Mac developers scoop up Microsoft's $25 offer for Windows 8 and Parallels Desktop 8 licenses in mere hours. Will this help address Windows 8 app woes?
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Microsoft, in its newest bid to cultivate developer enthusiasm for its platforms, announced Tuesday that it would be giving away Windows 8 and Parallels Desktop 8 licenses in exchange for a $25 donation to charity. The combination is intended to help Mac Web programmers test their sites for compatibility with the most recent versions of Internet Explorer, which Microsoft has made substantially more compliant with open standards but which is still catching on among both general users and website builders. Developers evidently found the deal quite compelling, as it sold out within a few hours.
In a blog post that introduced the offer, Internet Explorer GM Sandeep Singhal wrote that developer feedback indicates Web programmers "test across browsers ... through virtualization of browser and operating system combination," adding that the "costs to purchase software and licensing can be difficult" for startups. By making the licenses, which normally cost around $200 combined, more easily accessible, Microsoft is encouraging Mac developers to include Internet Explorer and Windows in their testing routines.
When the deal promptly sold out, Singhal updated the blog with a promise that Redmond "will be making other offers available in the near future."
Tuesday's effort to bring more Mac developers into the Internet Explorer fold follows several initiatives intended to increase app-makers' enthusiasm for Windows 8's touch-oriented Modern UI. The company has recently revamped virtually all of its flagship products in an effort to build a more cohesive ecosystem.
Internet Explorer obviously isn't isolated to Windows machines, but the more developers Redmond has in its corner, the better, especially with earlier versions of Internet Explorer having been somewhat derided for their incompatibility with current standards.
Additionally, recent rumors about Windows Blue, Microsoft's impending update to Windows 8, suggest that future Internet Explorer releases will allows users to seamlessly transition online activities from one device to the next. Given this, it appears Redmond wants to ensure that Internet Explorer be a robustly supported platform, not only for the browser's sake, but also to further improve the evolving appeal of Windows 8.
In the meantime, developers who missed out on the license offer can still check out other tools Microsoft made available alongside the sold-out deal. These tools include, among other things, new virtual machines for running different combinations of Internet Explorer and Windows versions.