Sunday, April 17, 2005

Longhorn end-user features.

Even Joe Wilcox is saying we'd better start talking about features and less about the geeky improvements in Longhorn: "Been There, Done That" Isn't Good Enough. Specifically, Mr. Wilcox is evaluating Jim Allchin's initial Longhorn buzz-tour and what Allchin is talking about. Snippet:

Jim is telling a well-read story and one emphasizing too many negatives, what I see as code words for fixing what's wrong or what people believe is wrong with Windows: perceived security problems, protected files if notebook lost, troublesome patching processes or painfully difficult networking. I can't see how going on the road to tout perceived problems with Windows is the best way to promote Longhorn. What about the positive user benefits? Surely Microsoft has something to say about Longhorn's positive user benefits.

The more I talk to people when I'm out and about outside the Geekosphere, the more I do hear that they are incredibly happy with Windows XP. It's not just good-enough, it's super-incredibly good-enough.

When Longhorn comes out and if the economy is anything like it is today, folks are not going to be plunking down $100 for that upgrade. They'd rather refuel their car a few times, most likely. And if Allchin's message is forming the foundation for Longhorn's goodness, you damn well better believe they aren't buying a slice of that cheese.

If we as Microsofties (and those vested in the success of the Microsoft platform) want to ensure Longhorn's success we're going to have to take it on ourselves to build the viral buzz of ooh-I-gotta-have-me-some-of-that. To hell with the money drain of folks that can produce commercials of people flying around to Madonna's music. We have to pull Longhorn by the bit-straps now and conjure up the compelling end-user features and energize our customers from the ground up.

Oh sure, I get the giggles when I realize an XML tag can in fact instantiate a .NET class or that I have some super cool vector rendering going on. I'm still a geek at heart and stuff like that makes my heart go pidder-dang-padder. But so what? So what to the folks who have reached a critical mass with iPod deployments such that it is now an entrenched market point, let alone having a halo effect around MacOS deployments? You can poo-poo Apple all day long, but they have a working long-term strategy and seemingly a great ability to ship OS.

Tiger OS vs. Windows XP vs. Longhorn. Who wins?


Anonymous said...

>we're going to have to take it on
>ourselves to build the viral buzz
And how much do we spend on marketing again? Uh..yeah, thought so.

>To hell with the money drain of
>folks that can produce
>commercials of people flying
>around to Madonna's music
Our fucking flagship product and the best they could come up with was "Yes You can"????? (originally it was "Prepare to fly" which was shitty as well)

Anonymous said...

I really agree with him. Talk about the new features rather than how you fixed stuff which were allready broken. I mean people expect that to be done but thats what a service pack does right. It fixes stuff. Now what we want is a new OS with new stuff that probably will be needed to fix in a service pack. So leave the fixing to service pack and new features and innovation for OSes.

Anonymous said...

Actually, does Microsoft even care about us ordinary consumers anymore? The impression I get is that Microsoft is an organization of corporate bureaucrats that produces software for corporate bureaucrats.

Anonymous said...

You might want to read this post by Dare

Anonymous said...

I disagree. Jim Allchin needs to explain what got fixed, because both enterprises and end users don't want more OS features -- they want security and compatibility.

A recruiter from MS is going to call me at 2:30 PM. How do I talk her with a straight face when I'm running FireFox and Thunderbird for both features and security?

David said...

Tiger - hands down.

Anonymous said...

Selling my two PC laptops, using the $$$ to buy an overpriced PowerBook running Panther, and will immediately upgrade to Tiger for a whopping $9.99. Screw Windows. I'm sick of the bugs; the inconsistent, uninspired GUI; the arrogant attitude of MS product manager (far worse than snobbish Apple); and the absolutely ROTTEN multitasking.

Anonymous said...

"Tiger OS vs. Windows XP vs. Longhorn. Who wins?"

Tiger OS - Actually the proper name is MacOS 10.4, as in version 5 of an OS released almost 5 years ago. Available in 9 days.

Windows XP - Actually it's proper name is WinXP SP2, but those two support packs were touted - rightfully - as containing bug fixes and security updates more than any new features. (Except for that popup blocker in MSIE. Wow! Now if they could only figure out how to add tabbed browsing too!)

Longhorn - Actually it's proper name is... um, I have no clue. No release date, no beta, and only public retractions on the feature set that was announced in October 2003.

Conclusion? It ain't even close. Tiger - hands down.

Anonymous said...

How about this thought: "everything you ever do on a daily basis should take less than a second"

That's Linus Torvalds talking here and is credit to him, that he hasn't lost touch of the real issues. Perhaps that's because he still does real work, rather than being paid of have "visions".

Today only experienced *Nix users can realise that sort of advantage. At the price of a steep learning curve, they have a highly efficient environment available to them.

Meanwhile today's generation of windowed OSes have lost touch with the whole point of the benefit computers were supposed to bring, namely more time for other things.

If you watch some real people working with Windows, you realise it's perpetually throwing hurdles in the way of getting repetitive tasks done, whether it's the poor (default) search capabilities in Windows XP or just that extra arm action in reaching for the mouse when both hands were on the keyboard.

The days of selling by new features, as an end in themselves, are over. Users themselves have matured beyond this.

And clearly "we sold you a broken product last time but now we've fixed it" doesn't fly - that's insulting on many levels.

But "Windows: Values YOUR time" could be compelling.

Anonymous said...

"Actually, does Microsoft even care about us ordinary consumers anymore? The impression I get is that Microsoft is an organization of corporate bureaucrats that produces software for corporate bureaucrats"

Oh no, you're wrong. They don't really care about the corporate bureaucrats either.

Anonymous said...

We'll see what shakes down in 18 months at work,
but as for my home life:
Let's just say I have pre-ordered Tiger... I have no intention of ever buying Blowhorn.

I have been a long supporter of MS for over a decade... but MS is the Novell of this decade.

Anonymous said...

We're going to compare Tiger versus XP versus Longhorn?!?! Well, we can't compare Longhorn since it's over a year away and can only be considered vaporware. I use both XP and the current Mac OS, Panther. Panther blows XP away.

Let's see: Longhorn doesn't exist, Panther beats XP, Tiger beats Panther. Uh, what was the question again?...

Chris said...

Microsoft's only hope is to bundle Everquest with Longhorn...