The annual conference is part corporate vision statement by top executives, part heavy-duty technical training on Microsoft software tools.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 is gaining traction in the market. The various pieces of the company’s sprawling network of cloud-computing services are, for the most part, ready for showtime.
Now, the Redmond company is set to tell software developers where they go from here.
Microsoft’s Build developer show, part corporate vision statement delivered by executives, part hard-core technical training on Microsoft tools, kicks off on Wednesday in San Francisco.
Microsoft Build developer conference
When: Wednesday through Friday
Where: The Moscone Center, San Francisco, and streaming at build.microsoft.com
Executives: Previous editions featured talks from Chief Executive Satya Nadella, and executives in charge of Microsoft’s engineering groups
Attendees: The sold-out event hosts thousands of developers.
The three-day event is likely to feature updates on Microsoft’s bid to keep developers interested in Windows and position the company’s Azure platform for Web-delivered software as a force in a competitive, mobile-obsessed market.
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A survey released this month by Stack Overflow, a developer forum, found 52 percent of developers used Windows as their operating system, down from 60 percent in 2013, as both Mac and Linux both grew in popularity.
What operating-system developers are working on doesn’t necessarily correlate to what they’re targeting with their products. But the waning position of Windows is a warning sign for Microsoft, which has lost its spot at the center of the developer universe amid Internet and smartphone revolutions.
At last year’s edition of the trade show, Terry Myerson, the executive who oversees Windows, set the ambitious target of getting 1 billion devices running Windows 10 within three years.
Microsoft still holds some cards. For one, its focus on developers is extensive, and the company has worked to place its developer software on whatever platform programmers happen to be working on.
Last month, the company acquired Xamarin, a popular development platform for building apps across smartphone platforms. And with HoloLens, Microsoft’s augmented reality headset that’s shipping to some developers next week, the company has rolled out a wild card planted firmly in the future, one that has drawn interest from developers.
The move to mobile platforms dominated by Google and Apple “really damaged their platform,” said Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst who focuses on software developers at researcher Forrester.
Now, “there’s a growing sense among the developer community that Microsoft is cooler than they were five years ago, and maybe kind of back to moving the needle instead of following Apple and Google,” he said.