Evaluating Microsoft's new image, can they be cool?

In my very first article here at Neowin, I posed the question: "Can Microsoft overtake Apple in 'coolness'?"

It goes without saying that over the past little while we have been presented with news from Microsoft that leaves us thinking, "cool!" or even, "awesome!"

Firstly, the Gates and Seinfeld advertisements. Granted, these were met with some criticism, but they presented a face of Microsoft not really seen prior. The advertisements certainly succeeded in generating conversation and soon after, while people were still talking, the "I'm a PC" advertisements surfaced. The criticisms for these advertisements were largely positive. Microsoft garnered applause by many for not resorting to the negative (yet effective) advertising style adopted by Apple. This was the first in many occurrences that have redefined Microsoft over the past while.

The Mojave Experiment also seemed to dispel a few myths about Windows Vista. It certainly illuminated how vastly the "anti-windows" meme spread, but more importantly it illuminated how unjustified those with the negative predispositions actually were.

Windows 7. With the beta being tested by many, the results are overwhelmingly positive. It is safe to say that no Microsoft operating system (with the exception of perhaps the earliest) has been met with the positive reviews that Windows 7 is experiencing, while still in a pre-release form. The anticipation is high and while I don't feel that Vista was as bad as many said it was, many of those who chose to forego a Vista upgrade are considering an upgrade to Windows 7.

Additionally, the announcement of the Zune HD has been accepted with anticipation. While Apple's iPod is still the dominant player in the portable music field, that has not stopped Microsoft from making efforts and from chipping away at Apple's market share. Love the Zune, or hate the Zune, competition is healthy.

At E3, Microsoft revealed Project Natal. Again, this was widely received with anticipation and can be safely classified as an innovation, something which Microsoft has been accused of never making.

Most recently, Microsoft released Bing, their decision engine. It's a bit too early to gauge the reception on this one, but from my own personal experience it is certainly a hit. I think the moving away from "search engine", something predominantly associated with Google to "decision engine", something that seems to transcend that which a traditional search offers us, was perhaps one of the most important concepts behind Bing and furthermore, the most accurate classification of the features therein. In many ways, there is no competing with Google in the search field. Microsoft has decided not to, and instead is attempting to redefine the usefulness and effectiveness of the field itself. The most recent Bing advertisements convey, what I think to be accurately, the folly of traditional search engines.

Oh, and let's not forget the Microsoft store. Perhaps not as flashy as the other announcement made by Microsoft, I think it will be successful in popularizing the brand amongst shoppers who would have otherwise only seen a glowing Apple logo while strolling through a mall.

The above is truly a wealth of announcements, ones that I feel have served to systematically redefine Microsoft's image. Whereas in the past Microsoft was touted as being tasteless and stale, the future seems to be a bright one where Microsoft is fresh, innovative and dare I say, cool?

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If MS being cool will result in MS users turning into Apple fanboy like characters, please no. Stay uncool.
I guess this is what it comes down to right? Cool or not cool, that is the question.
Me personally, I just try to keep an open mind and base my judgment on what I know and what a company does. Give credit when credit is due, slam when slamming is due and not base judgment on preconceived notions of a company.
That said, I feel like MS is on the right track regarding their products at the moment.

You mean MS is trying to have a cohesive image? It's not really working. They have different brands, all with their own strategies and face to the world that have nothing to do with each other. Nobody thinks of MS as a brand or a whole. They don't have an image at all, aside from the one that their competitors give them. Plus the way MS keeps showing up in the news is just because of court cases or problems, not for anything really positive.

The sensors inside the natal project camera are very similar to what prosumer digital camera have inside, that's hy it can track stuff, of course if your digital camera had more processing powr it would do a lot more stuff.

It's very cool, but not something that came out of nowhere.

Microsoft has never tried to beat Apple in the "cool" factor, they have more important priorities than manufacturing status symbols for kids.

I think "Microsoft" is probably too large to be cool. Take a look at Google now, as they've grown larger and their portfolio of products has expanded, people have started to become somewhat wary of them. They have a controlling position in search and advertising, and embedded tracking (check out the source code to this site and others, it's full of google ad hooks and googleapis and googlesyndication and all kinds of other tools that provide information to google that is used for tracking and profiling, even if "anonymously"). They're using that dominance to attempt to push specific standards into dominant positions (their implementation of HTML5 is focused only on specific items that are useful to them, ignoring other features, which IMHO is right next to the old Mosaic/Microsoft strategies of making up their own tags and pushing them on the standards board).

