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Microsoft finally phones home its developer tools, but is it too late?

Some say that Microsoft is late in delivering tools for corporate and third-party developers that will produce apps for its recent avalanche of new products. Are they too late?

REDMOND -- As Microsoft finally ships the software developers’ kit for Windows Phone 8 and preview versions of Azure, whether or not the company is too late in delivering developer tools to produce apps with the avalanche of new products remains to be seen.

Windows Phone 8 for example, shipped Monday but lacked finished developer tools, which left organizations that hope to take advantage of it waiting to get to work.

During the first two days of Microsoft's Build conference here this week, company executives announced they  are finally shipping the final software developers' kit for Windows Phone 8 as well as preview versions of Microsoft's Azure public cloud technologies.

With the launch of Windows Phone 8 this week, there is consistent mention of the lack of apps available.

Ken Levy, president of MashupX, LLC

Another attendee, a developer from a large GPS manufacturer in the Midwest, was also pleased that the Windows Phone 8 SDK finally shipped because his employer wants to build commercial apps that support the new phones.

Not every observer was so upbeat.

"With the launch of Windows Phone 8 this week, there is consistent mention of the lack of apps available," said Ken Levy, president of MashupX, LLC and former product and community manager in Microsoft's developer division. "There could have been many more new Windows Phone 8 apps for the launch, but Microsoft didn't release the Windows Phone 8 SDK until yesterday," he added.

Part of the problems many .NET developers are complaining about is not just the delay of the SDK, but also Microsoft's lack of transparency by not disclosing the SDK release date in advance for corporate users  and developers to be able to plan around, Levy said.

Among the cloud previews, the company showcased Windows Azure Mobile Services for corporate and third party  developers aimed at enabling Microsoft's cloud service to connect with Windows Phone 8 as well as expanding language support in Azure, including Python, the company said.

The event is the first time that Microsoft has hosted a large scale technical conclave on its sprawling Redmond, Wash. campus, with approximately 5,000 developers waiting  for shuttle buses in the rain to get the low down on the latest programming information from company executives.

Microsoft has already sold some four million copies of the Windows 8 upgrade, according to CEO Steve Ballmer. Company officials also announced the release the latest version of Visual Studio Team Foundation Service.

Microsoft is streaming the keynotes and some of the technical sessions for those who don't want to stand in line in the rain.

Stuart J. Johnston is Senior News Writer of Contact him at

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