Editorial

For Microsoft, going backwards is the new forwards, but that's ok

Over the past several years, we have seen Microsoft hit the reset button on several of its major platforms including Windows Phone, Windows and now Xbox. The first big reset came when the company decided to abandon Windows Mobile and push forward with Windows Phone.

In the mobile segment, this made a lot of sense. Their Windows Mobile platform was becoming stagnant and they were heading the way of Blackberry in terms of market share and user perception. So what did they do? They cleaned the slate, started from scratch and are now in the ‘challenger’ mindset with Windows Phone and are making strategic acquisitions to bolster up their bottom line.

Windows Phone was a necessary move and the company had to take a few steps back so that they could get a running start at the new mobile first landscape. While the growth has been slow, there is no doubt that manufactures are warming up to the platform and Microsoft lowered the cost to entry too. With these moves, Microsoft is setting the framework for Windows Phone to successfully compete against the entrenched Android and iOS.

What was even more odd during this transition was the move from Windows Phone 7 to 8 where the platform was again split, meaning that Windows Phone 7 users were left in the cold because they could not update to Windows Phone 8 which created a small rift within the community. But, seeing that the market share was so small at that time,Microsoft was a bit too aggressive with Windows 8 they once again parted ways with the old in favor of the new and so far, it is working out well. Of course, more changes are on the horizon as Windows RT and Windows Phone will be moving closer together in the near future.

But some of the bigger backwards steps have come with Windows 8. When the platform launched, it was a dramatic change from what consumers were accustomed too and it has caused backlash. So much so that senior leadership at Microsoft has been removed and the company is now de-modernizing the emphasis of Windows 8 with Windows 8.1 and future updates.

For starters, the company’s first big step backwards from the transition of a start-button less UI was to bring back the start button but apparently that wasn’t enough either. The leadership change in Redmond is already starting to pay dividends The company is now going full-circle and bringing back a proper Start menu to make Windows 8 feel more like the classic Windows that users have grown to love over the past three decades of its existence.

Make no mistake about it, Microsoft was trying to blend touch and traditional computing into one platform and went in too aggressively. Rather than easing in the transition, they attempted to force the modern UI on all users and with a lack of proper mouse and keyboard support (up until the recent update) it was a frustrating experience for those without touchscreen monitors.

More recently, Microsoft has taken steps backwards with it’s Xbox console by unbundling the Kinect to lower the price of the console down to $399.It’s likely better to say that these steps were a ‘course correction’ You can read more here about some of the other steps the company has taken to go backwards here but know that the Xbox received several modifications from its initial launch plans that were announced at E3.

Reading that Microsoft is backpedaling may seem like slam against Microsoft, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The company knows where the future is heading and took large steps to help get its platforms ready for the next generation of computing, but it seems that the leaps were too great and instead, baby steps were needed.

It’s likely better to say that these steps were a ‘course correction’ rather than backpedaling because the fundamentals have not changed much, only the auxiliary components are shifting. But, for a company as large as Microsoft, making these moves could not have come easily and that’s why the leadership change in Redmond is already starting to pay dividends because we suspect under the old regime, these changes would have not occurred.

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I remember Ballmer stating that the reason why the start menu had been removed was simply that no one used it?

Windows 8 was, and still is a disaster for Microsoft… damaging its reputation, its developers OEM's and users on a massive scale as yet without any parallel.

When Windows 8 was in beta they failed to listen to the testers, everyone knew that it was going to fail except Microsoft senior managers who seem to have watched an Iron Man movie to many - computer screen simulations.

The combination of mouse/keyboard/touchscreens are all donkeys years old and will be replaced (eventually) by the ability to talk to your computer and this is where they (Microsoft) should have put their money which would have side-lined the opposition.

This would also help eradicate passwords as the PC would recognise you when you spoke, of course dedicated audio processing cards would be required and you would need your voice print data before you could install the operating system but it is doable.

The combination exists because no two users work the same way. Microsoft gets it - the OEMs get it (especially HP and Lenovo); however, an extremely vocal subset of users do not.

