Just came across this enlightening blog post while asking Google if Microsoft was going to abandon .NET : http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2012/feb/17/winrt-windows-8-microsoft-programming
EDIT I found another developer blog with similar concerns: http://realworldsa.blogspot.com/2011/09/today-microsoft-killed-net-good-bye-wcf.html
I realize I’ve been complaining off and on – sometimes rather dramatically – that Microsoft is making some really terrible decisions of late. The aforementioned article helps at least give an explanation to one of those decisions:
WinRT was developed by the people who write drivers and kernels. Those people are undoubtedly C++ developers who do not consider the .NET dialects “real languages.” Which is really unfortunate, because C++ is about the worst language (short of assembly) for writing maintainable, reliable, testable, or portable code. The only upside is that if you are good at it and spend orders of magnitude more time coding, your code will be more efficient.
What should have happened is optimization of .NET for efficiency. Not pushing business application developers to become experts in memory management, pointers, references and clock cycles.
WinRT seems to be what the developers of Win32 wish they had done back in 1998, rather than a proper evolution of development technologies.
(By the way, I’ve said it before but I feel the need to mention again – Metro (aka “Windows Store” aka “Windows-8-UI”) apps can not and will never replace desktop apps. And desktop apps are not and will never be “legacy” despite some people throwing around the term. Certain parties at Microsoft would love to get a 30% cut of all developer profits, so phasing out desktop apps is certainly a bullet point in their PowerPoint, but reality will hopefully keep this at bay)
The stats now: Microsoft is alienating it’s largest user base by forcing a tablet interface onto a PC. They are alienating manufacturers by developing their own hardware and licensing portions of the OS to “chosen” companies. They are alienating mobile users and developers by essentially abandoning Windows Phone 7 and providing no upgrade path. And finally they are alienating the vast majority of developers with massive restrictions and profit cuts.