The Microsoft Botch
Well, what can I say? Microsoft has been one series of botch jobs after another recently. I guess every company goes through a spate of problems, but this series of problems seems a bit excessive (and avoidable). Consider that Windows ME more or less started the botches (ignoring Microsoft Bob). But, after ME they had the successful 2000 and XP series… then Vista. Vista is the albatross that Microsoft would like to soon forget. But, that’s not all of their problems. We’ll come back to Vista.
The Office botch
Office 2008 for the Mac has been a huge bust (just check the reviews on Amazon) by the users because of the lack of VBA (among other compatibility issues). Then, there’s Office 2007 for Windows, which some developer in their infinite wisdom decided to use Microsoft Word’s HTML parser to render HTML emails! So, when you’re viewing HTML emails in Outlook 2007, there are page breaks! I’ll say that again, “page breaks”. You read that correctly. Since when does anyone paginate web sites? What makes Microsoft think that people want to see web pages paginated?
That doesn’t even take into account the entire GUI change they made between Office 2003 and Office 2007. Sure, 2007 is supposed to look modern and streamlined. But, instead, the new GUI ends up with a huge learning curve and is basically incompatible with previous versions of Office. Instead of doing actual work, now you have to chase down the function you need because it’s not where it used to be. The addition of the stupid round Windows Flag button instead of an actual menu bar is completely assinine design. Let’s hope that whomever thought up that innovation no longer works in Redmond. There are some things that just need to be user tested and this product clearly wasn’t.
The Zune botch
Consider the Zune 30GB had a leap year bug that caused the entire unit to completely freeze up. This required the owners to wait until the battery completely drained to reset the unit. That and wait until after the new year, otherwise it would refreeze.
The infamous Xbox 360 overheating botch
To this date, Microsoft STILL has no clue what’s causing the issue or how to resolve it. They *think* it’s related to heat so they’ve added a heat sink to try and help the issue. Even still, they had to take a huge financial hit and extend the Xbox 360 warranty out to 3 years from its original 1 year.
The Origami botch
“What was Origami”, you ask? Nuff’ said. If you really want to know, read this Wiki article.
Um, where are they today? No where. People don’t want to lug tablets around. They didn’t want to lug them when Grid was around. What made Microsoft think people would want to lug them around 10 years later? Oh right, I guess they thought they would because that oh-so-heavy tablet was running such a wonderful touch screen version of Windows. Doh!
The IE7 botch
Ignoring Microsoft’s constant security flaws as a botch job, although some of them certainly qualify, another is Microsoft’s decision to remove the ability to uninstall IE7 after you install Service Pack 3 (SP3) on XP. So, for an IE repair that should have taken all of about 15 minutes, you’re now saddled with the task of whipping out the Windows installation media and running repair on the entire operating system (broken or not). Thanks Microsoft.
Note that Microsoft’s justification for this IE change stems apparently from some files that SP3 installs. The SP3 installer may overwrite either IE7 or IE6 files that, were Microsoft to allow removal of IE7, might leave the system in an unstable state if you were to use IE6. Well, hello, you guys wrote the software!! So, instead of actually taking the time to write SP3 properly to still allow software removal of IE7, you take the easy way out and leave the system owner saddled with a huge task just to repair IE7 when it breaks.
Why does this matter? Been living in a cave? IE7 is not completely stable. Much of the time the search provider installation process doesn’t work. You try and you get ‘Errors on page’ and the search providers cannot be loaded. Then you have the ‘Save Your Settings’ problem. Once you install IE7, it asks to save default settings. Yet, much of the time this process won’t save settings and always continues to present this panel on startup. I’ve searched and searched and have been unable to find a workable solution to either the search provider or the save defaults issues. The ONLY workable solution (uninstall/reinstall) was conveniently taken away by Microsoft in their infinite wisdom. So, instead of a 15 minute fix, it now takes 2-3 hours to completely repair the system, reinstall windows updates and test everything. Of course, it is possible to remove SP3, but at what risk to the system? These things rarely work once you’ve installed apps on top of the system after an SP is installed. In other words, be prepared to have things begin breaking and applications to need to be reinstalled.
The bottom line is that Microsoft made this change to make things easy for Microsoft. For the end user, however, they will now incur high priced repair bills simply because Microsoft decided to make things easy for themselves.
The Vista botch
Well, what can be said about Vista that hasn’t already been said? Vista has so many user interface problems, lackluster performance, the overreaching and underperforming Aero system and the constant flickering between various modes and resolutions that make Vista seem more like Windows 3.1 than it does a mainstream OS. Combine this with constant driver issues, Vista is completely unsuable for any real purpose. You’re forever repairing it instead of actually using it. Vista also requires a hefty powered system to even perform decently. So, it’s no wonder businesses didn’t adopt it.
Combine all of this with the marketing of Vista, it’s just been a disaster. For whatever reason, Microsoft decided to put out 5-8 different version of Windows Vista… 3-4 of which were targeted at home consumers. This is more confusing for consumers than it is helpful. This should have been paired down to 1 to at most 2 versions. Consumers don’t want 4 choices in an OS. They also don’t want to pay $400 for an operating system. Yet more botch.
Windows 7 botch or not?
If Microsoft adopts Vista’s codebase to build Windows 7, this product will be no better than Vista and will likely end up being yet another botch. Vista’s codebase for the driver subsystem is a complete disaster (and continues to be a problem even as of this blog article). By taking Vista’s codebase for Windows 7, Microsoft ensures that Windows 7 will be just as problematic as Vista. The interface is only half of Vista’s problem. People can overlook the GUI learning issues when the components under the hood simply work. But, they don’t. For example, one of the most significant problems that Vista suffers from is “Display Driver has stopped responding and recovered”. Ok, now what is this? We’ve never ever had this issue before. Granted, maybe it prevents the blue screen of death, but having the display driver stop responding means what exactly? And, why is it now that the video drivers are just now having this problem. Using Vista’s codebase practically assures this issue to contiinue in Windows 7. So, 7 will end up just as driver problematic is Vista.
Suffice it to say that Microsoft is going through a bad way. Perhaps they’ve had an exodus of people who actually knew where to take things. But, Windows has become such a bloated hodge-podge piece of trash, I don’t know if Microsoft can honestly salvage it. Vista and Windows 7 may end up being the death knell for this operating system. By Microsoft basically botching their two flagship products (Office and Windows), I don’t know if they will be able to recover easily. Combine this with stupid programming mistakes (like the Zune) and clearly, Microsoft has major internal issues that need to be addressed.
Whatever the issue, I don’t see this botch trend ending any time Zune (pun intended).