There is always a noise before and after the baby arrives. Same is true in technology. We are going through a labour phase in which everyone is claiming that they know whether its a girl or boy or robot. Its only a claim.
Salesforce.com is the first cloud based SaaS based company to cross billion dollars in revenue. The combined revenue from its partner network is over 350 billion dollars. It has a custom framework and database which you need to master before your applications are on cloud. They too have basic tools for developers.
Microsoft has arrived with Azure and as its typical of them they have promised to build a Operating System like app on the cloud and have asked you to build your applications on top of that. They promise support for open source too through their VM role. The same is useful for existing asp.net applications if they have to migrate it to cloud. It’s development is integrated into Visual Studio (that itself is a heavy tool – both in license and on machine). It will be nice if they can create something easy, lightweight and free for development of azure based applications.
Google has been there for a while with entire suite of Office like applications and has also provided App Engine as a platform for you to develop. But in terms of productivity tools for developers they are as ancient as you could imagine. Have a look at Google Launcher and you would understand.
Amazon too is around with its infrastructure services. But in terms of documentation and support and open forum, they are there but not yet there. You will know when you get stuck.
So you see. The cloud has arrived but its very early stage. The developers have a huge learning curve. The businesses have a huge learning curve to reach a point to commit to SaaS based applications.
Everybody is going the extra mile to get big ticket case studies but do you get it that its a lock in into there framework.
How is it different from a locking into Microsoft or Linux platform?
There are advantages once you learn the game though. You get scale, your delivery cycles are reduced and your customers become interactive the moment you launch.