As Microsoft ushered Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 out the door this week, the company reported growth, not only in revenue but in the.NET developer community and in Microsoft's SQL and VS partners. That positions Microsoft favorably as it enters the lifecycle tools market, one executive said shortly after Monday's launch event.
Andrew Lees, corporate vice president of Server and Tools Marketing, acknowledged that Visual Studio 2005 marks Microsoft's first step into a space where it faces heavy competition from IBM Rational, a long-time force in team-oriented development tools.
But Microsoft holds an advantage, Lees said. A closely integrated DB, platform and tools offering is key. Referring to IBM's purchase of Rational Software in 2002, he noted, "We looked at buying our way into this market a few years ago, but we decided we wanted an integration solution. That decision four years ago is the culmination of Visual Studio Team System."
Revenue from Microsoft's server and tools division has grown from $5.9 billion in 2001 to $9.9 billion this year.
In addition, the number of developers embracing the .NET Framework continues to grow. According to Microsoft's own figures, 53% of developers -- some 3.5 million worldwide -- now use .NET, up from 25% three years ago. In that same time, the percentage of developers using Java has increased only slightly, from 30% in 2002 to 33% this year.
"Most enterprises are choosing .NET over Java and J2EE," Lees maintained. ".NET is the programming language for developer success, for mission-critical applications."
Lees attributed the .NET developer community's expansion to several factors.
Microsoft continues to emphasize productivity, with up to 70% codereduction between VS 2003 and this week's update in some cases. In addition, the number of Visual Studio and SQL Server partners now exceeds 1,000.