There is a subset of users across ALL operating systems that insist on only one method of working - I call them "modal absolutists". (Note that in no way am I claiming that it is unique to Windows; if anything, I have stated categorically that it isn't.) ModernUI is, if anything, a more direct assault on modal absolutism - further, it has been across ALL of Microsoft's hardware platforms (it isn't unique to Windows - in fact, there is plenty of data indicating that it didn't even start there). However, Microsoft's hardware platforms are, combined, the largest bastion of modal absolutism (that is especially true of Windows, but is present on Xbox as well - how much resistance was there to Kinect merely on XB360?). DHolbon - do you always work the same way - day in and day out? If you do, then you are just as guilty as all the other "my way or else" insisters - and are a decided roadblock. How can Microsoft advance if the user base will not allow it?

Win8 should have had a big "Don't Panic!" app tile front and center on the start screen from the beginning, and a shortcut to HELP video's on the MS website.

But MS just gave us a silly 'touch the corner' thingy during install.
This really added to the alien new start environment of Win8, and it went downhill from there after the release. Helped by the Tech websites.

Now MS is trying to fix problems a good set of video tutorials can solve in minutes.

If people can learn to use an iGadget or Android one, why are people so stubborn to learn something new in Windows? It's like Win95 and Xp all over every time things like this happen...

Dutchie64 said,
If people can learn to use an iGadget or Android one, why are people so stubborn to learn something new in Windows? It's like Win95 and Xp all over every time things like this happen...

As I have been saying since Windows 8 came out, the difference is that my laptop/desktop is not a "mobile device". Android and iOS were made for that environment, whereas Linux and Apple's desktop OS's were created and optimised for a full screen, keyboard, and mouse experience. I get what Microsoft was trying to do with unifying the interface across the board, but I don't need them to be the same. I need big colourful easy-to-touch blocks and snappy apps and all the rest of it on my phone or tablet. I need multiple windows, precision selection via a cursor/mouse, keyboard shortcuts, and plenty of screen real-estate on my desktop where I am getting work done. Two different things, two different primary functions, and I, for one, prefer my UI to be optimised for where it's being used. (The idea of there being a "mobile" or "desktop" layout option in the settings is perfect, but they're of course having none of it.)

Charisma said,

As I have been saying since Windows 8 came out, the difference is that my laptop/desktop is not a "mobile device". Android and iOS were made for that environment, whereas Linux and Apple's desktop OS's were created and optimised for a full screen, keyboard, and mouse experience. I get what Microsoft was trying to do with unifying the interface across the board, but I don't need them to be the same. I need big colourful easy-to-touch blocks and snappy apps and all the rest of it on my phone or tablet. I need multiple windows, precision selection via a cursor/mouse, keyboard shortcuts, and plenty of screen real-estate on my desktop where I am getting work done. Two different things, two different primary functions, and I, for one, prefer my UI to be optimised for where it's being used. (The idea of there being a "mobile" or "desktop" layout option in the settings is perfect, but they're of course having none of it.)

And the desktop is still there, and needs no additonal learning. The new Startscreen does, and it doesn't fly for most people. Stubborness is stil my main answer for that behavior. Complaining about antyhing MS is a world wide sport, often for no good reason....

it is very simple

There are hundreds of millions of Business PC's installed, if you want to sell them your latest Windows, then you have to give Businesses some Business value, providing them with huge amount of tablet functionality on their PCs is pointless, they will simply ignore you.

We need Tablets sometimes, and Desktops sometimes, pushing us to use tablets only and making our life harder will backfire, and it did, and the idiots at Microsoft who pushed for that got fired and one of them went teaching at some university.

