Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Problem with startups using MS products

This is a response to Don Dodge's post of Microsoft - a friend to startups.

I guess there are several problems with building-on-top-of/relying on MS technology.  Some are technological and the others are philosophical:

1. Technological: By using MS technology, you place a bet on the proprietary software.  Indeed there are advantages such as supports.  But you also have to rely on the company to fix the bug/release patches.  You need a strong faith that MS produce great products because  you will not be able to fix the bugs on your own.

2. MS technology are tightly integrated, which means I usually have to use the whole package.  MS products are not always the easiest to use (for me... I still have no idea what Sharepoint server is even though I spend a long time reading the wikipedia entry) and will I be willing to sacrifice this flexibility?

3. Economical: although there are incentives, the support cost of MS products will take a toll, esp for startups.  I always thought... maybe the best solution is MS develop a VC branch (like Y combinator) that invests in startups... allow them cheap access to MS products (but not mandatory).

4. Licensing. since most MS products are propriety you might run into the licensing fiasco like TestDriven.NET.

5. MS has to tendency to extend into its customer market.  Nice that you mention the Antivirus market, because MS now directly competes in the market with OneCare.  Now can a startup owner sure if MS will not compete with me one day, esp. since MS is so big and pervasive.

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