Mark Lucovsky blogs about why he left Microsoft for Google (via John Lim). He talks about how code at Microsoft has to rot in a CVS repository for years before shipping, while web based companies such as Google and Amazon can deploy almost instantly.
I have to agree with the sentiment. I quit my last job (in 2000) to work in web development largely for this reason. I worked on a custom ERP package that was deployed in a few dozen manufacturing plants. Deployment for developed code was a nightmare. It wouldn’t surprise me if the effort involved with deploying a change was an order of magnitude greater than making it. Testing, writing installation scripts, testing the installation scripts, sending a person to the plant to perform the installation and train the users, repeating for every plant. Pray that there were no database changes.
The thing that attracted me to web development was that it felt much more ‘light weight,’ and frankly, just more fun.