If I go to a restaurant and I order Burger, then I want to eat a Burger as simple as that!, if they deliver salad instead because it is healthier, then thank you for your good thinking, but do you have burger? no? ok by by

I call complete and utter BS on this article. "Proper mouse and keyboard support"? Only a complete idiot wasn't able to use a mouse and keyboard quite well with even Windows 8. I've grown up with all this and never had an issue. Anyone who wasn't able to use a mouse and keyboard with Windows 8 is either lying or too stagnated to continue using technology. As for the Xbox One, this is clearly a case of being of split mind on the target consumer. Traditionally it's been the gamer. But if Xbox One is to full realize its potential to be much more--even to the point where gaming is a minority portion of it--going backward on Kinect is a bad idea. They finally have a "living room device" that those of us who hate console gaming felt drawn to actually purchase. And with this latest move, you can begin watching the developers drop off when it comes to developing for the Kinect. All told, this absolutely is backpedaling. Windows 8.1 Update 1 is not NEARLY as nice a platform now as it was before that update. Seeing so much of the tired old desktop puked all over the Metro side is ridiculous. And it's only going get worse. And unless Microsoft makes near herculean effort to bounce Cortana over to Xbox One, there will be nothing to entice most people to purchase the full Xbox One experience.

Haha, just a couple of weeks ago I installed Windows 8.0 on a machine and was completely lost through the restrictive desktop experience, it took me a while to remember that to shutdown or restart I had to activate the charms menu first (tricky business on vanilla Windows 8) and of course no Start button, or right click "power menu to quickly get to the control panel and other stuff.

The leaps and bounds made already with 8.1 and update 1 are massive compared to what Windows 8 was when it first came out.

Microsoft's ultimate error with Windows 8 was the lack of choice. They could've left everything how it was when 8 shipped IF they gave users a choice to go back to "Windows 7 mode" or something similar.

They've further made a mistake by forcing the Kinect with the XB1. Again, the mistake isnt the Kinect, it's the lack of choice.

Consumers expect and demand choice from Microsoft and they need to make sure they can deliver that as best they can.

IF they gave users a choice to go back to "Windows 7 mode"
You mean the desktop tile?
Or the bloated search box called a start menu? (hint: winkey+s)

@Shadowzz: You missed my point. The Start Screen is a great thing, but consumers have to adopt it themselves. Being forced into it put a black-eye on Windows 8 entirely.

Windows 8 is the best operating system MS has produced but to hear most people talk about it it's one step above the black plague.

There was no bridge building between Windows XP, Vista and 7 into the new frontier of Windows 8 and beyond. The leap was too big for some and with the lack of absolutely no choice its popularity has taken a big hit.

Fair enough. IMO they didn't alienate anything and Windows 8 is like Windows 7 but better in every way. Start screen, Explorer ribbon, clean task bar. And I'm personally a great fan of simple, straight and clean designs. Didnt like the rounded corners or glass so much. Windows 8 is the first Windows where I don't even want to change my desktop to Classic.

The Kinect move was a short sighted mistake. All it did really was give them price parity with the PS4, which they could've done by dropping the price to $399 and cutting profits. MS CAN afford to do that overall, and it would've been better for the future of Kinect. Now they've basically said that Kinect is a marginalized product.

The Xbox One is now just a more powerful 360, just like the PS4 is just a more powerful PS3. I don't have a new-gen console yet, but now I feel even less inclined to get one. Petty vocal consumers are to blame, but so is MS for not actively pursuing ways to make Kinect more integral to the gaming experience on the One.

This is all one big shame.

How can it be more integral to the GAMING experience if developers won't take advantage of it being there? If anything, the addition of a SKU that lacks it makes the decision matrix for developers easier, not harder - bypass Kinect and therefore guarantee universal compatibility (which was already the case with any game targeting both XB1 and PS4). Kinect IS more integral to the totality of the XB1 experience than was the case with the XB360 (which I pointed out, and gave Microsoft their due for it) - however, users have not really changed (for the most part) how they use their consoles since the XB1 launch - only a few brave souls are embracing Kinect. I'm sorry you feel that way (and are planning on passing), Darth Tigris - though I DO get your reasoning - that is why I hate the trend of change-aversity and the impact on advancing technology in general - it smacks too much of NIMBYism in terms of development/growth in local property markets. (At least to me, BOTH arguments smack of "I have mine, and screw everybody else!")

"Microsoft was a bit too aggressive with Windows-8" is one heck of an understatement! Just what were they thinking by pandering to the mobile market and almost totally ignoring the needs and requirements of the laptop and desktop market. The updates to Windows-8 are just perpetuating the myth that one UI will be equally suitable for all form factors. Will Windows-9 fix the UI mess? We'll just have to wait.

