The Windows Phone 8 SDK Preview program is now open. Except you can’t download the bits, and it isn’t the least bit open. If you are a software developer that has been loyal to the Microsoft platform for years (or decades) you have the right to be pissed.
Many developers have been eagerly waiting for the release of an updated SDK for Windows Phone. Microsoft didn’t see fit to release an update with Visual Studio 2012 so that developers could use the latest IDE to target Windows Phone 7.x, and so an updated SDK was really overdue.
Unfortunately on the 5th of September Microsoft announced that they would only be opening up the Windows Phone 8 SDK in preview mode to a select few, basically cutting off those who had been waiting for an update in the SDK to start work on their projects (whether they are Windows Phone 7.x or Windows Phone 8.x). The overwhelming reaction of developers commenting on that post and today’s update was clear (epic fail).
In order to get access to the SDK you need the following:
- Publisher Name
- Dev Center Publisher GUID
- Registered Country
- Application Name
- Application GUID
As an MVP I’m used to filling in forms on the Microsoft Connect, but normally it is just basic demographic and organisation information. This is a whole new level and it basically excludes a lot of really passionate developers from getting access. The form of course is not the only blocker, Microsoft then needs to “select you” because it’s not just a case of filling in the form and automatically getting access to the bits.
The Windows Phone 8 SDK preview is not open, its closed. Period.
Sure the marketing folks in charge of this decision are quickly reconsidering their options. Firstly – the requirement to go through this process will detract from developer adoption of their platform. Right now they are getting a strong reaction from a small number of developers passionate enough give a crap.
I’m already feeling cheated having paid good money (USD$99) to get access to the Windows Phone Dev Center, only to have Microsoft completely drop the ball on SDK updates after the RTM of Visual Studio 2012.
Right now Microsoft has sub-10% market share in the mobile operating system space. This strategy of locking loyal developers out of the platform updates (combined with not releasing updates to existing tools) is completely wrong-headed.