Saturday, 22 June 2013

Microsoft fumbling product launches

Despite my previous blog, I ended up buying Windows 8 during the upgrade offer. I've gotten used to it. There are things I like, things that need improving and things just plain annoy me. However I can see that it has potential.

Windows 8.1 Preview is only a few days away, so here is a round-up of things that Microsoft have already shown off.

  • The return of the start button (not the start menu) is good a good thing. It provides an always visible obvious way to get from the desktop to the start screen.
  • Another welcome addition is being able to set Start screen background to be the same as the desktop background. Such a simple thing but it will certainly  help remove the disjointed feeling between switching back and forth.
  • Allowing Metro more than two ModernUI apps to be visible, and allowing the user to choose how much of each is displayed (none of this pointless 33% 66% split rubbish)

Although these features fixes are welcome the big question is:

What the Hell took so long?

There was more than enough feedback from the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to see that users weren't happy, and these 3 simple fixes should go a long way to improving the overall experience.

It seems Microsoft is having a bit a of crisis at the moment.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview released to a lot of well founded criticisms. Criticism was ignored, and spun by the marketing people so Microsoft came of as just another arrogant 'we know best' corporation.

XBox One fiasco. Rumours of always on Internet connection required, no sharing games etc. were all over the Internet causing lots of negative press, then at the live press event they confirmed all these things 'We know best'.

Both situations caused a lot of negative publicity (you only get one chance to make a first impression) and basically tarnished both product launches. In both cases Microsoft has back-tracked to various degrees. How can Microsoft be so out of touch with it's consumers?

This is Microsoft's biggest problem, they have great engineers, great technical expertise, (and potentially great products) but it seems there are many, many layers between the users being heard and the products meeting user expectations. (Bad management?)

It's not possible to please everyone but they should at least aim for the vast majority...

Please Microsoft, stop trying to spin criticism. Acknowledge it, and if necessary delay the product launch to fix / re-think things. Then you can market how you listen to user feedback as one of your greatest assets.

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