Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Why Vista Sucks

What Joel Says about MS Design It's what I've been ranting about for the last 10 years. We were having a discussion along these lines at coffee time today with a fellow technologist. The topic was the general gui breakdowns of Outlook, and how apple stands a good chance of stealing the spotlight away from ms on this front as well (as it has on the ilife front of home apps) if MS doesn't sit down, and redesign outlook from the ground up, and trash all the legacy backward compatible old cruft that is over 15 years old and holding back the forward progress of the development. (no more, we can't do this because it would no be compatible with Ms exchange version 3.1) Like many big conglomerates, MS doesn't seem to care too much about the average PC user anymore. Why? Because Ms doesn't make money selling to you and me. MS makes money selling their software to OEMs. Why would OEMS care about the usability of the software that they preinstall on their systems? It's pretty much a secondary concern when they market a product. Besides, if the customer really cares, then they will install their own OS and apps on the system afterwards anyways. So MS can continue to make money selling million dollar contracts to Dell, HP and Acer... while caring about as much as a hot pile of poo what the customers really think about their product so long as they are legally safe from retribution. Besides, the design strategy they always seem to take in their apps is to make the system as accomodating (think cheap hoe) as possible, so that 3rd party software houses can come in and write better programs to fill in for the deficiencies and flaws in their own -- at the expense of 'good old human centered design' which other competitors use as a selling point. Since MacOS is (legally) only supposed to run on apple hardware, lets leave it aside, and consider linux as the only competitor to windows as far as OEMs go... So if MS's interests are no longer at the consumer level, and making the $$$ off of the middlemen, then why do the OEMs continue to support an OS that is unpopular and less than optimal in terms of functionality? 1) because they have to, because they sell to business users, who all (mostly) use windows, because linux on the desktop is still unreliable, and unsupportable (anecdotal). Besides, who wants to support linux? No thanks, I'll take MS crap ware, at least it is more or less standard and supportable. Any non-business user sales are most likely to the gaming segment. More games on windows, means these users will buy windows machines. They don't care about how crappy outlook is or how much extra work it takes them to configure/setup/admin their PC, they have lots of free time on their hands, most of them are still in highschool. (note how MS spends a lot of effort on DirectX initiatives.) 2) because they make money from 3rd party crapware firms who pay them to pre-install their demo/crapware at the factory, just like yahoo makes off of adware. Windows is crapware friendly. Whether that is a side effect of the market size of windows users, or because of general promiscuity of the OS apis itself, I don't know. But remember the criticism apple got when it said that it would only allow 'blessed' apps on the iphone? Well, rest assured, ms would never take on such an elitist stance. Win for the crapware houses, lose for end user happiness. What does this mean? realistically? I believe that this means that MS is rich and happy, and has long since shifted its sights on other industries like TV Media, and games. They don't give a rats bum about windows and the OS market anymore, so long as they can continue selling them enmasse to OEMs. They don't design vista with you the individual user in mind. It's not in their business model. They just need to crank out mediocre improvement versions to keep OEMs buying the new thing. And heck, its the correct business decision in my opinion. And Gates and company have always been shrewed businessmen. If you want an OS that is built for the average user for actual personal use, then either go apple, or build your own with linux.

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