If you can't lead, poison the waters?

You're all being had in my opinion.


Honestly, I can't say anything else but that I have been impressed with Microsoft. Their new CEO understands the importance of open-source.

I still see a lot of hate towards Microsoft, Windows OS in particular. It's mostly the Linux neckbeards on 4chan that are still hating on Microsoft.

Sure, everyone makes mistakes. But Microsoft's new CEO did a 180 degree turn.


I’ve recently read an article that Microsoft’s vision is shifting towards developers, they’re trying to get developers back on their side.

I’m quite impressed with a lot of things they’re doing. From GitHub aquisition to the enormous success of VSCode. And now looking forward to the release of the new Windows terminal and the embeded linux kernel on Windows 10.

I think we could be looking at a new era for devs where linux is no longer the obvious choice


I have been on the Microsoft train pretty much my entire career, but even I am impressed. They are doing a bunch of little things that really sum up to a lot.

VSCode has eaten the IDE in my opinion. Azure, while not AWS, is going to be here to stay in key areas. GitHub and LinkedIn acquisitions show they can diversify. The only thing missing for me is a better browser, which they are now working on (again).


Edge is crap, but moving to a homogeneous ecosystem where the two dominant browsers both use the same rendering engine is liable to lead to a stagnation in standards improvement.

I'd love it if Microsoft instead invested in (or alternatively bought) Mozilla and made use of their rendering engine instead.


Agreed , Microsoft is playing 'safe' and as a .net developer it bugs me.
.net ecosystem which was first targeted for huge businesses,has higly invested in Microsoft only ecosystem. Today .net ecosystem is distributed between supporting legacy products and creating new microservices, this is where I see issue, going forward only one standard i.e. .Net 5 is expected, that will create so much blunder because .net framework apps will become somewhat legacy. Some might say you will have to adapt and move to newer technologies and patterns, but we should remember there are still some businesses running on COBOL making billions, it is a huge investment in migrating to newer standards if changes are breaking and time consuming.


Stock wise yes but platform wise no. Their own development environment is so fractured that it appears to be a omen "Move to the cloud, desktop is dead". I'd rather develop desktop using Electron than to jump on MSFT train again. MSFT throws their own developers under the bus, often.


Oh yes, if Electron doesn't work for me Angular and React do. In a sense I'm done with MSFT platforms, thanks to MSFT.


Buying a bunch of popular platforms have that kind of effect.
Most of their in-house made stuff still sucks balls last i checked.

vscode caught me be surprise tho, so i am more tentative to cut them some slack these days.


Bless 🙏🏼

There's a lot of good people in here now and I feel like I'm in genuinely good company.


I really enjoyed watching it! Although I need to go and rewatch it again to take better notes. They really were all about OSS I can definitely support that.


Hats off to the CEO for finally getting it together!


I think especially after what facebook and Google pulled of lately, they became the good guys. Vscode, integrating linux, new terminal...


What everyone is missing is it's the Microsoft of Nadella era.

What makes you think that Windows 10 is far better than Mac OS X?


Even with that, I think they're still under valued. They're Developer visions are visionary.


I detect sarcasm 🧐

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