I think people are definitely getting uncomfortable with that, they don't like being tied to a single platform for their email and their search and their browser and their whatever. I think this gives bing a real window (har har) of opportunity to provide an alternative for people looking to replace one or more of those applications with one that's not controlled by google (and my gmail account isn't going anywhere, so search is pretty much what I'm going to look to change first).

But just because "Microsoft" won't ever be cool doesn't mean that their technologies and products can't be cool. Entertainment and Devices has pushed Microsoft into cool tech in ways that that company has never experienced before. Microsoft Research is doing on the software side the kind of cool things that IBM and Bell Labs were known for in the past, abstract basic research and actual implementation of that research into real shippable products.

There are always people that are just going to reject everything out of any given company out of hand though, especially large ones (often for good reasons, I think).

I think the last time I felt as positive about a Microsoft operating system as I do about Windows 7 was when I was beta testing Windows 95, it's been that long.

in regards to microsoft vs. apple, it has never been about "coolness".
i hate apple for their arrogant/elitist attitude and their childish and deceitful advertising. i don't like being lied to, it shows a lack of respect for the consumer. and i don't want to suffer the laughably misplaced 'infallible' perspective that pervades their products and devotees.

what i like microsoft for is their professionalism. they are straight forward, they don't attempt to deceive the consumer, they don't descend into petty attacks on their competition. and when i use a microsoft product, i feel like i am using a product for my own ends, not forcibly indoctrinated into some kind of club i need to fanatically defend.

furthermore, when a company constantly attacks the competition the way apple does, it just gives me the impression that their own product can't stand on it's own merit, and for a consumer to choose it, the contextual standard (competing products) must be lowered through directed (uneducated, shallow, outdated, fabricated) attacks. this doesn't inspire respect on my part.

i would love to support the underdog, but apple makes doing so such a bitter and frankly embarrassing experience. if only there was a zune hd phone

robotfood said,
in regards to microsoft vs. apple, it has never been about "coolness".
i hate apple for their arrogant/elitist attitude and their childish and deceitful advertising. i don't like being lied to, it shows a lack of respect for the consumer.

Apparently the 80s and 90s didn't exist or you are too young to remember. I'm not - I remember being literally ****ed on by Microsoft for almost 2 decades, I remember very well the strongarm tactics they used against competitors forcing them out of business, I remember all the lies and crap they poured on us IT people and most of all the consumer.

robotfood said,
what i like microsoft for is their professionalism.

Of course. Linux is communist, cancer, anti-american?

I can see the professionalism oozing right there.

robotfood said,
they are straight forward, they don't attempt to deceive the consumer, they don't descend into petty attacks on their competition.

See above.

daPhoenix said,

Apparently the 80s and 90s didn't exist or you are too young to remember. I'm not - I remember being literally ****ed on by Microsoft for almost 2 decades, I remember very well the strongarm tactics they used against competitors forcing them out of business, I remember all the lies and crap they poured on us IT people and most of all the consumer.


Of course. Linux is communist, cancer, anti-american?

I can see the professionalism oozing right there.


See above.

Bitter and therefore your words carry little weight.

Well, they are certainly trying, with "Bing" and whatnot. That name is supposed to be even more edgy and cool than Google. MS often fails at it though, for some peculiar reason. They try to think up a new marketing campaign, and come up with something odd involving Seinfeld. They try to make a notable show, and come up with a sweaty Steve Ballmer shouting "developers" to disco music. They try to make a representation in the mp3 player industry and come up with the Zune, looking like an iPod, but now in brown.

Still, I think it could work, but boy do they need to improve.

Applaud this man. That's it, they fail for some 'peculiar reason'. And it is peculiar. Peculiar because with all the revenue available to MS, they should (in theory) be able to blow the competition out of the water. Yet they just don't seem to be able to make a dent.

I guess the situation really reflects on how nebulous 'cool' actually is. Apple have always been seen as cool in general terms, but back in the day, cool wasn't the hot seller that it is today. Ergo, Microsoft, and many others, never really pursued 'cool'. Now, of course, 'cool' is way up there when it comes to selling products but Microsoft, and many other companies besides, have neglected it for so long that they just don't know what it is these days. They end up having to fake their way through things and that always shows to those who recognize genuine cool when they see it. And as any cool person will tell you, if there's one thing worse than never having been cool, it's trying to be cool and failing! You just end up looking uncool AND stupid.

