I've been in the job for 4 months now, and after spending 9 years being a non-Microsoft developer, its been a hard transition at times. I've learnt a lot in the short time I've been here and have seen the roadmap for the future of a lot of Microsoft products going forward.
It didn't hit me until this week after I spoke to a highly regarded Adobe Flex Developer whom attended a WPF Summit and then a few nights ago, after sitting in on a presentation on Microsoft Longhorn Server (IIS 7.0 specifically).
We are on the right track and here is why:
Is this perfect? nope. I said it's the right track, now we'll need to take a few beatings for awhile longer to get our direction(s) aligned appropriately but overall if you're not chasing 100% perfection but can be happy with say 80%, then overall you won't be setting us up to fail or yourself for that matter.
I'm seeing encouraging signs of developers whom never touched a line of .NET code asking me daily "Dude, hook me up with WPF" or "Can you setup a training session on .NET for us?" and so on. I've also seen developers from not only Adobe space but also Java space find it an easy enough transition to some of the technology stacks on offer. The path forward isn't as scary as I also originally thought (personal experience that is).
I'm also getting really behind the Longhorn Server eco-system as Jeffa has been showing me some really cool and relevant pieces that developers could run with in a comfortable fashion. I love this product and can't say enough about it.
I'm finally, and most important of all seeing that Microsoft is really working hard at interoperability, in that it's encouraging non-Microsoft product vendors and developers are given access paths into products.
I'm in Seattle for a deep dive session around our Live.com strategy next week (pre-MIX) and I'm looking forward to this as I think it will put the final pieces for me together on our overall Web 2.0 strategy going forward. An example was how Live.com "Advanced" tab works, brilliant but I'd like to see it more visually obvious though.
Hate/Love Microsoft but overall they are making some exciting ripples in the IT industry and specifically around the web-tier. We are coming off scary as well, I can appreciate folks getting a little freaked out by how much breadth in terms of product tiers we are touching on, so I also get the resentment at times (even agree with it as well at times).
Silverlight is on the table now, people are providing opinions on catchup factors and penetration statistics, I get that and it's a conversation that really will not end in a positive response, so what I would say is that given the total eco-system that Microsoft is moving towards in the next upcoming 5 years, it can't hurt to at least look at it? can it? hedge your bets and all.
I've glanced at the MIX07 schedule and it will also give a lot of hints in the right direction, so pay attention kids :)
Bottom line folks, there is a lot of room to move in Microsoft markets.
P.SI know this post sounds MS Fanboi style, I apologize if this is the case but I'm having a lot of conversations with a lot of developers from all language streams and this is what most will agree on (reluctantly) - of course with an immediate follow-up of "Now this is why Microsoft sucks" rant ;) (which is cool!).