My post the other day has resulted in a response from a David McGhee, an employee of Microsoft Australia, in which he makes several points about my conversion to the status of "Apple FanBoy". In it, he clearly reveals his own Microsoftie Fanboyism as he makes statements which go the whole point I was making about the Apple experience:
"A new machine always runs faster than one that has been running for a while… fresh, it can be without bloat-ware, over-installations and configuration".
I cringed when I read this, because it is only Windows that exhibits this kind of behaviour. It doesn't happen on Linux, nor on OS X. It certainly doesn't happen on any of the thousands of high end servers and mainframes we run at the bank. Only Windows. And going to my point about engineering for rudeness, since when did actually using a computer (over-installation and over-configuration, in David's typology) mean that it should stop working? If that's not engineered for rudeness, I don't really know what it is. Unless its engineered incompetence. I prefer the former, since I worked at Microsoft earlier in my career, and I know that Microsofties are almost all very smart people.
He then proceeds to say this:
"…if you have been around technology for a while you will appreciate how Microsoft has commoditised and taken the user experience, devices and network beyond the black screen, the mainframe and point to point. And at the same time software is now more accessible, cheaper and better than when it was a mass of small disconnected applications"
Firstly, I wouldn't really credit Microsoft with taking the user experience beyond the black screen and the mainframe. I think that honour goes initially, to Xerox and then, um, Apple. But whether that point is conceded or not, I can't argue with the fact that Microsoft has, in fact, made software more accessible and cheaper. It may even be better than before. Microsoft has changed the world, and for the most part, the changes have been good.
The thing about the "mass of small disconnected applications" is that engineering for politeness in the base operating system is one way of making sure that, overall, we as users get a decent experience. On iPhone, for example, what you have is a mass of small, disconnected applications, and I suspect the success of AppStore has proved that a decent user experience is the result when you make the operating system polite.
But the final argument from David is really the one that really drills home the point for me:
"No-one designs software to be rude… but old software can be frustrating…. My suggestion [for frustration] is to keep current".
As a current Vista users, a current XP user, an evaluator of Windows 7, an ex-user of Windows Mobile, and lots of other Microsoft products besides, I've got to tell you David, that just having your latest stuff does not fix the underlying problem of engineered rudeness.
Engineered rudeness is a cultural problem at Microsoft. It's the result of a feature-centricity, and needing to shove more code into the tin in every release to justify upgrades. It's about what Robert Scoble calls a "strategy tax" – the engineered dependence between multiple products (whether that makes sense or not) so that your company can expand its share in aligned markets.
Ultimately, it is the result of focusing first on what can be sold, rather than what we might like to buy.
The reason I'm a convert to Apple is they do exactly the opposite.