VFPUtils Article By: M. Asherman

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Open Letter to Microsoft

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Dear Microsoft,

On behalf of myself and many of your other customers in the Visual FoxPro community, I would like to address a serious concern that affects both ourselves and Microsoft. Our concern is that Microsoft, in failing to market and promote Visual FoxPro as effectively as it might, is causing us great hardship. At the same time, we appreciate and respect Microsoft's perspective as a vendor whose decisions must be driven by considerations of profit and the larger picture of its many product offerings and long term plans.

For almost a decade, Microsoft has done a fine job of advancing VFP, which has earned our trust as an exceptional, proven tool for building Windows applications. We're delighted with the work of Microsoft's FoxPro team, and we eagerly look forward to the forthcoming VFP 7.0 release and further exciting developments. We're confident that one way or another, and probably in many ways, there will be a story to tell about how VFP fits in with .NET.

With the recent announcement of Microsoft's plans to remove VFP from Visual Studio, however, the VFP community is confronted by a crisis. As consultants facing a shrinking VFP job market, and as application developers who have invested much of our capital and our lives in FoxPro, we are injured when the credibility of VFP is undermined. The paradox of Microsoft's failure to more actively promote VFP both within Microsoft and to the world at large now threatens to do irreparable damage to the image of VFP, and this troubles us deeply.

Therefore we urge you to begin taking action without delay to correct the glaring omission of any references to VFP in your widely circulated Direct Access Newsletter, and we ask that you please consider the following rewording of your brief mention of VFP in MSDN Flash:

Microsoft reveals its plans for Visual FoxPro as a complement to its .NET offerings. Recognizing that VFP is a proven, established platform for developing robust, high-performance desktop and net-enabled solutions today, the schedule for shipping VFP 7.0 Beta 2 has been accelerated. VFP 7.0 will be aggressively marketed as a separate product from Visual Studio.NET, offering a wide range of integration options with both .NET and other Microsoft interoperability standards, such as COM, DCOM, ActiveX, etc.

Understanding that marketing is an ongoing concern, and that there is much more we can do to help each other in this regard, many of us in the VFP community have openly expressed our desire to assist Microsoft in better promoting VFP.  We've only begun to assemble and organize our ideas, for example as a collection of VFP Success Stories, and in a number of other web pages and online discussions of which you are undoubtedly aware.  We wish to encourage Microsoft to join us as an essential partner in this mutually beneficial endeavor.  Please help us, your devoted customers, give VFP the respect it deserves and you will surely be helping yourselves as well.


Michael Asherman

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