So they should IGNORE ENTIRELY the demand for portable hardware and being able to work without having a pointing device altogether? You are basically insisting on the retention of a single-method UI, when fewer PCs (not counting tablets OR slates) are that way. Look at Lenovo's notebooks - the majority of which are NOT fixed-function. Look at most AIOs (and especially from HP) merely since the launch of Windows 7 (not 8) - most of them support touch, yet still support keyboards and mice. I've been running Windows 8+ since the Consumer Preview as primary OS on a traditional desktop that not only does NOT support touch, but doesn't have a third-party Start-menu bringback, either. Why are you (and others like you) insisting that Microsoft screw over ALL those third-party developers that actually created Start8, Classic Shell, etc.? Do you hate Microsoft as a COMPANY that much by forcing them to screw over those third-parties that are, after all, in the BUSINESS of providing software that Microsoft can't, or won't? It's one thing that you can't deal with the lack of a Start menu - now you are saying that only Microsoft can fix it - thereby dismissing ALL the third-party software that is out there to "correct" that "error". I'm a computer user (and specifically a desktop-formfactor computer user) that despised the Start menu and I am glad to see it gone - and I will NOT install the feature that brings it back when it becomes available if at all avoidable - because I do not need it, and most importantly do not WANT it back.

It's not acceptable to keep making product missteps that damage the brand so badly.

We may go easy on MS because we like their products but even I am fed up of seeing absolutely scathing articles that are a direct result of poor management and customer expectations.

I don't agree the MS are reaching too far into the future. They are failing to tell (and sometimes even create) the family story to customers and no wonder people don't see value n these products. I read a very negative piece about the removal of Kinect and the author said he navigated Netflix via voice and had a poor experience. The easiest and best way is to Bing it and the results include Netflix but is this well documented anywhere?
The whole thing needs someone to come in and join the dots for people in a meaningful way. Google can do it, Apple can do it. Arguably MS has the better balance across all the sectors but they absolutely stink at easy integration and making it all feel joined up.

I hope they are about to bring out some products with top spec hardware, futuristic capabilities and show me why, in no uncertain terms, I should believe in them still.

Microsoft shouldn't remove successful (retail) products from the market until their EOL (ie. Windows 7/Office 2010 - can't buy them in Australia anymore - completely sold out, no longer manufactured. Ridiculous). Office 2010 sales would probably be higher than 2013's right now, meaning more $$$ for Microsoft. I still want physical media too - where I live, it takes about an hour to download 1GB (no fiber yet, because of political conflicts).

"lack of proper mouse and keyboard support (up until the recent update)"

Overall not a bad read, but this made it hard to take too seriously. Personally I find in some ways the update made it _harder_ to use Modern with mouse & keyboard.

Seriously I agree with pretty much the whole article but this point.

Windows 8 works GREAT with keyboard and mouse. There are just a few changes that people latched on to and wouldn't take the 5 minutes to learn.

Reminds me of Windows Vista, although not quite for the same reason:

- Windows Vista: Too aggressive in terms of tech platform changes.
- Windows 7: Focus on platform improvements, few user interface changes besides Superbar.
- Windows 8: Too aggressive in terms of end user changes.
- Windows 9: Focus on usage improvements, few platform changes?

I think Windows 9 will proceed on the road paved by Windows 8.1 and "Update 1". It's probably going to offer more convenient usage regardless your hardware.

With Microsoft's new Universal Apps initiative, I think they already are where they want to be for time being in terms of the platform. Remaining is to truly convince Windows 7 users to move.

Edited by Northgrove, May 15 2014, 3:22pm :

"When the platform launched, it was a dramatic change from what consumers were accustomed too and it has caused backlash."

Ok, for the last time... The problem with Windows 8 was not that the Modern UI was different but that it was the wrong UI for desktop PCs. An UI designed for small screens and touch input makes no sense on desktop computers.

The whole people can't accept change is nonsense. I have been a computer technician for like forever and my first PC booted to a blinking cursor. No, I don't still use DOS but won't be using Windows 8 either.

