of its latest OS. Here are some of your thoughts:
Don't Drink the Kool-Aid!
"There's a need for a reality check. How many of the 100 million copies
are actually used? Were they shipped with PCs that got immediately 'downgraded'?
Were upgrades installed and removed? I know of some that were and it's not
an urban legend.
How many people have the time to learn a new interface for no real reason
other than 'it's cool'? Businesses can't support it. For instance, Microsoft
has a complete set of standalone tools to show people where things once were
in Office 2003 and where they now are in Office 2007. Seems to me that answers
a problem with the rollout of the product.
By the way, for real businesses, if they have to learn a new user interface,
why not look at Linux or OpenOffice? Yes, there's a support cost, but there's
a support cost to Microsoft as well -- what's the cost delta? Besides, it's
free, which somehow seems to cover some of the cost of support and training
since you aren't in the position of using your prior product experience.
Once you make major improvements to the user interface, you open the door
for re-evaluation of the product. For the record, my company develops Microsoft-focused
applications using the .NET platform.
You should also give some thought to where the market for information
use is going. Most users need a subset of functionality and not the bloatware
they're presented. More and more, I seem to be getting requests for BlackBerry,
PDA and SmartPhone functionality and not PC platform applications, which are
used more by 'clerical types' and not by managers, road-warriors, floor-staff,
etc. At least, that's been my recent experience with several of the [small
to medium sized-businesses] my company deals with.
Contrary to popular belief at Microsoft, I don't think the majority of
users (programmers included) like having to (re)learn how to use products
they once knew how to use, and at the same time meet business-driven deadlines.
Maybe that works in consumer products, but it's different when your boss is
breathing down your neck.
But that's just my opinion. And frankly, I never developed a taste for
Vice-President of Software Engineering and Operations
Newport Beach, Calif.
Vista Is Better
I know that there is an undercurrent about Vista; however, I develop for
both XP and Vista and I have to tell you that I much prefer Vista to that
Just for the record, I have personally developed software for all Windows
operating systems. Yes, from Windows 1.0 and up. Vista is the best so far.
-Pete Smietana, Ph.D.