Apple, love them or hate them, pursued cool even when it wasn't important, or, dare I say, cool.

It goes without saying that over the past little while we have been presented with news from Microsoft that leaves us thinking, "cool!" or even, "awesome!"

Far be it from me to rain on your imaginary Microsoft parade, but I think you're a little confused here.

You say 'we' when I think you mean 'I'. I, for one, most certainly have not been left thinking 'cool' and I don't think I've ever used the somewhat tedious 'awesome' in my life! My point being that you are clearly an MS fan already, and thus you need no conversion. I, as someone who does not worship at the same altar, have seen nothing new in recent times. I see Microsoft throwing good money after bad with their 'Bing' which we all know just isn't going to reach anywhere near the dizzy heights of Google, and I see ads which are, frankly, tedious attempts at being 'cool' but which end up seeming more akin to your parents dancing at your wedding night - embarrassing.

The only people they seem to be appealing to are those who already freely sip at the cup of MS. That's hardly progress, and it's certainly not cool.

Innovative, not really. They are moving the right direction whether it's cool or not is disputable. Positive would best describe it in my view.

At E3, Microsoft revealed Project Natal. Again, this was widely received with anticipation and can be safely classified as an innovation, something which Microsoft has been accused of never making.

Nope sorry I have to disagree there, there is nothing new about it, granted it's a lot better polished than eye toy but the ps2 had this sort of stuff long before the 360 yes granted it isn't no where near as good as project natal mainly because Sony are slack like that but it sure as hell isn't new..

Fubar said,
Nope sorry I have to disagree there, there is nothing new about it, granted it's a lot better polished than eye toy but the ps2 had this sort of stuff long before the 360 yes granted it isn't no where near as good as project natal mainly because Sony are slack like that but it sure as hell isn't new..

you couldnt be more wrong. the Eye toy is basically a high end webcam, that is it.

Natal is a High End Webcam with a revolutionary 3D Depth Infrared Webcam which is the real brain of the Natal device (something no other webcam like eyetoy has)

Natal takes 48 joint captures and uses that to follow you wherever you go and the webcam works jointly with the depth camera to assume where your hand is if its hidden behind your back by looking at the skeletal position based on the 48 joint captures it is following. Tell me the Eye toy comes even close to doing that.

It has facial detection and can detect the face and colors of upto 4 individuals at the same time.

According to Demo's it can detect all this upto 40 feet away, can the eye toy even come close to this?

the Natal has voice recognition, can the Eye Toy do that?

if you are holding your hands like a wheel but instead of doing it in the normal position you have it high above your head, according to live journalist demo's it detected it as well. can the eye toy do that?


when you compare NATAL to Eye toy, its like Comparing the Xbox 360 with an Atari 2500, sure they are both game systems, but Xbox 360 is generations above

Please dont fall for the Sony FUD

maash said,
you couldnt be more wrong. the Eye toy is basically a high end webcam, that is it.

Natal is a High End Webcam with a revolutionary 3D Depth Infrared Webcam which is the real brain of the Natal device (something no other webcam like eyetoy has)

Natal takes 48 joint captures and uses that to follow you wherever you go and the webcam works jointly with the depth camera to assume where your hand is if its hidden behind your back by looking at the skeletal position based on the 48 joint captures it is following. Tell me the Eye toy comes even close to doing that.

It has facial detection and can detect the face and colors of upto 4 individuals at the same time.

According to Demo's it can detect all this upto 40 feet away, can the eye toy even come close to this?

the Natal has voice recognition, can the Eye Toy do that?

if you are holding your hands like a wheel but instead of doing it in the normal position you have it high above your head, according to live journalist demo's it detected it as well. can the eye toy do that?


