October 16, 2013 By Bill Schrier
Today (October 17) is the debut of the "real" Windows 8, thank goodness. And a perfect time for reflections on my love/hate affair with Microsoft.
I love Microsoft. I envy Steve Ballmer's hairline. Microsoft Office is the greatest thing since the invention of the personal computer. I love Office so much I refuse to buy a tablet computer (iPad, Galaxy, Note, Surface RT) because almost none of those plastic/glass doo-dads will run my favorite programs - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and OneNote. Microsoft employs 40,000 people in my hometown area of Seattle, which vastly improves the quality of life here. Microsofties leave the company to found their own startup companies which makes for a really exciting technology scene - just ask Todd Bishop or John Cook at Geekwire. I love the X-Box 360 and I love Microsoft Research with products like web-based translation. And the Kinect is leading us into the future of gesture-based computing.
I love Microsoft so much I say "bing it" when others say "google it".
I hate Microsoft. Steve Ballmer laughed at the first iPhone because it didn't have a keyboard. His answer: the "Kin" twins which lasted one month. Microsoft completely missed the tablet revolution, until it finally, three years after the iPad, came out with the Surface RT with zero apps and almost complete incompatibility with everything else in tech.
Windows 8 and its Metro interface is a travesty. What were Ballmer and his brain trust thinking when they rolled out Windows 8? They urinated off on every Enterprise and Enterprise desktop user of Windows, a billion or more users in all.
There is zero zip nada which is nice about Windows 8 and the #@%! "metro" interface for folks using a keyboard and mouse. I resisted buying a Windows 8 computer because I don't have a touch screen and I knew it would be tough learning to use Win8, but I had no idea how bad until now, when I actually have to use it. Finding simple stuff like the control panel is a monstrous chore, as are other simple tasks such as closing a Metro window for Adobe reader. How the hell do you "swipe up" with a mouse? Half the time the "charms" never appear when using a mouse.
I could go on-and-on but I'm totally baffled why Microsoft would spend all this time and effort on a new, touch-screen optimized OS when their bread-and-butter is enterprise customers using desktop computers with no touchscreen.
Does Steve Ballmer have a death-wish for his company?
Even folks who use touchscreens spend little time in Metroland and most of their time on the "traditional" desktop interface, if they can find it. There are plenty of rants about this on the web of course, too, including ones on microsoft.com.
I could go back and forth all day with my love/hate of Microsoft and its products:
So after all the harping and carping on my favorite hometown company (although Boeing and Amazon are actively competing for that "favorite" spot), do I have some advice for my friends and their new CEO in Redmond? You bet.
Microsoft, I love you. I desperately want you to succeed. Please stop shooting yourself (and your customers) in the foot.