Microsoft leave the Control Freekery for the Fruitcakes

Posted on November 18, 2012


Demonstrating unwavering leadership, whether driven by necessity or not, Steve Ballmer has created a unique window of opportunity to redress some issues with Windows 8 reception into the marketplace.

Steven Sinofsky President, Windows Division has gone from headline grabbing darling to departed

Conspiracy theorists abound need little imagination as to why. As a Microsoft Partner at the consumer and enterprise coal face it has been black and white since the latter preview releases of Windows 8 that there was a temperature change in the Windows Division that was blowing the good ship Windows into dangerous waters, and it appears the Captain had decided to ignore the feedback from his instruments. It appears Captain Sinofsky had been ardently fighting a one man war against the traditional choice characteristics of the Windows OS and had achieved internal persuasive success at Microsoft, with resistance and reservation, for his drastic surgery on the traditional Windows desktop. This was also in the face of a full blown gale of online, Partner channel and general technical audience commentary against the removal of the Start menu and promotion of the Modern UI previewed in early iterations of the Windows 8 OS.

It looks like the Admiral was on board and he has placed a trusted hand on the tiller, could we be heading back into calmer waters? ….. I am by no means alone in hoping so since it has made headlines in USA Today Will Microsoft restore Start Menu to Windows 8?, to think a Start menu could cause such headlines, and ‘With Sinofsky Gone, Start Menu Could Return to Windows 8′ , we could never have guessed 😉

The detail surrounding the relevance of 2 features such as the Start menu and the default Modern UI I cover in my earlier blog ‘Windows 8 – A desktop demotion?

That was almost three months ago. I have now lived and breathed Windows 8 can firmly state that on a dual monitor (27inch) desktop environment that can see me running multiple Virtual Machines, Visual Studio amongst the usual cascade of Internet Explorer windows and instances of Microsoft Word, Outlook and Excel there is only one existence – THE DESKTOP. In fact the use of Modern UI applications on a 27inch monitor is very poor where most are designed for tablet sized screens. Having reviewed my Modern UI usage I can state that since making a few tweaks to return the Start menu and not straight to my Windows 8 desktop (and a few others that I will cover in a blog shortly) I have not had to revert to the Modern UI.

That does not mean it is redundant. I have my Surface which I live in the Modern UI. That is the spin here. For all Steven Sinofsky’s engineering and project management competence he has missed the ball completely on the critical issue of communication and management of end user expectation. As a result we have a Kick Ass Operating System in Windows 8 hobbled by the lack of FLEXIBILITY to allow users to CHOOSE.

  • Flexibility because Windows is trying to hit a much bigger target end user device based than just tablets, so to all but Sinofsky, it was fundamental that the desktop was maintained as a first class citizen.
  • Choice – The consumer and enterprises friend. Where there is doubt and engineering capability, budget and time permits, put in options. DO NOT taken them out!

Microsoft has always been about Flexibility and choice, to the point of criticism. How many of us have gasped at the number of ways we have been able to do things in the UI when confronted with support requests for end user guidance. It has been a hidden grace, that has made the platform INCLUSIVE.

Windows 8 is a fantastic platform with unique dual facets unlike any other. Power on the tablet and prospectively Power on desktop, IF the Admiral encourages his new captain (whomever he or she will be) to reflect overwhelming demand.

I recall the horror that was the Vista launch, which completely missed the Enterprise messaging of the script. This time it has been the control arrogance around the traditional desktop demotion AND on the consumer front the poorly communicated messaging around Windows 8 RT as a distinctly separate experience for users. As a result we are currently staring out across a Vista of troubled waters instead of the plain sailing that the Windows 8 desktop truly deserves.

If I could as Steve Ballmer to do anything, it would be win back the Choice Moniker for Microsoft leave the Control Freekery for the fruitcakes by:

  1. Desktop Start menu.
  2. Option for direct boot election into Desktop v. New UI.

Windows 8 should be an absolute no brainer for Enterprises, but for the lack of this flexibility and choice.

Amongst some much needed communication clarification around Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT.

PSOh yes, maybe stand up when you do your bit at the next WPC, Steve you are shear effervescence speaking on your feet!