Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
gfx gfx
76778 Posts in 13501 Topics by 1650 Members - Latest Member: insider4ever June 23, 2024, 08:40:14 pm
WinMX World :: Forum  |  Discussion  |  WinMx World News  |  Turmoil at Microsoft; implications for Windows users

Author Topic: Turmoil at Microsoft; implications for Windows users  (Read 2162 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline DaBees-Knees

  • WMW Team
  • *****
Turmoil at Microsoft; implications for Windows users
« on: February 27, 2014, 05:16:06 am »

By Woody Leonhard

Microsoft in general and the Windows group in particular have gone through enormous changes within the past year. All the key Windows 8 players are out.

Most of us can only speculate on the reasons for the massive turnover, but one point remains clear: under new management, Windows is in for changes.

Reflecting on the Windows 8 disaster
As you probably know, I am not one of Windows 8's biggest fans. And that opinion comes from long experience with the OS. I wrote a thousand-page book about Windows 8 and another thousand-page tome about Windows 8.1. I've used Win8 all day, every day, for almost two years.

Based on that experience, I can't recommend Windows 8 to experienced Windows users — unless they're springing for a new touch-capable tablet or they really want to try something quite different from classic Windows. In truth, the vast majority of mouse-and-keyboard Windows users I know are still better served with Windows 7.

I don't think relatively inexperienced Windows users are well served by Win8, either. (Yes, of the approximately 1.4 billion Windows users on the planet, there are a few novice Windows users left.) Those who know a little bit about Windows often get hog-tied trying to figure out Metro; those who don't know anything about Windows but are comfortable with their smartphones are usually better off with an iPad or an Android tablet — in my not-so-humble opinion.

You might not agree with my assessment of Windows, but again: I speak from long experience and many discussions with fellow Windows users. It's clear to me that Microsoft's board of directors is staring up at a sword of Damocles 8.0 — and unwilling to let it fall without a fight.

Microsoft's dilemma over the direction of Windows 8 isn't confined strictly to Windows. There are numerous emerging threats to the Windows hegemony, such as the many excellent alternatives that use a heavy helping of cloud. But the Jekyll-and-Hyde design of Windows 8 certainly didn't help. I think Apple's Tim Cook got it right: "You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator," but it won't please users.

Those factors — the tepid (to be generous) interest in Windows 8 and the myriad extraneous forces — virtually guaranteed a major shakeup in Microsoft. Nearly everybody in the Windows management chain, all the way up to the top of the company, is now gone. And though we might think of the shakeup as a deserved and needed repudiation of Windows 8 (I liken it to a rejected transplant), it also presents some exciting new possibilities. I'm actually optimistic that the next Windows will be considerably better than Win8. Why? The new Windows handlers know their stuff.

The folks who brought us Windows 8
It's easy to forget that the same management team that built Windows 8 also made Windows 7. (I'm sure I'm far from alone in my belief that Win7 is the best Windows ever.) I use the term "management team" deliberately; for the most part, the same five people have worked together from Office 95 days to Windows 8. That's about a century or two in Internet years.

Former Windows Division president Steve Sinofsky led the bunch. (A personal disclaimer here: I've had run-ins with Sinofsky since Office days, and he's not one of my favourite characters. The feeling is probably mutual.) He's a brilliant software guy and possibly one of the best project managers of all time. In the wake of the Vista debacle, Steve and his group turned around the growing doubt that Microsoft could produce a viable version of Windows — an astounding achievement.

And then came Windows 8. Few know exactly what happened, but in November 2012, less than a month after Win8's general release, Sinofsky was suddenly out of Microsoft. (Steve won't say; he's bound, as reported in a Digital Trends story, by a U.S. $14 million retirement agreement that precludes him from making "disparaging statements" about Microsoft.)

I think that Steve tried to pull the Windows Phone effort into the Windows 8 fold and was thwarted. Back in December 2011, while the Windows 8 development effort was in full swing, Steve Ballmer removed the widely respected Andy Lees from his post as president of Windows Mobile (see InfoWorld story) and replaced him with young turk Terry Myerson.

