Yesterday, when I wrote about all of Microsoft’s many announcements regarding Windows 10 – including its new features and goodies in the flagship OS, its upcoming Spartan web browser, and the buzziest headset since the Oculus Rift, the Hololens – I asked if Microsoft was finally becoming cool. Today, tickets to Microsoft’s 2015 Build developer conference sold out in under an hour. I guess that answers that question.
TechCrunch reports that registration for the event opened up at 9 a.m. Pacific today. Then Microsoft posted this on Twitter:
Build 2015 is sold out. Please join the waiting list at http://t.co/TyJ3yNsNak.
— Build (@bldwin) January 22, 2015
Boing! That’s impressive. It seems that the various Windows 10 announcements have given people the kind of faith in Microsoft that they’ve been missing for years. Additionally, the Hololens is everywhere on the Internet today – clearly the device, which is meant to provide an augmented reality user-interface and is capable of some pretty cool stuff, struck a nerve with the tech community. They’re eager to try it out, and Build, set to take place from April 29 through May 1 in San Francisco, seems like a pretty good place to do just that.
What’s the secret to Microsoft’s current success swing, then? It seems that making good products and listening to users for feedback and direction is having a great effect on the developer community. The Surface Pro line, for instance, has grown from an interesting but unsatisfying niche product into one of the most talked-about laptops of the past year. The Surface Pro 3 improves on its predecessors in just about every way, and it’s earned more than a few fans.
Additionally, the release of the Microsoft Band turned more than a few heads a few months ago, resulting in sell-outs at the Microsoft Store. Finally, the Windows 10 technical preview has been pretty successful so far, fixing much of what was broken in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Microsoft’s efforts to not only learn from 8’s mistakes but also to listen to users as the Preview rolls on shows a company that’s turned its back on its hegemonic ways of the past. Looking ahead, Microsoft under Satya Nadella is focused on giving users not only what they want, but also what they didn’t know they wanted. It’s a very Apple-like mentality, but without all the dictatorial qualities Cupertino has taken on in recent years.
Maybe Microsoft will never be quite as cool as Apple, at least not in the same ways. But damn if it isn’t getting close.