Thoughts on Windows 10, Its Detractors, and Marketing

Windows 95, 2.0. Apparently Windows 10 is nothing more than this, if internet commenters are to be believed. I liked Windows 8.1. That is, I liked it when everything tablet-centric about it is made more desktop-friendly. But with StartIsBack, ModernMix, Glass8, UXStyle, and a good theme, it’s a good OS. Online though, everyone seems to fall into two camps: “Windows 8.x is a total disaster. I’m sticking with Windows 7!” and “Windows 8.x is perfect! MS has a brilliant vision, and anyone who dislikes it is just wrong.” Meanwhile, I fall somewhere in the middle. There are things I like about 8.x: Native disc image mounting is huge for me. The new file operation progress dialogs. The ribbon in Explorer. An app store. Oh, and the new task manager. When it comes down to what I don’t like? The tablet-centric UI paradigms like apps and the Start menu being forced into full screen. So now that we’ve finally been given a choice, I’m happy…

Well almost. I’m still left with two things I just don’t understand. First is the marketing. Within this category, I have two smaller concerns that add up to a total sense of “What is MS drinking?” First, of course, is the more obvious of the two: The Windows 10 name. I have a general sense of “Microsoft can’t count” these days. Actually, I’ve had this sense for quite awhile now.

Windows 6.4. Doesn’t that just scream “10” to you?

The third Xbox? Xbox One. Windows 6.1? Windows 7. Windows 6.2? Windows 8. Windows 6.3? Windows 8.1. Windows 6.4? Windows 10. I am confused. Completely and totally confused. Ever since Windows 7, the actual version number has incremented consistently by 0.1 (how often, exactly, are they going to keep this up?). Meanwhile, the marketing version number has incremented by 1, 0.1, then… 1.9? I have no idea what’s going on here, but I’m quite worried that a company that makes accounting software apparently doesn’t know how to count.

Then we have the other issue: How they’re marketing the Technical Preview.

I think this is the most patronizing thing I’ve ever seen…

So what exactly does this accomplish? I’m taking a technical writing class, and right now, we’re studying how to not sound like condescending asshats. This is a prime example of how not to avoid looking like a condescending asshat. You’re a multi-billion dollar company, Microsoft. The billions you’re paying your marketing team? They came from your customers. The same customers you’re painting as idiots. Please do the right thing and fire these guys. Just like you canned Adam Orth. Do I find this amusing? Yes. But I’m laughing at you, not with you. Do I like it when a company shows personality? Yes. But there are better ways to do that than to make the vast majority of your customer base feel stupid (and kind of make yourself look stupid in the process).

Anyway…

I actually didn’t decide to write this post in order to spew a bunch of anti-MS rage. I decided to write it after reading an ignorant comment on, surprise… The Verge.

I’ll do you one better: its Windows 95 with some Metro apps bolted on. What a shame that a few tech bloggers poisoned the minds of the public and terrified Microsoft into backpedaling hard from Windows 8’s original bold vision.

Here, we have a person who quite clearly understands technology. Totally different, more modern kernel? Yep. Modern security model, completely different file system, multi-processor and 64-bit capable? Yep, yep, and yep. BUT… it provides the option to use a Start menu to open apps instead of a full-screen version that mostly wastes space on a desktop machine? CLEARLY Windows 10 is just Windows 95!

Actually, I think he’s right! It’s like I can’t even tell the difference! /s

All the progress that’s been made in the last 20 years, and the only thing separating Windows 10 from Windows 95 is apparently that I can choose the size of the Start menu in Windows 10. “Bold vision” or Windows 95? The only difference? This little checkbox.

Did I mention there’s actually an option?

It’s not like MS actually removed anything! People are complaining about “backpedaling on a vision,” but all they did was provide an option! But no… apparently people should be forced to conform to some “vision.” The modern fanboy confuses me. Decrying the actions of a company because they listen to their customers instead of stubbornly going forward with something? We went through this with the Xbox One and the always online stuff. People complained about no longer being forced to phone home every 24 hours. A company does something consumer-centric, and then its fanboys hate them for turning back on their “vision.”

So what are my thoughts on Windows 10? Execution, A+. Marketing, F-.  The issue here is a clear split between the engineers and the marketeers. Windows 10 is decidedly a step in the right direction. All I ask is that they change that bland, 9x-ish visual style to something else (mostly the window borders… everything else looks good). Hey, actually everything else reminds me a little bit of Watercolor. Why not bring back those window borders? Do that MS, and I’ll love you forever.

Windows 8 and 8.1 brought about some good changes, with the key flaw being forcing a full-screen Start menu optimized for tablets on desktop users. With Windows 10, we have MS realizing user choice is a good thing, and finally allowing people to do what they should’ve been able to do all along. Meanwhile, we have those who thoroughly confuse me. The Stockholm syndrome ridden fanboys who think users shouldn’t be given an option. To these, I ask: Does a person who ticks a checkbox that makes their Start menu not take up the whole screen really hurt you? Are you that butthurt over someone having a UI preference that’s slightly different than yours?

In summary: I like the product. I hate the marketing (including the name). And as always, I hate the fanboys.

3 Responses to “Thoughts on Windows 10, Its Detractors, and Marketing”

  1. Pedro (Gafanhotz)

    Let’s remember that Microsoft calls the new full-screen start menu “unity mode” which is waaaayyyy cooler than the original full screen start. Also, I don’t understand people who says “i dunno how to use dis shit” with Windows 8, when the only difference is that the start menu is right there but in full screen. I got to love Windows 8(.1) and it’s Win+S and Win+S shortcuts. And I kinda of didn’t like Windows 10 because they killed that specific Win+S charms bar to put it back on the Start menu, so in order to get it back, you’re forced into going to Unity mode. Why I can’t get both?!

  2. Pedro (Gafanhotz)

    Note: On “shortcuts” I meant to say Win + X and Win + S. And “get both” I meant the charms bar with the “new non-fullscreen start menu”. (Ewwwwwww I made a double post.)

  3. Justin

    Unity mode? That’s gonna confuse me, since that’s also what VMWare calls its integration mode.

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