Yeah! I am saying it. I don't mind saying this because as far as i can remember, a good part of my computer experience has been on windows operating systems.
And I love these guys. For what people appreciate Apple for their iDevices, was the same love i share for Microsoft when it comes to their operating system.
Beg or steal.. these guys pretty much set the standard for what the graphical UI you and i know that is today.
Of course, they are commercial and they are not open as Linux.. but that doesn't make them evil. But i do know instances where these guys showed their dark side (killing Netscape.. which again i think is back in a different avatar as FireFox) for which i hate them a lot.
Most of their products right from Windows OS, Office Suite, Exchange/Outlook, etc. (hope this not the entire list :)) ) have set a different standard for usability and convenience.
Ok.. So why am i telling all this.. its because i am concerned about the direction in which they are heading. But again, what am i concerned about here.
The concern is that i am not sure if I am ready for any other products apart from the ones mentioned above, for my day to day use. Comeon folks, Apple iPad is much more closed than Windows, Google wants me to use web a lot and Linux is still not ready for mainstream retail use.
I have been techie enough to be branded as a geek. I have built my own distros of Linux and hacked stuff. But still i love Microsoft's products for the sheer pleasure of using them. The difference is that of being a TV Electronics repair guy and the same guy watching TV at the end of the day sipping hot coffee!
You might be wondering what the hell is wrong with me while Microsoft is still here doing just fine. Believe me.. Microsoft is still here.. but i am not sure if they are ready for tomorrow.
Well the trigger for this post was this post here by Russell Beattie - The end of WIMP and rise of Touch. This trigger was backed by a slow build up of frustration on Microsoft's misfirings with their products' strategy.
These guys have lost focus on some of their products. The most important of them of all was Internet Explorer. Having killed Netscape, it was the end of fun and of course business. With literally no competition until FireFox and Chrome actually munched away a good portion of the browser pie. This was too much of a oversight on Microsoft's part.
Browser is the window to a whole new world of connectedness. Children of this generation take this one product/application for granted.
How could you lose sight of a product so important and waiting until guys like Google and Apple to actually catch up with you!!
There has been a steady downfall in terms of their product quality and usability since IE6. I guess a bit of branding change with a serious effort to revamp their technology should do the trick of winning back customers.
With Companies like Apple and Google who are changing the rules of the game by winning customers over by bringing in disruptive technologies (examples: search and iPhone) which have great usability and performance, its time for Microsoft to start taking its products seriously.
The next most important product of all, Microsoft Windows Operating System. Windows has not been doing well since XP. Vista has been good for me though, but a lot of things had gone wrong in Vista too. Customer Expectations, bad PR and negative press/blog coverage did take its toll. Though i haven't used Windows 7 myself, i do hear great reviews from the blogosphere and that its usability is same as, if not better than, Apple Mac OS.
But as Russell Beattie has mentioned in his post, the future is moving towards Tablets which obviously will use touch as the preferred (or the only) interface. I am not confident that Windows is ready as a tablet OS.
Again, I don't think its too late for Microsoft. If it can regroup and focus correct, it can do a great job of coming with a tablet version of its OS. Look at the Apple. I came up with a totally different UI and Usability for its iPad. That should be the approach for Microsoft as well.
The next biggest goof up was with Windows Mobile. In all practical sense, there is no way Microsoft can do anything about it now, unless and until it was do something as drastic as giving away its Mobile OS to OEMs for free and think of a different business model around it.
Guys @ Microsoft.. you are making mistake after mistake and I hope you correct yourself soon. Again i am big fan of your remaining products (though I stopped using IE for many years now).
I know you guys are doing a lot to get things back on track. You are doing good with your Office suite. can see that you are regrouping in terms of your developer languages and tools. But do it fast and get your products back on track.