Ultimately, Myerson never joined the Windows 8 effort. He and the Windows Phone team kept their heads down and honed Windows Phone 7, which doesn't look or act anything like Windows 8.

For whatever reason, Sinofsky's departure was abrupt. Some people think he jumped; others think he was pushed. As I reported in an InfoWorld story, my theory is that he expected to parlay the success of Windows 8 into a larger division that included Windows Phone — and then replace Ballmer as the next CEO of Microsoft. Unfortunately for Sinofsky, things did not go as expected.

Now, the rest of the Office 95-to-Windows 8 management crew (more or less) has scattered.

Julie Larson-Green — responsible for the infamous Office ribbon and Windows 8's Modern UI — took over for Sinofsky briefly after his departure. She then spent seven months in charge of the Devices and Studios group, where she oversaw the Xbox, Surface, sundry additional devices, and Microsoft's studio recording efforts.

Earlier this week, Mary Jo Foley revealed in a ZDNet article that Stephen Elop, who returns to Microsoft from Nokia later this year, will bump Larson-Green out of her seat. Larson-Green's new position will be chief experience officer of the My Life & Work team in the Application and Services Group, where she's in charge of unifying the experiences in Skype, Bing, and OneDrive. You could say that's, uh, quite a change from running Windows development.

Jensen Harris, who worked for Larson-Green and was directly responsible for the Office ribbon and much of the Modern user interface, has moved to the Bing team — so I'm told. I haven't heard much from him lately.

Jon DeVaan officially left Microsoft at the beginning of this year. For nearly 30 years, he built the plumbing that holds Office and Windows together. Most recently, he was in charge of the Core Operating Systems Division. DeVaan is a legendary software engineer and software-engineering manager. There are no reports on his current endeavours.

Similarly, Grant George left Microsoft at the beginning of 2014. He's been a bug catcher almost as long as there've been bugs. He's now officially retired.

Antoine Leblond stayed behind to lead the Office development team when the rest of the group left, then later became a very visible member of the Windows 8/8.1 effort, frequently posting blogs about the new software. He (or someone posting for him) has recently posted fluff pieces about Windows 8. Times have changed.

As we all know, Steve Ballmer retired as Microsoft CEO, but he keeps a foot in the door as an MS director. Opinions vary as to how much of his departure was push and how much was shove; it's likely that the individuals involved have, uh, different perceptions.

Sturm und Drang: The crew that's now in place
I've been watching Microsoft, Windows, and Office for many, many years. I've never seen any change as pronounced as the one that plunked Terry Myerson into the Windows hot seat.

At least organizationally — and perhaps personally — Myerson was ignored, neglected, and hung out to dry during the Sinofsky years. The Win8 team developed an entire "mobile" Windows programming interface — the WinRT API — apparently with little more than a nod to Microsoft's official mobile team. Rumors had it that Windows 8, née Sinofsky, was going to absorb Windows Phone. It never happened — quite the contrary, in fact.

With Sinofsky's departure, Larson-Green took charge of the Windows division. It was a short stint. In July 2013, Ballmer appointed Myerson to lead the entire Windows effort: he was the small fish that swallowed the much bigger fish. Myerson's oversized mandate includes Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox software, and at least some parts of Internet Explorer.

Myerson and crew are currently building the next version of Windows. (We'll call it Windows 9, for lack of a more creative name.) He has some serious engineering and management chops. He founded Intersé Corp., which he sold to Microsoft in 1997, reportedly pocketing $16.5 million in Microsoft stock in the deal. He took over the Microsoft Exchange effort in 2001 and led that group until becoming head of mobile engineering in 2008. Myerson killed Windows Mobile in late 2008, replacing it with the built-from-scratch Windows Phone. As you might imagine, he wasn't happy when Sinofsky charged ahead with his own vision of mobile Windows.

Myerson has assembled a stellar array of managers: Joe Belfiore, now in charge of Windows for phones, tablets, and PCs, has knocked around various Microsoft departments since 1990. Xbox veteran Marc Whitten is in charge of Xbox software. Henry Sanders was on the Windows Phone team and is a former Windows Core Operating System Division (COSD) developer under DeVaan. He's now the new OS development chief. David Treadwell, also from the Xbox team (and a COSD veteran) is in charge of product management. Two Windows team holdovers remain: performance specialist Mike Fortin takes over testing, and former Windows Live deputy Chris Jones stays on as the manager of services.