Please dont fall for the Sony FUD


Sorry but i have the eye cam for the ps3 and it does the same as project natal aka with creature feature and a boat load more funky little apps, dont worry i wont fall for sonys fud i'll just go buy what im using on my ps3, like i stated before granted project natal is better polished the the eye toy but it sure wasnt innovative

Fubar said,

Sorry but i have the eye cam for the ps3 and it does the same as project natal aka with creature feature and a boat load more funky little apps, dont worry i wont fall for sonys fud i'll just go buy what im using on my ps3, like i stated before granted project natal is better polished the the eye toy but it sure wasnt innovative

so you are saying Eye toy has 3D image depth ? which is the brains of the Natal device?

the only similiarity is it has a webcam device as well. that is it.

no im saying that microsoft took sonys idea or the idea of motion senser and added to it thus being far from original and innovative

Fubar said,
no im saying that microsoft took sonys idea or the idea of motion senser and added to it thus being far from original and innovative

so if Sony's eyetoy already has motion sensing then why are they using wands to have motion?

or simply put why cant Sony use thier Cell processor to use software to detect motion sensing with the Eye Toy without having to develop wands to do it for them

it does have motion senser hence why you can play creature feature with no controls at all, regarding the cell processor i have no idea ask them but the fact is you don't need to use any controls with the eye toy. those wands are just another way of interacting with the camera and you can tell at e3 it was rushed and at the very very early stages unlike the project natal

Fubar said,
it does have motion senser hence why you can play creature feature with no controls at all, regarding the cell processor i have no idea ask them but the fact is you don't need to use any controls with the eye toy. those wands are just another way of interacting with the camera and you can tell at e3 it was rushed and at the very very early stages unlike the project natal

so does my 10$ webcam have motion sensing? i have a software where when I move my head, the avatar on screen bobbles it's head towards where my head is headed...hmmmm..wow so this chinese made 10 bucks webcam can do some of the things Natal can right?

I think you dont know the facts. I do. The wands are used for depth perception and motion sensing, to the next generation, which the eye toy cannot do.

Oh and Sony's tech is actually closer. they said they will release it in Spring 2010 while Natal wont be released until atleast Fall of 2010.

ok then if it has no motion senser how does it work with creature feature? surely that needs motion senser to work? no?

Fubar said,
ok then if it has no motion senser how does it work with creature feature? surely that needs motion senser to work? no?

thats because any webcam can detect changes in images, it cannot do human changes or depth perception and it can never be precise because it does not have depth perception, which the Natal 3D imaging device entails

Sony's new motion sensing technology is leagues better than the Xbox's. Like the Sony tech-demo said, there's some things you just need buttons for. You can't play hardcore games without buttons.

Oh, and does your Xbox have sub-millimeter tracking??? No. Having a "magic wand" in your hand is way more accurate than just a camera. We all know that.

And you don't know how well the facial recognition works, although they should be able to make it work. All of your facts are based off a video that they made, which isn't real. Sony's at least had a live demo, proving that their technology works.

maash said,
thats because any webcam can detect changes in images, it cannot do human changes or depth perception and it can never be precise because it does not have depth perception, which the Natal 3D imaging device entails

Personally i still say it needs motion sensering on the camera to actually track the hand movements in the game how else would it work?

@andrewbares -

I was quite impressed with Sony for calling in the Eye Toy guys, it obviously wasn't rehearsed but they were brave enough to show it in an early stage of prototyping. If Sony had gone first I doubt we would have seen that at such an early stage. I was amazed at just how accurate and fast the motion tracking is.

I am old school and really don't enjoy the idea of flailing my arms about at all sounds like too much effort when I game to relax after work... So none of these motion controls interest me in the slightest. Even my dad enjoys gaming and he is nearly 50 lol... he was better than me at Tekken but now I'm beating him again.

andrewbares said,
Sony's new motion sensing technology is leagues better than the Xbox's. Like the Sony tech-demo said, there's some things you just need buttons for. You can't play hardcore games without buttons.

Oh, and does your Xbox have sub-millimeter tracking??? No. Having a "magic wand" in your hand is way more accurate than just a camera. We all know that.

And you don't know how well the facial recognition works, although they should be able to make it work. All of your facts are based off a video that they made, which isn't real. Sony's at least had a live demo, proving that their technology works.


All good points. I don't want Andrew's post to get lost, because this is the primary Sony arguement, and a damn good one. The tactil feel and precision win me over.

Microsoft's solution feels like its capturing the Wii market (and type of games), and I'm sorry but I don't like Wii games.

andrewbares said,
Sony's new motion sensing technology is leagues better than the Xbox's. Like the Sony tech-demo said, there's some things you just need buttons for. You can't play hardcore games without buttons.

