Thursday, March 18, 2010

WTF Microsoft...

I'll get hell for this from Lonecow, but with the announcement of Windows Phone 7 things were finally looking up on the WinMo front.  It finally seemed that MSFT got it.  This seems... not to be case.

To understand the frustration we must first start at understanding how Microsoft is structured, and why this structure is a big steaming pile of FAIL.  Like many companies Microsoft is a "Project" based company.  When they have an idea a Project Manager get's assigned who job it is to build a team, and set forth to achieve his assigned task or goal.   For the last 25 years or so Microsoft had great success using this model to quickly and efficiently build new programs and devices and drive innovation.  "Look at what Apple is doing with GUIs let's build the best and most prolific GUI OS possible."  "Sony's printing money with video games; lets own the video game market."  Despite their faults when Microsoft wants to achieve something they have the resources and talent to do just about anything in the world they want.  Here though in-lies the problem, this way of doing thigs is myopic.  Your people are set forth to achieve a singular goal, with no regard for the overall environment.  In the Software days all that matter was, "will Word run on Windows,"  that was it; that was the extent of compatibility.  Then all of the sudden everything changed.  The tech world was converging.  People don't want 6 devices that do their own thing, they want 1 or 2 that work with everything.  This move in the market caught Microsoft on their heels.  Their system failed them.  They had great products: OS, video game system, media player, digital POS etc.  None of it worked together.  The Zune team build an awesome media players that had no integration in to any of the other environments; same with the XBOX Team or the Windows Mobile Team, or the Media Center team.  They have this habit of creating these initiative that create products that are truly mind blowing, but they don't belong to any larger ecosystem.  What Microsoft needed was in addition to Project Management they also need to focus on "Program Management."  Program management is managing the deliverable of various projects, and leveraging them to achieve larger goals.  How the people at the top could be so blind to the need for convergence I do know.  There should have been someone some where that realized 5 years ago that all of the products should work together, someone like Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer come to mind.

The reality is this is nothing new.  They knew this was a problem, and about a year ago decided to fix it.  They completely threw out everything they had worked on up to that point for Windows Mobile 7 and started over.  They leveraged what had already  been done to create the superb Zune HD, and created a new smart-phone OS that would not only compete head to head with Android, iPhone, and Palm; but also bring about some of the much needed ecosystem convergence.  Unveiled at the World Mobile Congress this year in Madrid the new "Windows Phone 7" does exactly what everyone has wanted; it brought Zune, XBOX Live, Bing, and PC all together in one tight little package.  The fans were excited and happy, I was exited and happy.  This week at MIX10 an annual Microsoft developers, developers, developers conference the new Windows Phone 7 SDK was the big news.  Each day little bits and peices would leak out about all kinds of additional goodies.  Then it happned.  An off the cuff remark in a break out session regarding extensions it came up that out of the box Windows Phone 7 does not have...

CUT AND FREAKING PASTE!!!!!   FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUU.  Never in my life have I actually felt like the Hitler video; to have my giddy hopes dashed in such a quick and decisive maneuver.  In an instant it proved to me that Microsoft doesn't get it.  Further effort is futile.  The Russians, er Apple, have stormed Berlin, and it's all about to tumbling down around me.  There isn't someone pulling the strings making all of this stuff work right.  They aren't really listening to the people who buy their products.  No it's the same-old same-old.  I this is a little intense for something as minor as cut and paste, but there is more.  They also announced that apps for the platform cannot be side loaded, in other words loaded outside of the integrated apps store.  futhermore there isn't any multi-tasking.  One app at a time like iPhone.  I hate this.  They're going backwards.  These are both have been features of Windows Mobile for ages.  It's like not a single person spends any time on the internet and realizes that each of those points were some of the top things people hated about the iPhone.  Bringing a phone to market that doesn't have cut and paste out of the box means that regardless of how good everything else on the phone is you're still two years behind everyone else.    

I haven't lost all hope.  Perhaps they'll see the error in their ways before 4Q.  Who knows.  Maybe.  I'll try to keep interested enough to maybe possibly report back.  We'll see...