Dean Hachamovitch was in charge of Internet Explorer. He left the IE team in November 2013, and no successor has been announced. According to a Nov. 12, 2013, The Verge story, it appears that Myerson is breaking off responsibilities for IE and assigning at least some of the job to Belfiore.

In summary, the new Windows team isn't just mobile-savvy — by and large, they're mobile veterans. There's a bit of old-fashioned Windows depth, but Phone and Xbox dominate. That's a very important point to remember when you look at Windows' future.

I also note in passing that Satya Nadella, the new Microsoft CEO, was in charge of Bing less than three years ago. So the new heavy hitters know both mobile and the cloud — arguably two of the blind spots among their predecessors.

Those are the people who are fashioning the next step for Windows. Given their history and expertise, I'm bullish on Windows 9.

What the changes mean for Windows customers
During the Sinofsky reign, most Windows pundits rarely heard a peep out of the development trenches. For whatever reason, the Windows development team was terrified of leaking anything about anything. Fortunately, that atmosphere might be changing. We're seeing and hearing more about what the Windows team is thinking and doing.

There are no guarantees that the next version of Windows will be as successful as Windows 7. I've heard nothing for attribution, but the tea leaves I've seen leave me with some hope.

We do know that Microsoft is trying to bring two disparate programming interfaces — Metro's WinRT API and the Windows Phone Runtime API — closer together. Late last week, a WinBeta story ran leaked screen shots that show apps capable of running under both Windows RT (and thus the Metro side of Windows 8/8.1) and the as-yet-unreleased Windows Phone 8.1. There are still many hurdles to overcome. Even if Myerson meets his goals, there will reportedly be only an "80 percent code overlap" between the two interfaces. However, that Myerson is drawing together the pieces Sinofsky pulled apart speaks volumes.

Sooner or later, developers will be able to build apps that run on both Windows Phone and the, er, Windows version of Windows. Imagine that.

Of greater interest to mouse-and-keyboard Windows users: It appears that Microsoft is building three different versions of Windows, with a Spring 2015 delivery. As ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reports, the new Windows effort — code-named "Threshold" — consists of three parts:

A "Modern" consumer version of Windows, available only via the Windows Store, will run on hardware that we would currently identify as phones, tablets, phablets, and maybe even ultrabooks. There's lots of speculation about whether Windows 9 "Mod" will run only on ARM-equipped devices (as is currently the case with Windows RT) or on both ARM and Intel hardware. Presumably, it'll be touch-friendly.

A traditional consumer version will be suited more for mouse/keyboard users. It will be regularly updated through the Windows Store. Based on Foley's description, it isn't clear whether the traditional consumer version will include a Metro side similar to the current Windows 8/8.1. I hope Microsoft develops a technology similar to Stardock's ModernMix (site), which lets you run Metro apps inside their own windows on the Windows desktop.

An Enterprise version will be mouse-keyboard-dependent, but it won't be updated every three or so days. This is the Windows 7 replacement, at least to my way of thinking. If it looks and acts like an improved version of Windows 7, that's the version I'd recommend for just about every experienced Windows user.

Keep in mind: All this information is based on leaked and uncorroborated reports that might represent Microsoft's current planning. There's no assurance that any of this leaked information will come to fruition.

But given that bit of preview — and given the team that's putting the next Windows together — I'm hopeful that Windows 9 will have one flavour that looks like a better Windows 7 and another flavour that works great on phones and tablets. And that they arrive in time to plug the whooshing sound emanating from Windows 8.

