Microsoft’s Tablet Strategy

December 15, 2010

Microsoft was recently cut from Goldman Sach’s “buy” list because of their weakness in mobile devices, particularly tablets.

Hardware isn’t the issue since these devices are built by numerous Japanese and Korean manufacturers. Microsoft’s problem is getting the right software for these small form screens.

According to several commentators, their best OS for tablets will be “Windows 7 Phone”.

And the development platform for Windows 7 Phone is Silverlight.

To make matters even more interesting, Google has released a simple development environment for their Andoid Mobile OS (phones and tablets) called “App Inventor”.

App Inventor works by dragging visual blocks around on the screen to build an application – a style of visual programming. Take a look at the video above to see what I mean.

I have seen something very much like this elsewhere – the “Scratch” system developed at MIT. Scratch can be used by novices and even children to build some fairly sophisticated applications.

And Scratch is built using Squeak Smalltalk!

(Remember that Silver Smalltalk is essentially the Squeak VM ported to Silverlight).

If Microsoft wants to offer something as easy as “App Inventor”, they will have to use a dynamic language to do it.

But they no longer have any developers doing dynamic language development for .Net!

We live in interesting times.

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