1 hour ago, DeathByVisualStudio wrote
So why do you assume that when I say "things move slowly" that the source of the slowness and the basis of the complaint is from the diligence required to maintain a huge and critical code base? A lot of the slowness is from politics and the inability to turn criticism into improvements.
Yeah and we know how well those feedback buttons worked for Office, W8, and the W8 Store Apps that Microsoft produced for the initial release. Again because of politics and the inability to turn criticism into improvements these "feedback" buttons are pretty worthless.
You seem to consistently confuse engineering decisions with executive decisions.
Feedback to developer teams about crashes, distracting UX changes and features that are required by consumers of services are dealt with pretty quickly at Microsoft, certainly compared with other products with similarly large user-bases.
But decisions such as the Office Ribbon, losing the Start Menu, the Windows 8 Store, Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT itself aren't developer decisions. They are executive decisions. Although some are concepted and are certainly usually implemented at the SDE and PM levels at Microsoft, the decisions are usually made much further up the chain, by GMs and VPs.
For example, the decision to go for the Ribbon in 2007 and for Office 365 were made at the top of Office. Windows Store, Windows RT and dropping the Start Menu were decisions made at the top of Windows as part of Windows strategy. Not part of Windows engineering. The decision to drop WinPho7 support, to kill Silverlight, to drop XNA and so on - none of these are engineering decisions. They are all executive decisions about restructuring and reprioritizing DevDiv.
The reason this distinction is important is that engineering decisions are agile. Yes, it's not hard to add a page; a config setting; a parameter or a flag to that function. Yes, we can expose this interface, or add this or that feature. It'll go in the pile of 30 requests, and if it's in the top 10% we'll make it before the next release of the product, otherwise it'll have to wait until later for consideration. It'll probably be usable and stable by endusers and other teams within a year, and usable by other developers within the team a month of two.
But executive decisions don't work like that. These decisions are made based on market data, industry movements and shareholder feedback, not some single user's "feedback" on C9. You can literally scream until you are blue-in-the-face about the Start Menu, the Ribbon, WinPho8, how you think Microsoft shouldn't bother with the Surface, how you want them to Open Source Windows, how they killed Silverlight and XNA, or how you don't like Office 365.
It will make no difference.
Executives at Microsoft and elsewhere make big decisions, and then they go with it. You don't get to be an executive at Microsoft or anywhere else by asking your engineers to do massive upheavals and then chickening out because a couple of blogs don't like your interface but before you've actually given it to customers to have a go.
Some decisions are right, some are wrong. The decision to introduce UAC in Vista, for instance, was the right decision, although it was unpopular at the time and we can argue around the houses as to whether it was correctly implemented in the first place.
The Ribbon in Office, likewise, had its opponents screaming for heads to roll and third parties climbing over each other to skin the new office and "bring your menus back". But in the end, the decision was right. People found features faster and more consistently in 2007 than in 2003.
I know it's a hard concept to grasp; that perhaps Steve Sinofsky didn't pop open Visual Studio and personally implement the Start Screen himself. And I know it seems impossible that a PM I reading C9 couldn't have said "by goodness! DBVS is right!" and file a bug to request that the start menu be returned. Or that the Silverlight team was disbanded on a whim because they got bored of writing SIlverlight, or because they all agreed amongst themselves that HTML5 was better and they should probably stop.
I hate to break it to you, but real life doesn't work like that.
The reality is that if you want to influence executives at Microsoft, you need to think like one. And they aren't going to reverse a decision they made 3 years ago, committed literally hundreds of man-years to as part of a 10-year investment strategy at the whole of Microsoft just because some whiney journalists on the Internet think that the Windows Store is a bad idea. They think that everything Microsoft does is a bad idea, and Microsoft just ignores them. Besides, they're not evaluating WinRT right now to see if they should can it. They're evaluating it to see how much further they can push it. The decision to put it into Windows Blue and Windows 8.2 isn't being made now - it was made years ago when they started it back as an interesting project in mid 2010.
They knew Windows Store was going to start off empty. They knew going full pelt on WinRT was going to be unpopular. Windows8 doesn't even really matter, because it's not a product, it's an iteration. It's not about taking people from Windows7 to perfection. It's about being a stepping stone from where we are to where we want to be.
That's the difference between executives and journalists. Journalists and users see products. Executives see product lines. And where journalists are using Windows7 to write blog posts about changes they'd like to see in Windows8, or complaining that Windows XP is going out of support or using crystal balls to try and work out what might be in Windows 8.1 - the decisions being made now aren't any longer about what to put in Windows 8.1, but rather what needs to slip from Windows 8.1 to Windows 8.2. And new ideas invented today will almost certainly not see the light of day until the Windows after that.
And that, DBVS, is why you utterly fail to make a dint in Microsoft's decision making. You're complaining to C9 engineers about executive decisions they don't control. And, supposing there are any executives here, you're telling executives about decisions that happened so long ago that they're not only locked in - they've basically been completed.
You're not making any impression on them, because you're not talking about where we want to be, given that we have WinRT, and given that Silverlight is dead, and given that Office has a Ribbon. You're talking about revering those decisions. And so as far as anyone making those kind of decisions is concerned, you're living in the past.
If you want to influence engineers, tell them how to make their product more useful to you, and avoid asking for executive decisions to be reversed.
If you want to influence executives, and hence Microsoft's entire future direction, talk about what Microsoft's role is in a world where Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows Surface and Windows have converged in 2020, and what Windows should look like then. Talk about whether it's even possible for apps to do all of their computing in the cloud, and whether users want that. Talk about whether Xbox can be used to gain marketshare on Phones, and whether Phones and the Xbox and hell, why not your fridge and your car, might one day run something that's the same as Windows.
Constantly ranting about start menus and winrts is boring to everyone. It clearly didn't work to complain about it during the past 12 months (and that was certainly not due to a lack of complaining here on C9 by a great deal of people).
It time to stop complaining about where we are and start talking about where we would like to be. That's a conversation worth having; it's more positive; it's less toxic; it's more interesting and it's more likely to end up with you being able to influence Microsoft.