Guess who just installed Windows 7 Pro  :-D

Offline GhostShip

  • Ret. WinMX Special Forces
  • WMW Team
  • *****
Re: Turmoil at Microsoft; implications for Windows users
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2014, 08:42:21 pm »
Theres a mixture of O/s's in usage at my home from XP the old favourite to win7 pro and a few laptop machines running vista which seemed designed to drive users to Linux, I did in fact try out mint linux simply to rid myself of  the vista mess and win 8 seems more of the same  :lol:

Offline Trestor

  • Forum Member
  • Your call is important to us ...
Re: Turmoil at Microsoft; implications for Windows users
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2014, 05:07:11 am »

Guess who just installed Windows 7 Pro  :-D

If that's the case you may like to consider installing Classic Shell to give yourself back some of the functionality that w7 doesn't have. It works well for me.

For my part I'm not sorry to see the back of the people who, with each new iteration of Windows, made the OS with less features in some ways while adding more steps to achieve the same results in other things. I will say in their favor that they did automate some features such as establishing a new internet connection in w7, which made things easier. I'm concerned that the new bunch of people are very portable device orientated as I'm a PC user of keyboard and mouse, and I prefer these. The Metro/Modern screen has not been anything more than a hindrance when I've used w8, so I hope there will indeed be a new OS that either doesn't have it or that it can be turned off.

Offline MinersLantern

  • Forum Member
Re: Turmoil at Microsoft; implications for Windows users
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2014, 06:28:55 am »
I wonder and hope that all of this will result in win7 behaving like XP and lower as far as the simple desktop is concerned.

Set a folder to detail view, copy some bunch of files to it and bam. They are all instantly sorted in whatever way you have set that folder to sort. It was much nicer when everything went to the bottom of the list, so that you could rename or whatever the new files with them all in a nice tidy location.

The sorting would not happen until you either closed and reopened the folder or hit refresh. Now, good luck if you need to know every name of each file mentally. Windows will scatter them all over the place.

That alone causes an unholy amount of business customers to still stick with XP.

Another issue is that the size and position of previously opened windows (I mean ALL of them) was happily remembered by XP and under. At Vista and up, M$ in their limitless wisdom removed that feature. (I sorta kinda cured that by putting in Shell Folder Fix) yes it rembers everything on the windows sizes and position but operates in a disturbing jerky way.

I have classic shell too. Also another half-assed solution.

It would be nice if microsoft would, oh, I dont know, like listen to their customers and stop blowing them off.

Thousands of people have been complaining for years directly to microsoft, they say, we wrote it that way on purpose, basically, f**k off.

It should not be needed to apply 3rd party software that sorta kinda works to correct the defects that windows now has.

A simple patch could be applied by M$ itself to restore the lost functionality in a nice smooth and elegant way if they werent such assholes.

Maybe the assholes have now been purged, I hope.

Win7 does kick ass. I love the speed and lack of crashing for no reason, like the older versions did. The thing has fantastic memory management  Automagic networking optimization which also works beautifuly.

If they would get over the idiot office politics and put back what wasnt broken in the first place, that would be nice.

Offline GhostShip

  • Ret. WinMX Special Forces
  • WMW Team
  • *****
Re: Turmoil at Microsoft; implications for Windows users
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2014, 09:07:11 am »
Well said MinersLantern  8)

They do indeed spend a lot of time changing things that are already perfect simply to justify a new operating system every few years,it might be a better idea if they made more shells and less core changes so business users could maximise the output from their staff in terms of less wasted time unlearning hundreds of key navigational sequences that are changed at whim every release.

Offline Trestor

  • Forum Member
  • Your call is important to us ...
Re: Turmoil at Microsoft; implications for Windows users
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2014, 05:02:25 am »
MinersLantern, I thoroughly agree. There are things left over from w95 that still haven't been fixed, while good features have been interfered with. There have been real improvements in many areas, but MS should actually care about what people want rather than foisting on people what they want them to have. I know its about making money for themselves, but narking off the customer base with bad behavior to achieve this is never a good idea.

