Developers Build for the Platforms They Use

Dare Obasanjo:

A key principle behind the approach we’ve taken with the SkyDrive developer platform is that while it should be seamlessly accessible from Windows devices and apps, it should also be ready to enable developers on any platform to build apps that make SkyDrive more useful. It’s your data. It should not be limited to apps for a single browser or brand of devices.

The SkyDrive API looks clean and complete and Microsoft is taking the right approach to it by encouraging developers to build for any platform. When you’re playing from behind (in this case, in consumer adoption), you can make up ground by opening things up to developers more than your competitors.

There’s one big problem I see though. As I tweeted yesterday:

GDrive, SkyDrive, Dropbox. I’m betting on the one with the API and that the majority of devs use. Platforms win.

SkyDrive and Google Drive have APIs/SDKs and will get a lot of users from existing user bases of related products. But the operative word in that tweet was ‘and’. From my observations, near 100% of the developers I know use Dropbox. Some will use Google Drive (especially if they work at a place using Google Apps) and relatively no one uses SkyDrive (cue some MS employees and MVPs I know chiming in with how great it is).

Developers build for the platforms they use. That’s why I think Dropbox will ‘win’ the cloud storage platform wars. What it means to ‘win’ remains to be seen.