Developers have always been an important part of the Microsoft ecosystem and from all the companies out there, Microsoft has one of the largest developer communities. Steve Ballmer's Developers, Developers, Developers speech happened quite a while ago, but its spirit lives on and Microsoft is doing its best to keep the driving force of their platform - developers.
Recently Mary Jo Foley released what appears to be an internal memo from Microsoft that outlines the internal changes in the general development platform stratgy. The first major change is the fact that Scott Guthrie, Corporate Vice President, former lead of the .NET Developer Platform is now working with the Azure team, leading the Azure Application Platform. Azure is constantly growing and with high demand for cloud-based applications, Scott seems to be the perfect choice to lead Microsoft's cloud initiative.
Microsoft is also dedicated to growing the developer community by emphasizing on the importance of DPE (Development Platform & Evangelism) and the Student Evangelism team, that is now a component part of the DPE division. In the last year, Microsoft indeed paid a lot of attention to students by organizing various programs (like Microsoft Student Insiders and Microsoft Student Partners) and events(a good example would be ImagineCup), so it is clear that the priority of these programs is high and there are many benefits both for Microsoft and involved students.
As a company, Microsoft realized the importance of developers a long time ago. With the release of the Kinect, a lot of individuals hacked together homebrewed drivers and got the device to work in the most unexpected ways. Instead of going after people who tried to use Kinect in ways not initially predicted, Microsoft is releasing a Kinect SDK that will encourage even more developers to create unique user experiences.
Beisdes, with the upcoming release of Windows 8, that introduces a new target platform (ARM) and possible changes to the API and application distribution system, it is important to attract as many developers as possible in addition to the thousands already using the platform.
With the ongoing reorg, I think Microsoft will manage to grow its devdiv the same way it happened when .NET came out. Scott Guthrie and his teams managed to get .NET as a platform and community to what it is today and hopefully his expertise will do the same to Azure, that already started growing exponentially.