Offline WhiteLightningX

  • OurMX Support Group
  • ***
  • *****
Re: Turmoil at Microsoft; implications for Windows users
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2014, 06:42:14 am »
I agree, they really should pay attention to what works and what doesn't, and stop using it as a way to push users strategically into buying the "latest and greatest" edition of windows. It pains me to use windows 7, let alone 8. (I refuse to talk about that mutant baby called Vista. :secret: lol)

A few of the other missing features of XP that are not included with its post successors and things that worked perfectly fine or better:

The lovely start menu. Win7's start menu is terrible! if you have a bunch of programs installed, instead of the easy going mouse gestures until you find the correct one and click it, you have to scroll down, scroll down, click, scroll down, click etc. Or, you can use the magical search function! which you have to switch over to your keyboard and then hopefully not accidentally click <insert program name here> unistall program... :death:

The File menu. Now you must press the Alt key to have it show up. But they have added a fat bulky blue bar that sits there with a bunch of functions that to date I have never used short of the sort view button. I guess it pretty maybe. :o

They removed the Quick Launch bar! ERRR!!! :evil:

A very common problem users face: "Where is the 'up a folder' button?"  :P

Search function is incredibly slow and has had features removed.

A problem I really dislike is the fact that when I'm playing games in windowed mode, so I can switch between programs with ease using Alt-Tab, is that with my resolution being 1366x768, the best smaller size to display the game is 1280x720, but the start menu cuts the bottom part of the game off removing some of the games HUD, and setting the start bar "always on top" off causes it to happen globally even with other programs. This was never a problem when i had XP, because in XP, you could click the bottommost portion of the title bar, and drag the window up so that the title bar hangs off the top of the screen. Win7 will not let you do that, and if you try, it "snaps" back below the top edge of the screen, and if you do touch the edge, it think you are wanting to make the program fullscreen... (Update to this part... apparently i was wrong, -or more of a right to complain- there no longer is a "always on top" option, as it has been removed in 7. It's now permanently always on top..)

Alt-Tab now has the desktop as an option, which i absolutely love! except for one thing.. I'm real bad to to accidentally switch to the desktop when I'm playing a fullscreen game.. where's the problem in this you ask? why would i even be alt tabbing out of the fullscreen game if i didn't want to go to the desktop where another program would be running? I'll tell you my friends. I have multiple monitors, and I usually have Winamp running on the other monitor, and certain games take a -long- time to load if you switch in and out of the desktop..and they lock the mouse to the current games screen, so I cannot move over to play another song. So I try to alt tab to Winamp and it wont close the game, but it will allow me to move the mouse to find a new song, instead of waiting a few minutes for the game to reload over and over.

You can no longer shut down the machine without installing updates. It's mandatory. Unlike XP, there is no "Only notify me of updates" option. Yes, you can choose when to search for updates, or choose when to download or whether to install them, but if you have updates in queue it will always install them when you shutdown. This is a pain because perhaps you use the machine often or on the go like I do, waiting around isn't an option. Worse, the only way to stop it is to stop it from searching for updates at all, which mean you have to do it manually, so no more "surfing the web and a pop up tells you there are high priority updates available that could affect you." You either do it manually when you can, or if you leave it on and choose to do it later, then need to leave and shut it down, you're going to waiting for a while. :tired:

Win7 is TERRIBLE when it comes to managing and processing large amount of files and their thumbnails. This is very common problem for users who have large collections of images or movies. (lol yes it affects real people and their jobs, not just those users with a lot of "dirty" materials.. ;))

The new explorer layout in general is.. well.. kind of annoying. While I like the idea of Libraries, the simple fact that I cant say I've ever really used it or bothered to set it up or organize it, and the few times I have tried it either wound up with eyesores like the "Favorites" not being able to be removed etc etc, and tends to hamper my productivity more than anything. There should be a rather "obvious" button that says "Hide this stupid window pane over here." That would be nice. :)

If you've noticed your hard drive space in Win7 slowly drying and shrinking up.. check the size of your WinSxS folder..This folder allows multiple DLL's to run side by side (hence sxs) that are different versions of the same DLL file. Older programs on occasion need older DLL files. Problem is they tend to pile up if not properly removed, and a LOT of old applications tend to forget to remove them...This folder is more of a bandaid approach to fix Window's DLL Hell problem..(mines over 25 gig if that gives you a clue..)

Only 2 power options show up in the tray. High performance mode is also hidden by default.

As stated by minerslantern, windows that are opened no longer "remember" what they used to look like or where they were placed.

