Earlier this year, a group of over 100 Microsoft MVPs publicly expressed their displeasure with Microsoft’s plan to phase out Visual Basic 6 with the impending release of Visual Studio 2005. Apparently, Microsoft has found a way to ease the fears and frustrations of those developers because most of the press and feedback surrounding the official launch of Visual Studio 2005 earlier this week has been positive. Either the dissenters are keeping quiet for now and taking a wait-and-see approach, or they are finding enough things to like that they can stomach that fact that VB6 is finally fading into the twilight.

As I see it, Visual Studio 2005 has main thrusts:

  1. Streamline development work for enterprise programmers in order to win more mindshare
  2. Make a full frontal assault on the low-end Web market (with Visual Studio 2005 Express)

With its “Team System” software, its .Net and ASP.Net upgrades, its Tools for Microsoft Office, and its new IDE, Microsoft is trying to make life rosy as possible for developers. Visual Studio 2005 Express is aiming squarely at a Linux stronghold by offering a package with a free IDE tool, free database, and free Web server. With LAMP (Linux + Apache + PHP + MySQL), Linux has already staked out a strong position there and many customers may be wary of getting hooked on Microsoft software. The only way Microsoft will win there is if its free tools are judged to be significantly better.