Sorry Microsoft, the Modern UI sucks for desktop computers. You made the same mistake with Windows CE when tried to force a desktop UI on mobile devices. The reverse does not work either...

01Michael10 said,
"When the platform launched, it was a dramatic change from what consumers were accustomed too and it has caused backlash."

Ok, for the last time... The problem with Windows 8 was not that the Modern UI was different but that it was the wrong UI for desktop PCs. An UI designed for small screens and touch input makes no sense on desktop computers.

The whole people can't accept change is nonsense. I have been a computer technician for like forever and my first PC booted to a blinking cursor. No, I don't still use DOS but won't be using Windows 8 either.

Sorry Microsoft, the Modern UI sucks for desktop computers. You made the same mistake with Windows CE when tried to force a desktop UI on mobile devices. The reverse does not work either...

Modern UI isn't a mobile only UI... You've used it for years in Windows Media Center, so why all of a sudden is it "bad for desktops"?

Dot Matrix said,

Modern UI isn't a mobile only UI... You've used it for years in Windows Media Center, so why all of a sudden is it "bad for desktops"?

It sucks on the desktop because of all those full screen apps. They are absolutely unnecessary on a large monitor. For example, while writing a report, I want to listen to some music. So I navigate to my music folder (which is only a small window using only a portion of my screen), click to play a song, and am suddenly thrust into the full screen music app. When I want to return to my previous activity, I have return to the start screen, and then return to the desktop.

This just poor design that doesn't account for what people really want. On large monitors, people want windowed apps. I actually like the tile interface. It can display quite a lot of information in a relatively small area. But on my nice monitor at home, I do NOT want full screen music, photo, internet, etc apps. And I think there are a lot of people who agree with me on that.

Hambone72 said,

It sucks on the desktop because of all those full screen apps. They are absolutely unnecessary on a large monitor. For example, while writing a report, I want to listen to some music. So I navigate to my music folder (which is only a small window using only a portion of my screen), click to play a song, and am suddenly thrust into the full screen music app. When I want to return to my previous activity, I have return to the start screen, and then return to the desktop.

This just poor design that doesn't account for what people really want. On large monitors, people want windowed apps. I actually like the tile interface. It can display quite a lot of information in a relatively small area. But on my nice monitor at home, I do NOT want full screen music, photo, internet, etc apps. And I think there are a lot of people who agree with me on that.

You don't have to do that at all. Use window snapping to navigate. Not sure why you have to think you need to go back to start to get places. ALT-TAB still works, and using your mouse to navigate back by using the top left corner is the easiest route. WIN+D will also take you back to the desktop. You can also still change application defaults. Windows 8 never prevent you from doing that.

Dot Matrix said,

Modern UI isn't a mobile only UI... You've used it for years in Windows Media Center, so why all of a sudden is it "bad for desktops"?

Huh? You are comparing a general purpose OS UI to a single purpose app UI? ...and who the hell uses Windows Media Center?

01Michael10 said,

Huh? You are comparing a general purpose OS UI to a single purpose app UI? ...and who the hell uses Windows Media Center?

Lots of people do. Many clamored for it when Windows 8 was released.

It sucks because of elements you don't have to use, and in no way impede the use of older programs?

The desktop is still there, and you can work almost exactly as you did before (especially if you use a menu program).

I just don't get how _adding_ new elements and a new, optional program style to the OS, while retaining most of the older design and full compatibility with older programs, makes it suck.

Dot Matrix said,

Lots of people do. Many clamored for it when Windows 8 was released.

Ok... In our reality here, in the year 2014, people mostly use specially boxes (Roku, etc.) or if using a PC (or mobile device) then Plex, Steam, or XMBC.

