Maybe it is time to switch from Windows to Android for some tasks

First, lets clarify: I use Windows workstations and servers daily. I use Microsoft ergonomic keyboard, which is great keyboard. I am, and in foreseeable future will be a mostly Windows developer. That’s what I am paid for. However, in my spare time, when I develop for fun, I may change my mind form Windows to something else, like Android…

Microsoft is not about developers, developer, developers anymore.

Once Microsoft was a great software company that cared much about developers. I hope everyone have seen Ballmer’s famous Developers Dance.

These were old good days. Today Microsoft brings some bad news for many developers who was loyal to Microsoft. Microsoft upcoming market – Windows Store and existing Windows Phone store are closed for most of world’s countries. Many software developers are left out, without an answer, when will these stores be available for them.

From Windows Store markets MSDN article:

When Windows 8 is available, you will be able to register for a Windows Store developer account and submit apps if you live or operate a business in a country or region listed in this table.

Total of 41 countries from world’s ~200 countries. ETA for more countries added — Unknown.

What about Windows Phone? There is the App Hub, where you must register in order to publish apps for Windows Phone. Which countries? Total of 65, and you can sell apps from 38 countries. Not much. Xbox development is even worse – whole 16 countries.

For Windows Phone there is alternative, for developers who are in “unsupported country”. They can use Global Publishing Program via third party publishers who of course wants their “fair” share. This translates to 30% by Microsoft + up to 20% by third party publisher, so you end up by paying 50% commission to MS+TPP. Read more here: Why Microsoft Global Publisher Program sucks.

I am too left out of this party – Windows 8 Store. Even my current 2 (at one point 3) MSDN subscriptions are worthless. At one point I thought that MSDN subscribers are somewhat special.

What’s more interesting – Windows Store has support of whole 14 languages. In world there are thousands of languages, but Microsoft recognizes only 14. Sad.

Another interesting thing. Skype was created in my neighbor country – Estonia. In both Microsoft stores there are no support for Estonia or Estonian language. What are they thinking? That there are no developers in this European Region? No developers in Baltic States? People are asking Microsoft about ETA – when more countries be added… silence, silence and silence

Google at least allows you to distribute free apps from most of the world’s countries. And if you are successful, you can register a company in some supported country, like United Kingdom, and collect payments there. For Windows Store, registering a company in different country just to distribute free app is doable, but a little overkill IMHO. Google’s app seller supported 31 countries. How to sell Android apps from unsupported countries.

Also, Android offers you an alternative markets, like Amazon App Store (currently only in US). And you can install Apps from any other website that offers .apk files, or from email messages, if someone sends them to you.

So, where am I going? It seems, that sticking to Android for a while. Android currently is the most popular and open platform comparing to Windows and iOS. CyanogenMod is a proof, that there is a hope for open platform for mobile devicesMy old Phone is now powered by CyanogenMod 7, because LG is not releasing Android updates in timely manner.

Another note, is that I love Visual Studio. I Really do. Eclipse sucks, Java is Oracle/Elison kid now… but they are both enough open. What next mobile phone will I buy? The only one, that will run CyanogenMod or other open platform. I am looking to buy a cheap tablet in next few days/weeks. I was considering cheap Prestigio tablet, but with an exception of a few Russian hacker sites, I could not find somewhat supported third party replacement/update for their outdated Android. The next candidate from the cheap end is ARCHOS 101, from ARCHOS. They are releasing their software stuff to community, so currently their tablets can run CyanogenMod, Linux, etc. Read more about developer friendly tablet – openAOS.

Microsoft still have a lot of money and a lot of influence, they cannot dig their grave in overnight, but they are heading in that direction – Internet Explorer usage is down, Windows Phone have some adoption problems, screwing partners like Nokia, screwing Silverlight developers – Silverlight 5 might be the last major release of Silverlight, Mono Abandons Open Source Silverlight, and almost … next release of Visual Studio has responded to developer criticism and is adding support for building Windows 8 Desktop apps to VS 2012 Express, and of course Microsoft Kin.

Wow. I am starting to sound like open source advocate. Weird. What I know for certain – I am not a Microsoft fanboy anymore. One wise grandma told – do not love something, that can not love you back, and corporations falls under that category… they rarely can love you back.

Update. Microsoft just reveled more countries in Windows Phone Developer Blog. It seems, that all three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) will be included now. However this is only for Windows Phone. Windows 8 state – unchanged.

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