And why couldn't MS's be used in conjunction with a wireless joystick or remote? It could be just you don't NEED one.

And sub millimeter tracking? In the end of the day the developer or Sony themselves are going to have to filter out that level of precision anyway since barely anyone will be able to keep the device that still anyway. I know I sure as hell don't want my game or cursor shaking around as my body moves in sub millimeter proportions...hell that'll likely induce motion sickness.

MS's is still a work in progress so whose to say it won't be more than accurate enough for the tasks it's designed for.

@Andrewbares Sony's motion sensing techonology is Wii rip off crap. For things you need buttons, there already IS A buttoned controller with the XBOX 360. Project Natal can even detect objects like scanning a sheet of paper or skateboard, so it would have a broader support of controllers or infact objects than the PS 3 can ever muster. If you need sub millimeter tracking, use the XBOX 360 keyboard. Sure as hell, the demos that used Natal weren't aimed to require such tracking.
Showing that sex toy like motion controller would only turn on the hardcore PS 3 fanboys. Sad to see that's the best Sony could come up with.

Having witnessed the mindless dribble spewed by unofficial beta testers for Windows 7 for the past six months here at Neowin, I'm convinced that certain circles of the user base already think Microsoft is the coolest thing since sliced bread.

ThomMcK said,
The windows 7 beta and RC were both public so how can anyone be unofficial?

"I downloaded leaked build XXXX from a torrent last night but I just noticed blah blah blah don't work right, someone with a legitimate testing account please complain for me..."

Budious said,
Having witnessed the mindless dribble spewed by unofficial beta testers for Windows 7 for the past six months here at Neowin, I'm convinced that certain circles of the user base already think Microsoft is the coolest thing since sliced bread.


The word you are looking for is "drivel."
Another good one is "pap" (Bing that one)

Dribble is what you wipe off your chin. Spewing dribble is quite nasty and unCOOL.

Budious said,
Having witnessed the mindless dribble spewed by unofficial beta testers for Windows 7 for the past six months here at Neowin, I'm convinced that certain circles of the user base already think Microsoft is the coolest thing since sliced bread.

Try it. You may like it. But remember, there's just no pleasing some people.

At E3, Microsoft revealed Project Natal. Again, this was widely received with anticipation and can be safely classified as an innovation, something which Microsoft has been accused of never making.

Umm, I wouldn't say that Natal is innovative. We've had games that are controlled by a camera for a while now. It's nothing new. And anyways, who says that Natal even works as they described? The accuracy of a camera-driven control scheme is really limited, but it's even been done before, so there's no innovation to speak of.

Those other ones were nowhere near the level of natal but, at least not the eyetoy like accessories available for current consoles. If they were then Sony wouldn't have bothered showing a prototype for their motion controller since they would already have had a viable solution.

I think apple is too popular to be overtaken in coolness. After all, you don't really see people talking about how cool PCs with a windows operating system are. People just see a Mac and instantly think "that's cool. because Apple makes it".

I know hundreds of people who don't even know about Apple, but they DO know about Microsoft and Windows and PCs. When you take the whole world into account and not just the US, Apple isn't even as much popular as Microsoft.

TheGlassPrison said,
I think apple is too popular to be overtaken in coolness. After all, you don't really see people talking about how cool PCs with a windows operating system are. People just see a Mac and instantly think "that's cool. because Apple makes it".

Really? I see a system I didn't build myself and can't touch my PC. Not only that I think, there is someone who doesn't game, can't game, and is probably an elitist snob.

TheGlassPrison said,
I think apple is too popular to be overtaken in coolness. After all, you don't really see people talking about how cool PCs with a windows operating system are. People just see a Mac and instantly think "that's cool. because Apple makes it".

Well I think thats in the wake of the ipotty success. It was the best subliminal advertisement ever. Even I think the ipod is cool and I dont even know why or how that is. And I dont care much about it. I never bought it and I try to hate it but the message just fixed in my mind that its cool. And this drives me nuts. How did they get me. I dont get it. This is powerful stuff. What if some day these guys make me like a president that i just hate and make me vote for him (Bush)...just kidding.

nbtc971 said,
Really? I see a system I didn't build myself and can't touch my PC. Not only that I think, there is someone who doesn't game, can't game, and is probably an elitist snob. ;)

What if I just prefer the Mac OS X operating system and have no need for gaming? In the web design world, Macs pretty much rule.