If you have a lot of funny GIF images, you can no longer view them in 7, only first animation is displayed. ***cough-- you can fix this though by downloading the XP version of windows image and fax viewer. Strangely, this program will not work when installed, however if you set the compatibility mode to "Win7," it will work even though the program was designed for XP..... :o***

Linking XP to 7 through a network to share files or stream media can be HELL for inexperienced users.. just a warning.. much of the networking interface has been a bit over simplified, yet still retains bits and pieces of older settings and menus. On top of that, the Homegroup option is a plague if you've ever tried to use it. It was a good idea, but needs a lot of work..

also mentioned by minerslantern, you cannot disable "auto arrange" or "align to grid" for contents inside a folder. This means manually managing a folders contents or keeping track of newly inserted files can be a pain.

The pane in the left side of explorer no longer has the ability to scroll horizontally, or automatically scroll horizontally if a file with a long name is clicked, to make matter worse, the scroll bar for manual movement is gone. So the only way to view items with longer names is to drag the edge of the pane over.

The properties window for the desktop has been hacked and slashed apart, now with each tab being its own window, and having to go through the personalize menu adding extra unneeded steps. This could be cleaned up considerably.  If you do create a custom theme in the personalization window, it muse be saved new and the old theme deleted, you can not overwrite the old one. You also cannot directly switch appearance themes, such as between Aero and classic mode.

Cleartype cannot be turned off entirely, which is annoying to those of use who love to use those antiquated X-ray producing, absolutely beautiful and amazingly generated colors and contrast of the old CRT monitors.  :x I have a 1 bajillion pound 22 inch (can do higher than so called HD 1080p crap) monitor that is astonishing. Makes the lights dim when you turn it on.  ;) :evil: Cleartype makes my crystal clear super crisp fonts look like blurry garbage..(i cant stand LCD's, or HD tv's for that matter, I have my reasons, but that's for a different day!  ;))

 But hey, according to the television and all my dumb friends, windows 7(and its successors) is superior and I should quit holding on the past. It's not my fault that as technology gets better and better and faster and faster, they just bloat the operating system farther and farther and make it less usable. I'm the silly crazy guy. :) I miss when company's took pride in their products, instead of trying to cheat their own customers out of a dollar. Or worse, like a lot of video games these days, they release it before it's finished because of some imaginary deadline, then give you 940539453 patches.. lol.

Sorry for the overly long rant, might as well speak all of my mind since it was brought up. I am aware that a lot of things in windows 7 can be tweaked or brought back, a lot of those things also can't, or require tedious work to do so. It's as if we are being treated like idiots who can't decide for ourselves, or can't read options under the settings menu and figure out what they do. And in 7, there are tons of things that you must do in order to set it up correctly, and the majority of times, if you don't have the internet to figure it out, you're screwed. And some of them are just plain "not obvious." I am aware that no software that is constantly having to incorporate new ideas, new technologies, new everything, is going to be perfect, but that doesn't mean it should be released with as many problems as 7, or be worse at doing something than its predecessor. The lack of structure and oversight and continuity between things inside of post XP systems has lead to me to absolutely hate them, and that's also why I haven't managed to switch to linux(which is sort of like microsoft these days I guess), as it seems to have no direction to really unify it's inner workings, and no glue holding it together really even though they have made great strides in recent years. Apple has too much oversight for me I'm afraid.. :suspious: :) lol

The amazing part of all of it is that as hardware performance increases off the charts, these bulky operating systems slow it back down to the point that it kinda-sorta runs at the same speed it did 10 years ago... hmm... :butt: hahahaha  :lol: Anyone miss the C64 days up to the end of cartridge era of video games? you know, when you flip the power switch and it was "On?" A lot of kids don't know what it is like to have a machine that's ready when you are. I feel sorry for them, but then again If I didn't own a Super Nintendo, I would have almost forgot myself.

WinMX World :: Forum  |  Discussion  |  WinMx World News  |  Turmoil at Microsoft; implications for Windows users

©2005-2024 All Rights Reserved.
SMF 2.0.19 | SMF © 2021, Simple Machines | Terms and Policies
Page created in 0.026 seconds with 23 queries.
Helios Multi © Bloc
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!