Edited by 01Michael10, May 15 2014, 5:28pm :

Because the UI of Windows Media Center (XP MCE 2005) was not the default UI for the entire OS - the MCE default UI was that of XP Professional. 01Michael10 is basically saying that unless the UI is the XP/Vista7 UI by default, it's "wrong" for desktops - this SAME argument dates back to that of GNOME 2.x vs. GNOME3/GNOME Shell. GNOME 3.x (and GNOME Shell) are like ModernUI in their utter lack of pointing-device-centricity - which is ALSO why both (and all their progeny) have come under a massive amount of criticism from the pointing-device-centric community. (It has nothing whatever to do with - nor is it unique to - Windows; look at the whackage SteamOS has been getting.) No; ModernUI can be used without touch - I've been pointing that out regularly going all the way back to the Windows (8) Developer Preview. The criticism is entirely due to it not only lacking centricity on pointing devices, but being glaringly obvious at it. (Remember, before Windows 8.1, there was no "Start orb", and before 8.1 update 1, you had a two-stage boot where you stopped at the StartScreen. Both uber dicta came DIRECTLY from, and at the insistence of, the pointing-device-centric.)

The Kinect decision came from three different sources - the Chinese market (and changes necessary for it), privacy concerns outside of China, and (believe it or not), the block diagram of the PS4.

1. The PRC marketplace.

Any company that wants to grow is going to look at the PRC and salivate - 500 million possible users would naturally be a rather fat target market. However, do you really think that the government OF those five hundred million consumers is stupid? They are going to insist on quid pro quo - and one thing that would be predictable (given what is known about the PRC government) is the elimination of Kinect. (Not because they don't trust Microsoft - we already know the PRC government trusts only itself. Kinect is worse - it is a device capable of surveillance - audio and video - that is not under government control. Even though Kinect is entirely under user control, that is reason enough for the PRC to keep it out.)

2. Privacy concerns.

This comes directly from the brouhaha over Edward Snowden and the exposure of yet more NSA snoopery (as well as similar programs being run by similar agencies in other countries). How many countries are looking to follow the lead of the PRC (and likely the Russians) and ban the inclusion of products like Kinect (and PS Eye/Move, for that matter) in the consoles sold there?

3. The PS4 block diagram
Lastly, compare the PS4 block diagram to that of the PS3 - how much change is there really? Leave the hardware changes completely out - how much change was there in how the console in general works? Believe it or not, there was actually nearly NO change - if anything, PS4 almost didn't move. Good for Sony, as they lost quite a bit on PS3 - they weren't exactly in a position to innovate further. In a way it was also good for those looking at PS4 that already had PS3 - other than the games, changes were basically nil. Face facts - all too many people are, in general, change-averse. Sony changed little because they had no real option - it had nothing to do with what users wanted. However, their advertising campaign didn't go into that; instead, it played on the "back to basics" mantra that works wonders during economic downturns.

01Michael10 - Given their druthers, most USERS will change as little as they can get away with. Companies that succeed are those that can convince their customers that they can't get away with it. However, during a lousy economy, making that argument is harder than ever.

Dot Matrix said,

You don't have to do that at all. Use window snapping to navigate. Not sure why you have to think you need to go back to start to get places. ALT-TAB still works, and using your mouse to navigate back by using the top left corner is the easiest route. WIN+D will also take you back to the desktop. You can also still change application defaults. Windows 8 never prevent you from doing that.

None of which is as easy as:
Click play (song plays)
Click minimize (eyes refocus on Word)

There is simply a better way to do thing than full screen apps on a large monitor, and that way already existed in Windows. Forcing full screen apps onto mouse/keyboard/large-screen users was welcomed/excused by only a few.

Your opinion isn't wrong. I simply disagree with it, as do most other Windows customers.

Better yet, most music players support the media keys in the window preview. So why keep a seperate window open at all?

and @ 3. The PS4 block diagram
Lol go look up the hardware from both, they are vastly different.

Hambone72 said,

None of which is as easy as:
Click play (song plays)
Click minimize (eyes refocus on Word)

There is simply a better way to do thing than full screen apps on a large monitor, and that way already existed in Windows. Forcing full screen apps onto mouse/keyboard/large-screen users was welcomed/excused by only a few.

Wait a minute, you describe a using MS word (which is desktop mode), and dare I say listening to music via web browser and minimized which can be done on window 8 absolutely no problem.

Correct. That is exactly what I was describing, and it is no problem.

Upthread I was talking about how being forced into full screen apps from desktop mode sucks, and Dot Matrix suggested that I use snapping or using my mouse to navigate to the top left corner to navigate.

