Microsoft Sets Its Eyes On Automattic, WordPress And Possibly PHP

“Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated”. No it’s not a quote from the Borg, but the tag line of Microsoft. The web is buzzing with the news of Microsoft moving 30 million of its bloggers over to Wordpress. That’s a PHP platform, I can hear you saying, what’s going on. It seems that Microsoft has opted for Wordpress as its Blogging platform for it’s users.

Back in 2006 Microsoft launched its primary blogging platform, Live Spaces. It was a surprise to many when Microsoft said that it would be transitioning 30 million of its bloggers to WordPress.

This could be seen as a failure of Live Spaces. Why would Microsoft give up it’s 30 million user base over to Automattic. That does not seem logical. The only conclusion is that Microsoft is looking to buy Automattic or at the least form a relationship with Automattic. This would give Microsoft a huge user base in the blogging market. Over 56 million.

What would Microsoft get?

If Microsoft were to acquire Automatic, what would they get. Well, they would get the estimated figure of 26 million users. Which publish more that 12% of the worlds largest websites. They would also get the social networking tool, BuddyPress, the forum software bbPress, the discussion module Intense Debate, Akismet spam filtering as well as a poll tool called Poll Daddy. Some good assets in the Social Media spectrum.

Microsoft and PHP merger

Wordpress is developed with PHP. Is this move a sign that Microsoft is going to embrace PHP technologies. There is intense debate as to which programming language and platform is best, C# (.net) or PHP. This merger could put a dampener on that.

If you have read this blog for any time, you would have realised that I am a .NET and Microsoft fan. But I also do PHP development. I have always tried to view the two in this debate without bias. My view has always been, use the best tool for the job.

Can you imagine the opportunities for developers if Microsoft were to offer PHP as part of Visual Studio. It’s not that far fetched you know? VS.PHP already have a plug-in to the Visual Studio IDE which allows you to develop and debug PHP apps in the Visual Studio IDE.

Let’s see what would they call it PHP++, PHP#. I don’t think it’s such a bad idea. It would certainly make me happy to be able to develop PHP apps seamlessly in Visual Studio. At the same time expose those PHP die-hards to new technology. Maybe bring the development world closer together instead of fighting.

What do you think? Does this anger you, or are you excited? What about the thought of Microsoft and PHP? Do you think they will benefit from having another development tool, PHP, in their toolbox?

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Robert Bravery is a professional programmer, Web site Developer and professional blogger for Integral Web Solutions.