Summary: Amazon review averages show just why Microsoft is suffering, still unable to offer anything substantially new (we refute the hype by quoting from USENET too)
OVER at USENET (
comp.os.linux.advocacy), someone who goes by the name of Megabyte posts information about the hyped-up products which are Microsoft’s very few cash cows. From last night’s message about the AstroTurfed-for [1, 2] Office 2010:
…I decided I would take a look at how Office 2010 Professional is fairing in terms of reviews on Amazon.com – rated at 2 stars!
Here are a few comments:
“I’ve been an office “professional” user for years and years and have faithfully upgraded each time. I’ve researched this product extensively in an attempt to understand why I should pay nearly $500 to, essentially, change the background color and add a ribbon to the top of the page. ”
“What a contrast MS and Apple are. Apple seems it can do no wrong – everything it does seems carefully calculated and well planned. The Customer Experience always of paramount importance. Then there is MS who seem to look for ways to screw themselves. Granted Windows 7 was a big improvement, however overall expectations after years of disappointment we’re truthfully not that high – just getting an Windows OS that worked fairly reliable had focus happy. But then to follow a little success with the decision to NOT offer upgrade pricing on Office 2010 was as bone-headed as decisions come. I am sick of MS price gouging mentality.”
“With no upgrade pricing, Microsoft has taken a serious swipe at their loyal customers. The return on an “upgrade” has to be so much higher now, yet the new features (vs 2007) are generally frivolous toys, not serious features. Until Microsoft can come up with really differentiated new versions, why go to the next version?”
Watch this page. 2 out of 5, on average.
Compare that to the most major competition (not Google, which is a decoy Microsoft tries emphasising). The real competition is Free software. And by contrast, perfect score was attained by OpenOffice.org 3.1.x. 5 out of 5.
“Big Improvement Over Vista Once Tweaked, Still An Annoying OS”
“Windows 7 – Snobby in the extreme”
“Not Ready for Prime Time”
“Mediocre and pointless computing at its finest”
“OK, unless you have ever used another OS”
“Pig in a Dress”
“Will be glad when Bill gates fixes the issues with this program”
“Not a fan”
“Save Your Money”
“MASSIVE invasion of privacy”
Rex Ballard from the same newsgroup writes the post titled “Windows 8 Vaporware — Highlights Windows 7 failings”. It’s about Vista 8 and it goes like this:
It seems that Microsoft accidentally leaked goals for Windows 8. Obviously Microsoft is hoping it can use the vaporware gambit to somehow retain the loyalty of OEMs to an “All Microsoft” solution for their laptops and desktops.
Included in these presentations is a rather telling (but obvious) slide which shows that Microsoft is clearly paying attention to Apple while planning Windows 8. Titled, “How Apple does it: A virtuous cycle,” Microsoft has broken down Apple’s UX/Brand Loyalty cycle and cited its value. Though it’s fairly obvious, the takeaway here is that Microsoft is aiming to give Windows the very same “it just works” status that Apple’s products are known for
It looks like they will be trying to but Dragon Strictly Speaking and ViaVoice out of business – They are promising “voice control” – but it’s unclear whether or not this will include fully functional 100% accurate real-time speech-to-text or not. Thus far Dragon has come close, but even they can only transcribe 1 voice, and has to be trained by that voice, and you have to be in a very quiet room. The holy grail of voice recognition would be the ability to connect it to the television and get a “script” that not only told you what was being said, but also who was saying it. Such a system could also take accurate transcripts of conference calls and even sit-down meetings.
Other key features seem to include mandatory touch-creen, 17 inch minimum display, up to 5 concurrent contact points, and full HD (1900×1200) display. Getting the “True Windows 8″ experience will difinitely require a new computer. Microsoft is also promoting an all- in-one configuration with the computer tightly coupled to the display.
Perhaps they don’t like the fact that Linux is now being used to drive the display electronics for most external monitors and HDTV systems.
I’m sure it was a mistake, but the timeline slide shows that Windows 7 support will be ending far sooner than the even the beta releases of Windows 8.
As for the facial recognition, I’ve got that on my thinkpad.
The biggest problem for Microsoft is that they keep adding locks and keys to the front door, but the back door, the “doggie door” they use to monitor end-user activity, is easily unlocked by hackers with even the most rudimentary skills. But Microsoft refuses to give up that back door. If Microsoft can get into you computer without you knowing it, so can most hackers, even the “script kiddies”.
Other interesting items of note.
It seems that the classic “Tower” and “Mini” platforms, such as the ASUS Revo, will not be in Microsoft’s plans for Windows 8. Microsoft will also be taking a more “aggressive” control of the entire configuration. Unfortunately, this is likely to mean that PC
manufacturers are likely to lose even more money on each sale, since they will now have to invest heavily on additional hardware – which will crash to commodity prices even more quickly, since all of the machines will be virtually identical – and Acer and ASUS will probably start dropping prices very quickly.
Bad news for Retailers and 3rd party software developers
It seems that Microsoft also wants a LOT more control over applications. It seems that they will be the sole source for obtaining new applications for Windows 8.
It’s pretty obvious that Microsoft never intended to let this information be made public when it was, but now everybody, including PC makers, software vendors, and competitors, can see how Microsoft intends to tighten it’s grip on the market, and how they intend to get even tougher on Linux.
Ironically, it’s also pretty clear that Microsoft is also trying to steal even more tricks from their competitors, including Chromium, Linux, and OS/X.
This just repeats what we already knew. Vista 7 is succeeding as much as Vista succeeded (i.e. not so much once the artificial hype gets cancelled out). Vista 8 vapourware is just the next hype cycle and a repetition of what Microsoft did when Vista was visibly failing (start talking about future versions and produce fake ‘leaks’ only to under-deliver at the end). █