Those are not terrible solutions, mind you, but they are as simple as the already existing ability to just click play, then click minimize. All without ever having to leave the desktop. Which is what I was (trying to be) saying in the quoted post.

You are talking hardware - I am talking the block diagram (which is completely different). A block diagram (similar to a flowchart for programmers - and identical to the block diagram included with any motherboard's documentation) is more a general - not specific - layout of how the system in general operates; it's why I specifically dismissed hardware changes in terms of PS3 vs. PS4, and instead concentrates on how the hardware actually functions. The differences between PS3 and PS4 are entirely hardware-driven - not block-diagram driven. Basically, other than those differences, the difference between PS3 and PS4 is exactly zero.

And why did specialty boxes get created in the first place? Those specialty boxes filed a need that existing hardware (or software) didn't. XB1, unlike XB360, does not ignore those same specialty boxes - they can be integrated via Media Center. Contrariwise, how does PS4 treat those same specialty boxes?

Ballmer started going out to left field with Vista, course corrected with 7, then thought everyone wanted iPad interfaces with 8 to get their slice of the iPad/Tablet boom. Balmer should not have been left in charge. A salesman in charge of a tech company is never a good thing.

I have much more faith in the new regime. I love this article and agree with everything in it. Bring back the old MS please.

- Bill Gates signed off on the Vista RTM
- There's plenty of room for polish in Windows 8
- Microsoft should look at why users love Win XP/7 so much and introduce a Classic Windows mode in Windows 9 (with easy switch back to Metro if they want it)
- Ballmer signed off on Windows 7 and Office 2010, what I think are the pinnacle in terms of Microsoft quality
- Ballmer or not, it wouldn't have made a difference. Microsoft took a risk with a completely new ecosystem. Gates even was aware of and agreed on it
- It's going to take time to eat into iPhone/Android market share. A two-color theme OS doesn't help much from my opinion (most potential users would come from the more-artistic iOS/Android platforms - Windows Phone would just look dull to them)
- Customer feedback should be high priority at the moment - plenty on the web
- I believe Microsoft have the potential to dominate the market once again. I just hope Nadella is aware of what made Microsoft a huge success in the 90s

68k said,
- Bill Gates signed off on the Vista RTM
- There's plenty of room for polish in Windows 8
- Microsoft should look at why users love Win XP/7 so much and introduce a Classic Windows mode in Windows 9 (with easy switch back to Metro if they want it)
- Ballmer signed off on Windows 7 and Office 2010, what I think are the pinnacle in terms of Microsoft quality
- Ballmer or not, it wouldn't have made a difference. Microsoft took a risk with a completely new ecosystem. Gates even was aware of and agreed on it
- It's going to take time to eat into iPhone/Android market share. A two-color theme OS doesn't help much from my opinion (most potential users would come from the more-artistic iOS/Android platforms - Windows Phone would just look dull to them)
- Customer feedback should be high priority at the moment - plenty on the web
- I believe Microsoft have the potential to dominate the market once again. I just hope Nadella is aware of what made Microsoft a huge success in the 90s

And one most important point - if Windows Vista didn't exist there would be no Windows 7, no DirectX, no WDDM etc. and Microsoft would be in a worse situation than they are in now - they would be in a situation akin to where Apple was circa 1997 with a co-operative multi-tasking single user operating system without protected memory whilst its major rival was offering something for consumers with all the latest modern features.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

And one most important point - if Windows Vista didn't exist there would be no Windows 7, no DirectX, no WDDM etc. and Microsoft would be in a worse situation than they are in now - they would be in a situation akin to where Apple was circa 1997 with a co-operative multi-tasking single user operating system without protected memory whilst its major rival was offering something for consumers with all the latest modern features.

Direct X has been around since Windows 95, it's been a core part of each Windows home user release product since.

Aergan said,
Direct X has been around since Windows 95, it's been a core part of each Windows home user release product since.

Obviously when I said DirectX I was referring to DirectX 10.0.

But, for a company as large as Microsoft, making these moves could not have come easily and that's why the leadership change in Redmond is already starting to pay dividends because we suspect under the old regime, these changes would have not occurred.

