The MSN Developer Center is now live (did I ever think I would actually utter those words! How v.cool), which includes a bunch APIs and stuff for : MSN Search, MSN Messenger, MSN Search Toolbar and Desktop, MSN Vistual Earth and wait for it: the Start.com Developer Center. :-)

What's this all about?
  Here's a snippet from a CNET interview with BillyG today. Good question up front:

"Q: More developers are becoming interested in building new applications using the Web as a platform, as opposed to the PC. Do you feel you're in competition with Google, Yahoo and other Web properties for developers' attention?
Bill Gates: No, I don't think so. The architecture we are interested in we call server-equals-service, so that we will have the full Exchange capability that you can subscribe to, where we run it, or you can have it on-premise with the traditional licensing approach. At this conference, we do give out APIs (application programming interfaces) for the MSN Search and the MSN Virtual Earth capability, so things that have been cloud-based services, you can have client applications that other services can connect to. So, I'd say the evolution is server to service, and bringing that symmetry in.

With Google, there are rumors about them being interested in that services piece, but they really haven't done that much. Our search API is way better than their search API. Clearly, they are working in that area. They haven't done as much on the server piece. They had a Google server, but it was very bad at corporate search. That did not work well at all. That's the only place where I think they have done any server-type piece. Yahoo doesn't think of themselves as a platform company. I don't think you will ever have the Yahoo PDC. Google, because they are in the honeymoon phase, people think that they do all things at all times in all ways."
In the meantime, Andrew Coates provides more info on the MSN Virtual Earth APIs.
"First and foremost, VE is now available for commercial use. The nitty-gritty details are available from the virtual earth developer site (www.viavirtualearth.com) but, in essence, if you leave the What and Where fields visible, you can use the control provided for a commercial site for free. In Jan 2006, there will be an option to pay for use and remove those controls."
I'm going hunting for more MSN APIs stuff and will update this page as I do.

Update 13 Sept 05:

Here we go:
Charlie Wood on the Microsoft Gadgets:
"It's nice to see the kids in Redmond haven't lost their sense of humor.

This made me laugh out loud: "Have you ever wondered how new technologies get developed in Microsoft?"

Umm... they get ripped off from Apple, who stole them from someone else?

Classic!"