They all miss the bull’s eye on low hanging fruit items.
- Surface phone:
- Where is the Modern UX of the old Window’s phone. It’s not like MS didn’t write their own launcher, so that they couldn’t do this. It’s also not like they didn’t have feedback of people with large fingers to do this. It’s also isn’t like there isn’t another launcher out there that doesn’t mimic the Window’s phone UX and provide us with giant sausage fingers a UX that works.
- Why can’t I unlock my phone while on a call? That is so fundamental to all smartphones. WTF!?!?!?!?!?!
- NO RFID READER?!?!? NO NFC?!?!?! NO WIRELESS CHARGING ?!?!? Adding those would have added one to two milimeters to the thickness of the phone. I would have rather had those than to do without.
- I get the mechanical gap in the middle, but why is that also reflected virtually. It should have been like the people who hange side by side monitors, and virtually they are butted together. Sure it makes images split in the middle look stretched, but that is a hell of a lot better than missing.
- XBox Series X and Series S:
- There is no question that these are more powerful than most desktops. Slap a keyboard and mouse on a Series X and you have a serious workstation. What is stopping you from dropping this pretense of avoiding desktops and just do it. Series X Plus Edition, where gaming platform meets desktop needs. Now I would have the reason to buy that thing. I mean, you already sell overpriced mobile PCs. (Ok, sort of overpriced. Meaning that I have to spend a lot of time to source all of my own parts, and build a custom that has the same features in a nearly same tight package.)
- The gimping of Cortana
- Of all of the voice assistants, Cortana had the most potential to be corporate agnostic. Meaning Alexa is focused on the Amazon brands, and Google Assistant is focused on Google. But Cortana was VERY IOT friendly.
- Can you imagine walking into a store and hearing a Cortana voice giving you isle directions, price lookups, inventory checks, and phone verifications for dropship transactions? So many times this would have been a better customer experience at Target than the actual experience.
- But it isn’t just customers, look at what Cortana could have been for the employee experience, getting work assignments, managing warehouse and stocking isles. It would have even lead to a better robotic assistance experience, to reduce labor cost.
- Cortana was not Bob. Bob was a retarted cockroach compared to the primitive abilities of Cortana. The strength of Cortana wasn’t in the thick feature list to support Google and Amazon, but for developers to add onto her, and expand her quickly. Though MS was too little and too late. The standalone Cortana appliance is still an awesome HK device that I wish they has marketed it to the Garage builders and home inventors rather than to the populous. Especially when it started to become the dying product in the market. MS’s next fault was the lack of fore sight with security systems, environmental controls, and common IOT devices. They were allways the 3rd person to the party, and well after the party had finished dining. This lack of market vision and product placement became their poison, and still is their poison.
- MS’s biggest failure is the lack of Visioneers (Vision Engineers) that know how to discover the next market, or reinvent the current market and answer the giant question of “WHY”.
- Great tech does not answer the question of why?
- Bill Gates used to answer the question of why with his mission statement of “A PC in every person’s home.” But he didn’t have the next why. It just wasn’t there.
- Steve Jobs was the king of “WHY”. Through Jobs we had the first truly marketable for the common man smart phone. But yet MS had PDA phones. The PDA phone’s were garbage to the Smart phone because the smart phone was designed for the person, not conform the person to the phone.
- Why the Frack is Google now my new security owner for a Microsoft platform? The surface phone version of Droid should have had an option to completely block Google, or give me OS options like mobile Linux or Arm base Windows. Anything but putting me back into Google’s known to violate their own privacy rules platform.
- Microsoft Store Self destruction
- XBox music was amazing, a solid evolution off of Zune music. But then the days of internet radio evolved to Pandora, Stitcher and Spotify. Why didn’t MS just buy out one of these and add it in? Sure they are pretty much all hosted over at AWS, but moving those servers would have been part of the deal. It also meant that the XBox music subscribers wouldn’t have fealt tossed to the side. Even now Spotify is a part of Groove.
