The following article was recently brought to my attention. It asks if .NET should be considered a disruptor in the last decade: http://blogs.zdnet.com/service-oriented/?p=3921
I actually gave this a bit of thought and the best answer I was able to come up with was “Yes and No”. Here’s why…
A technology can be "disruptive" when it gains wide spread attention but can fizzle out just as quickly or over an undetermined period of time. How deep into a revolution a technology can sink its teeth and still emerge a clear winner is a true long term measure that I believe earns the designation of "disruptor".
A true market leader leverages (or themselves are responsible for) a revolutionary technology and both exploits it fully while surviving several aftershocks that typically follow.
For example, I would argue that SOA was a revolutionary innovation that changed the mindset of an industry. In the process it displaced many traditional (and proprietary) approaches to distributed computing and a new market segment exploded.
I think Microsoft capitalized on this with ASP.NET Web Services (ASMX) which at the time I would certainly consider disruptive- offering 1st generation commodity SOA to the masses- but had the innovation wave stopped there, Microsoft wouldn't have a SOA story today.
Enter WCF . WCF is both an evolution over ASMX as well as a technology that has been successful in displacing many proprietary incumbents. However I think today what we have is a low-end disruption because it is evident that WCF overshot the market with performance and features. Incredibly, almost in perfect harmony with this market perception REST came into its own and disrupted our whole perspective on SOA and continues to challenge our values in the process (as all disruptive technologies do).
WCF 3.5 and the REST Starter Kit answered this call cementing the fact that .NET (WCF) is deep enough to survive and subsume other distrubtions and at the same time, WCF 4 will attempt to democratize WCF for the masses, likely gaining both mindshare and market share in the process.
So, while .NET has been disruptive, I don't know that we can claim it as disruptor just yet.
One thing is for certain. Azure has the potential to propel .NET to a more profitable market segment ushering with it new market disruption and establishing .NET in a clear lead position.
But these are just my thoughts. What do you think?