TheGlassPrison said,
I think apple is too popular to be overtaken in coolness. After all, you don't really see people talking about how cool PCs with a windows operating system are. People just see a Mac and instantly think "that's cool. because Apple makes it".

I disagree, I think it has a lot more to do with appearances to the more average user, I mean thats probably the first thing average-Joe notices about Apple products in general, that clean, well-made looking appearence.

Similar things can be said about a PC in a good case (or a heavily skinned and customised Windows copy)

Exactly. Cool doesn't mean it's good. I just wish MS would focus on marketing more...especially product titles. That's where they are really uncool, for lack of a better word.

Whats wrong with both in their own markets kinda way? Kinda like...

iPhone is cooler than blackberry to a consumer.
-but-
Blackberry is cooler than iPhone for a business.

As long as the product works the way you want, "Cool" to you doesn't matter

Agreed. I could care less about a product or company being "cool", my first priority is being provided with something that will suit my needs and wants.

If it's able to pull off a bit of a "cool" factor as an after thought, while still being professional and suiting my needs... that's great.

Microsoft is just trying to appeal to the actual computer users of today and tomorrow. Not those of yesteryear who were left with a single option to survive the new technological era by learning Windows and being stuck with it.
Apple sees that kids want to feel "cool". So they offer both good looking technology and great utility in that tech, as well as a social group among associates.
Microsoft does not have the "cool" factor many younger people want, so it looks unappealing. They make up for it by showing their face to a new generation while Apple keeps trying to defame them for software flaws.

It's just like with one of my friends; she's planning on getting 'gloves' (tattoos) on her hands someday. I call that outrageous and unprofessional. She says our generation will not think that way. She said that was part of the older generations' thinking. She is right. As the older generations die out, we will be the ones to replace them with our ideals and opinions.

Also, "cool" is the MOST ambiguous word in the English language.

michael.dobrofsky said,
Exactly. Cool doesn't mean it's good. I just wish MS would focus on marketing more...especially product titles. That's where they are really uncool, for lack of a better word.

yap. So if vista was vista than maybe windows 7 should be ola.

Relativity_17 said,
I don't want "cool". I want low-key and professional.

I want MS to stop copying Apple in general. If I wanted a Mac I'd buy a Mac. I want a PC that I can customize and an OS that doesn't **** with me the way OS X and Vista do. Windows 7 continues much of the bad ideas of Vista unfortunately, such as Search plastered everywhere.

I think maybe that (other than Steve Ballmer's goofy marketing schemes) pins down what is truly not cool about MS; it is that MS is too pushy. It invades the user's desktop too much with intrusive features and so-called "helpers" and auto-updates. All that stuff should be OPTIONAL!

toadeater said,
I want MS to stop copying Apple in general. If I wanted a Mac I'd buy a Mac. I want a PC that I can customize and an OS that doesn't **** with me the way OS X and Vista do. Windows 7 continues much of the bad ideas of Vista unfortunately, such as Search plastered everywhere.

I think maybe that (other than Steve Ballmer's goofy marketing schemes) pins down what is truly not cool about MS; it is that MS is too pushy. It invades the user's desktop too much with intrusive features and so-called "helpers" and auto-updates. All that stuff should be OPTIONAL!


...because the average joes surely know how to open up a command prompt and type in a command to find files and search for driver/patches themselves on sites?

toadeater said,
I want MS to stop copying Apple in general. If I wanted a Mac I'd buy a Mac. I want a PC that I can customize and an OS that doesn't **** with me the way OS X and Vista do. Windows 7 continues much of the bad ideas of Vista unfortunately, such as Search plastered everywhere.

I think maybe that (other than Steve Ballmer's goofy marketing schemes) pins down what is truly not cool about MS; it is that MS is too pushy. It invades the user's desktop too much with intrusive features and so-called "helpers" and auto-updates. All that stuff should be OPTIONAL!

System wide search is an intrusive feature? I find it extremely helpful. Not just for searching files because I keep a pretty organized filesystem but also for searching within files. I didn't expect search to be something I would use, but it actually has saved me quite a lot of time.
Please remember that Windows is an OS for the masses. As such, it is not tailored to your specific needs. Everyone has different preferences and needs, so what you consider useless may be very useful to others.