- Ebooks that were organized by the worst pattern possible. I asked for a fantasy novel and I would get an adult slut novel when I expected Dr Who, Harry Potter, or any book from Timothy Zahn. Who does not edit their book shelves before opening the door? Did MS think that they could ignore localization and just put all of the books into any particular category because it works in one country? Localization engineers work in the country that they are localizing for, so that they understand the cultures and nuances of the people. India cannot be the one stop solution of localization into every country (I’m not picking on India, just using them as a comon trope for this example).
- Too long before MS was willing to open the door to Android centric Mobile Apps to run on windows. Can you imagine in on my Windows Phone 10 store, I had all of those JRE based droid apps available? I would have been in a new world of solutions and games. Sure we now have Blazor, and Unity3D which allows us to develop in Windows and ship to other platforms, but lets face it, the JRE crowd using J2ME had a headstart that MS just never caught up to. Even now they are still slow on the takeup due to the new competition from the variants of competition in NodeJS and their other JS cousins.
What is a Visioneer?
Visioneers are a special type of engineer. They need to be part visionary, part designer, part sociologist, part project manager, and mostly a strong communicator who can listen analyse and document results. They must be able to explain abstrations in words that can be understood by engineers and users equally well. They must continually seek feedback for the product and their own means of communication. They must be intrusive and non-intrusive to get the information that makes the biggest difference.
One of the biggest problems that I have heard from engineers is that the user doesn’t like the product so they won’t use it. When asked why, the engineers will generally say they don’t know why customers won’t use it. They are just told it is broken or is unusable. From an engineering standpoint what does that mean? What does it mean that it is broken; what parts do not work as expected; what are the expectations?
Of course the users are just as frustrated. They are told that it works as designed, or it is a user error. Great, the engineering staff just insulted the user, and may not actually understand the issue. This is mitigated greatly by a solid support staff, but how much of that staff knowledge is making it to the engineers in general? Are the support staff having a better time communicating to the engineering staff than the user do?
I am quite happy that the company I work for is responsive to both support staff and the end users. This is done by work with product owners who own the actual request and needs of the customers. Once that is fullfilled the customers get a better satisfaction in the results.
Where does a visioneer come in. They are the customer before the company has customers. Their job is to understand the market and the users needs, then work with program managers and product owners to build the product. Visioneers job is to create a new market from finding ways for people to have a better life, or a higher return on their investment in their life. A visioneer is also the person that works with failing products to reinvent them, or at minimal, reinvent their marketing, to bring the product back to the forefront of customer’s minds.
Cortana should have never been a me too. It should have been front and center of the garage inventor, aka Maker, space and driven the cost of creating modernized solutions down. Then MS should have been public with partner campaigns to rival Nest and other IOT devices. But that didn’t happen.
What should a Visioneer do right now?
- Hire 3 more visioneers. One for each at constant risk product lines.
- ReVision the XBox before it becomes the ex-box. End the days of single purpose platforms. XBox Zoom Meetings, MS Teams Meetings, and Skype should be common place.
- ReVision the Surface product line, because honestly I am dissapointed with the Surface 7 Pro, Surface Phone, Surface Headset, and their support. Find a way to run smaller production runs to focus on more leading edge solutions. Like a Surface Pro that supports wireless charging at the local coffee shop. Solid state drives that are side accessible cartridges, for easy swap. Built in Credit Card transactions as both an ecard and as a card reader; let PayPal and Square into that space on day one. Do not ever let the words be uttered that MS didn’t give us a heads up for this integration or opportunity; they went directly to our competitor first.
- ReVision Natural human interface, AKA Cortana Next Gen. Work with business integration and AI vision to provide more office automation and warehouse robotics.
I really hope that someone from MS reads this, because they could be so much more than Office, XBox Games, and Azure services (I say that from a public perspective, not an IT perspective).