How Dumb Does Redmond Think We Are?
Bill Quick

Is This Really Why Microsoft Made Windows 8? | Windows 8 content from Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows

“The short answer [to why Metro is the default] is because casual users don’t go exploring,” he explains. “If we made desktop the default as it has always been, and included a nice little start menu that felt like home, the casual users would never have migrated to their land of milk and honey. They would still occupy the desktop just as they always had, and we would have been stuck in square one. So we forced it upon them. We drove them to it with goads in their sides. In 8.1, we softened the points on the goads by giving users an option to boot directly to desktop.”

Reality check. Microsoft’s most important customer group is business users, and businesses require as few UX changes as possible to save retraining costs. Microsoft pushing Metro on everyone was categorically stupid.

I’m okay with Win8 since I tweaked it with some utilities (start menu, apps windowed on the desktop), but Paul is right: The way Redmond went about this was stupid. And now they’re just flat lying about it.

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Bill Quick

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.


How Dumb Does Redmond Think We Are? — 3 Comments

  1. The way Redmond went about this was stupid.

    Indeed, and many of us were pointing that out within minutes of the event where Windows 8 was rolled out to the public back in 2011.

    I have never seen a cadre of executives so determined to ignore negative feedback on their baby. They kept wailing that Windows 8 was oh-so-cool, and we just didn’t get that, and some people liked Windows 8 (which was true) while ignoring the fact that the one group they needed to like it the most (people doing work) were mostly somewhere between indifferent to it and loathing it.

    But those executives really believed that Microsoft could take on Apple on Apple’s home turf, the iPad, and win. They thought they had created something so sexy and cool for consumers that it would be the next big thing in consumer electronics.

    It has taken far longer than it should have for them to come to grips with the facts that (1) their money mostly comes from people getting work done, so they need to satisfy them first and foremost, and (2) Microsoft doesn’t have the first clue how to design and launch a product that will succeed with street consumers.

    That problem of being out of touch with consumers even infected the Xbox division. The arrogant roll-out of the Xbox One was handled as badly as any roll-out of a sequel to a successful technology product since the Osbourne Executive.

      • I think Ballmer is mostly neutralized. He’s on the board because he has tons of stock, but he didn’t really run the company before – he just picked the people who did. I don’t see him doing a lot of interference in day-to-day, and he’s not really a high-concept strategic thinker, so I don’t see him butting heads on strategy either. I hope he just relaxes and write his memoirs.

        Bill working with Nadella is actually a good thing. He’s only working one third time, so Nadella really is in charge. But Bill has more influence to rein in those hard-charging softies that can’t see the big picture, and he really does have a special ability to ferret out the flaws in undeveloped technology. I think it’s no accident that Microsoft’s biggest intramural fights started after Bill stepped down. I’m already seeing some indications that that kind of fighting is dying down.

        Whether Nadella can make a difference depends on Nadella. I don’t know if he has the perspective to provide vision for a company as wide ranging as Microsoft. He doesn’t really have much background in the user-focused aspects of Microsoft, and that’s one of their biggest competitive weaknesses right now.

        I was rather hoping to see someone from outside Microsoft, with some fresh vision and perhaps more user centric. But almost everyone seems to agree that, if someone inside Microsoft had to be chosen, he’s the best pick.