The leadership change in Redmond hasn't done much of anything yet. All these changes to Windows 8, Office for iPad and the Nokia purchase all happened under Ballmer's watch.

bdsams said,
Xbox changes were under Nadella and the early announcement of the start menu appears to be under his watch too.

I also tend to believe Phil Spencer had a big influence in the new direction Xbox is heading.

bdsams said,
Xbox changes were under Nadella and the early announcement of the start menu appears to be under his watch too.

The Xbox Kinect change, yes. However, MS had a working demo of the Start Menu barely a month after Nadella took over. About a week after the Start Menu reveal, Microsoft then showed off interactive live tiles. That's no where near enough time to get all that approved, organized, coded and available within a month.

Edited by Figure 8 Dash, May 15 2014, 2:18pm :

Figure 8 Dash said,

The Xbox Kinect change, yes. However, MS had a working demo of the Start Menu barely a month after Nadella took over. And about a week later Microsoft showed off interactive live tiles. That's no where near enough time to get all that approved, organized, coded and available within a month.

Its probably something they had for a long time, Nadella could have been to one to finally approve of using it.

Lord Method Man said,

Its probably something they had for a long time, Nadella could have been to one to finally approve of using it.

Seems to me that those projects already had the green light and it's up to Nadella to see them through.

bdsams said,
Xbox changes were under Nadella and the early announcement of the start menu appears to be under his watch too.

It is also important to remember that a given manager from a division might want one thing but by share power of personality and the CEO determination to impose his vision it is possible that many ideas might have been over ridden and thus we have Nadella, now in the drivers seat, who no longer has to bite his tongue and he can voice in disapproval of many of the decisions that were 'ok'ed' prior to his appointment.

sinis said,
it just that Microsoft's Users are Unlike Apple's .

In what way? What about users of both? I live in Windows and Mac OS X daily...

Mr Nom Nom's said,

That makes absolutely no sense what so ever.

Actually it does. The changes made to the UI including the return of the start menu were not needed and Microsoft, again, choose to back-track instead of fix the actual problem which is their persistent incompetence in selling and marketing their ideas and (design) philosophy. If the exact same change was made by Apple they would be able to present, explain, market and sell it as Gods next gift to mankind and the Apple users would/will take it as it is as since Apple feels it is the right path it must be. That's not to say there will be people having issues but those will be worked with to make them adopt and accept the changes.

Me and I am sure a lot of other people could not care less about the start menu as it is clutter and a mess to me and I was happy to see it gone. The fact it's back without a choice to disable as well as now having to see any modernUI apps open on my taskbar annoys me to now end. I want the modern UI apps to stay where they shoudl be and that is hidden in the upper left hand corner of my screen where I can find and get back to them in no time.

I feel I have to sacrifice progress for a bunch of vocal monkeys who would prefer Microsoft had stopped at windows XP. Microsoft just does not have the balls or spine to stand up for what they believe is best and will work.

paulheu said,
Actually it does.

No it doesn't make any sense - his post was a single sentence completely lacking in content hence I said "That makes absolutely no sense what so ever.". Btw, the question was directed at the original poster - the fact fact that it took someone else to chime in to fill in the blanks where he should have made a post speaks volumes about the poor quality of his contribution to the discussion.

paulheu said,
Microsoft, again, choose to back-track instead of fix the actual problem which is their persistent incompetence in selling and marketing their ideas and (design) philosophy.

Yeah. That was the problem with WIndows 8. Marketing....

OR just the fact that their design decisions were just plain bad. No amount of marketing can cover up a bad product.

Joswin said,

Yeah. That was the problem with WIndows 8. Marketing....

OR just the fact that their design decisions were just plain bad. No amount of marketing can cover up a bad product.

Couldn't have said it any better.

Perhaps we have new leadership because the old regime made boneheaded decisions that failed and need to be corrected. And that is tough for any company to do, that is, if the old regime is still in place, which it is not.f

Some steps or leaps, however you categorize them, as simply misteps. Not too much, too soon, just the wrong step. You step in ####, you back up, wipe it off, and don't step in the same spot twice.