I’m watching the replay of the Windows 10 announcement (here: http://news.microsoft.com/windows10story/), and I’m horrified. Having worked with Windows since 1989, when you could get a copy of Windows 286 for free when you bought Excel 1.0, I am no stranger to the Microsoft marketing machine. I have seen, used, and supported Windows in every incarnation from the best (95, XP, 2003) to the worse (Bob, Vista, Windows8).
But what I saw today was just plain muddled, confusing, and disconcerting – even by the standards that I use for Microsoft announcements. Yes, I realize it was the consumer announcement. Yes, I realize it’s the IT world’s version of “Fashion Week” and that everything we see should be taken with a grain of salt. And a lime and triple shot of tequilla. But even so, I have some huge issues. Here they are, with time markings so you can keep pace with me as you watch (or re-watch) the video:
- Terry Myerson kicks things off. 5 minutes in, and he hasn’t said anything that can’t be summarized as “we’re working hard to develop the software. You know, like a software company does.”
“More personal computing”?!? Why not call it “More gooder stuff for them there interwebs”?
- 11 minutes in and we STILL haven’t heard what features or capabilities will be IN the OS. I’ve heard what they believe a computer should do, but nothing about how 10 will deliver that wish list.
- 14 minutes in – free upgrades from 8.1: smells like desperation.
- Free upgrades for windows 7 – ok, this is the first thing that I cared about. But what about 8? Oh that’s right. Everyone dropped that version like girls dropped my hand during 6th grade square dancing class in gym.
- But you know what? You want to impress me? Offer free upgrades to stuff BEFORE windows 7. Prove that you really REALLY want users on the same platform. And yeah, hardware won’t make it, and that’s the user’s problem, not yours (Microsoft’s). You offer the free upgrade and let the customer deal with meeting the requirements if they have to.
- edit: and now it’s come out that the upgrades are for consumers, not companies. While I understand the concept, I’m not particularly impressed with their committment to getting people onto the latest version of Windows. Companies are traditionally the biggest holdouts. If they really don’t want to support a code base, enticing corporate (and government, and non-profit) users would be the TOP priority. In My (not so) Humble Opinion.
- 18:00 – Joe B takes the stage.
- 20:00 – Camera man runs up to catch what’s happening on the keyboard. Wait, what? Viewers want to see what is ACTUALLY HAPPENING ON THE COMPUTER? Crazy talk. Good thing they ran a camera man up there. Too bad it’s clear this is completely unrehearsed so the camera work is reminiscent of “The Blair Witch Project”
- Marilyn Manson? Dude, you are soooooooo hardcore. Can I be like you?
- 23:00 – “a small tablet docked to a keyboard and mouse”? Ummmmm because Bluetooth is too far-fetched?
- 25:00 – “Hey Cortana”. Why didn’t you just hire ScarJo to read these lines. Or a dummy on his knee. He didn’t do the “drinking from a glass of water trick”.
- 34:00 – Microsoft needs to be told that ignoring the existence of Siri, “Ok Google”, and DragonDictate doesn’t mean I need or want to sit through an explanation of what they are. Just because yours answers to a different name doesn’t make it different.
- 38:00 – you couldn’t get a longer cord??? And why do you need a cord? For video? You mean it doesn’t have chromecast or something?
- 40:00 – a microphone icon on the phone’s keyboard panel you can use instead of typing? Wow. Just like… well, EVERYONE ELSE.
- 44:00 – Windows integrates with Office. Wake me in another 10 minutes when he goes on to tell me that Windows 10 has full mouse support.
- 47:00 – so he finally cops to why he’s on a wire (“because we have lots of people on wireless right now”). Uh… I am still confused. You couldn’t set up a separate AP for your demo boxes? I smell bullshit. I’m betting it doesn’t work well with the buffering associated with wireless.
- 49:00 – “the Lorem” function?!?! Really??? That’s what you want to show me?
- 54:00 – photo handling. Is this really an OS function?
- De-cluttering (don’t show duplicate images) means I’ll use up all kinds of disk space without knowing why. Auto-enhancing is going to create confusion when you email images to other people. And yet I still don’t care.
- 57:00 – maps and whatever. So that Microsoft can be “just like Google” too.
- 1:05:00 – Cortana is built into every interaction? That sounds just as wonderful as clippy.
- 1:10:00 – Gaming on Windows 10. Wake me when it’s over.
No really. I know that having gaming support integrated into the OS (whatever that means. That smells a little BS-y too.) may be interesting to consumers. But every corporate IT pro just added “Auto-remove game support” to their list of things that have to be supported before they will adopt this OS. Unless you are going to have 6 different versions of Windows 10. Like you did with Windows 7. Because that wasn’t totally confusing.
- 1:28:00 – Terry is back, telling the audience “we’re looking forward to feedback from insiders – how cool, how fun, how…” etc. Yeah, I’m sure that’s EXACTLY what feedback you are going get.
- 1:30:00 – actually detected me when I came to the screen? No, that techie in black detected you and turned the screen on.
- Also, a 48 and 80-inch screen? $10 says the first workplace injury from someone throwing their shoulder out comes in the first day.
- 1:35:00 – I get it, I get it, you have a huge honking computer, that you can use just like a little computer. You can whiteboard (like you do in Lync). You can cut and paste between different apps (like you do in Lync). You can show all the apps running on it (like you do in Lync).
- 1:43:00 – we didn’t needs years of study to catch a ball? I seem to recall early childhood development classes saying differently. Actually, the fact that you don’t regard that as “learning” tells me a lot about how Microsoft understands (or doesn’t) the learning process and what natural learning versus forced learning looks like.
- 1:45:00 – holograms only I can see. Yay. Now I can look like I’m having spasms in front of my friends in new and exciting ways.
- 1:47:00 – “available in the windows 10 timeframe”. So sometime before Windows 11. Vaporwear. I’m done listening.
- 2:05:00 – Satya Nadella is batting cleanup, and says the first thing that makes sense “It’s now about the mobility of the experience, not the mobility of the device.”
- 2:16:00 – Internet of things. So glad you worked that in. Not that you actually SHOWED anything that qualifies, but good work on buzzword bingo.
Overall, I give this “2 black turtlenecks” (out of 5) in terms of engagement, value, and interest. I can only hope that the announcement for Windows 10 server will have more depth.