Is it a sign of the times? People want an easy way to install applications on their PCs. Microsoft's Web Platform Installer (news, site) is certainly looking like just the ticket.
Released to the public in January of this year, Microsoft has announced that the Web Platform Installer has reached 1.5 million product downloads. This includes free, core products to run websites on the desktop like ISS7, Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition and SQL Server 2008 Express Edition. In addition you can download ASP.NET and PHP.
The Windows Application Gallery alone has had 100,000 application downloads. This is where you can pick web content management systems like Umbraco, Drupal and Silverstripe, along with some blogging apps like Subtext.
The Web Platform Installer is Microsoft's vision of a place where the development community can get access to the best open source .NET and PHP-based solutions.
“In 2008, we placed a large bet on the fact that the Microsoft Web Platform and interoperability with Open Source community applications, together, would be something that would benefit both open communities and developers for building Web applications," said Lauren Cooney, group product manager, Web Platform & Standards at Microsoft. And they have been extremely happy with the results.
Just think of how many downloads they would have if Windows SharePoint Services was among the list of applications.