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Scaling a Platform for Device-Agnostic Web Interfaces: Michael Mullany, CEO of Sencha (Part 6)

Posted on Tuesday, Dec 25th 2012

Sramana: Coming out first gives you the first opportunity to develop a distribution strategy to the developers. The question ultimately will come down to adoption by developers.

Michael Mullany: The good news is that broadband is here and social media is here. Word of mouth is really significant. In terms of how we get developer bits into the developer desktop, the answer is through a very open distribution channel.

Sramana: There are still significant companies with very significant penetration into developer networks, like SpringSource, that are substantially larger. VMWare bought SpringSource, Apple has penetration into developer networks, as does Microsoft.

Michael Mullany: I would put our developer base up against SpringSource developer base any day. In terms of Microsoft, we have a huge number of their developers using Sencha to build front-end technologies. They use Microsoft server technologies on the back end and us on the front end. We are pretty complementary in that way. Apple has spent significant resources making it possible for people to pick up Objective C, which is not a straightforward language, and build applications for the platform. They have great developer documentation and great tools.

Sramana: Google has penetration into the developer world as well.

Michael Mullany: At the moment I think they have 500,000 developers. Most of them are consumer-focused developers.

Sramana: I am sure you are constantly playing a mental chess game among these companies, and what you think each company’s strategies are going to be. I look at Apple and think that they want captive developers working on their closed systems.

Michael Mullany: That is straightforward with them. At one point they banned cross-platform tools from being published on the AppStore. They finally relaxed that rule, but they do believe in a vertical, sealed ecosystem. They are vertically integrating audience, content, devices, cloud infrastructure and their developers into one integrated, well-functioning silo.

To some extent, Android is taking the same route. They are trying to get more people to build on the Android SDK. When your Android device comes up, it will have an increasing number of Google services and apps preloaded. Industries tend to flip from horizontal to vertical organizations, and once that flip occurs, it goes for a long time. Apple is trying to integrate those layers again on the consumer side.

Sramana: And they are trying to send the signal to consumers that the rest of the market is behaving that way. Google behaves that way and Microsoft is moving that way although they are the least mature with Windows 8 just coming out. That is the direction they are trying to explore. There are players out there who are platform providers. Adobe comes to my mind as the primary company that could acquire you or compete against you.

Michael Mullany: Adobe has stepped away from the developers to an extent. They have certainly stepped away from business application developers. They are going after the VP of marketing budget. They have correctly identified that more and more IT is going to be present in the marketing department in the future. Adobe is making the huge bet that they can create an integrated set of tools, services and products that will help the VP of marketing target, acquire and optimize monetization for companies in all kinds of industries.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Scaling a Platform for Device-Agnostic Web Interfaces: Michael Mullany, CEO of Sencha
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