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 those of us with non-pencil skinny 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 millimeters 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 hang 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
- Cortana was not Bob. Bob was a retarded 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. However, Microsoft was too little and too late. The standalone Cortana appliance was a fantastic HK device. I wish they have marketed it to the Garage builders and home inventors rather than the general populace. Microsoft should have changed when the product started to become a dying product in the market. Microsoft’s subsequent fault was the lack of foresight with security systems, environmental controls, and standard IoT devices. They were always 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 terrific, a solid evolution off of Zune music. But then, the days of internet radio evolved to Pandora, Stitcher, and Spotify. Why didn’t Microsoft 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 felt tossed to the side. Even now, Spotify is promoted within Groove.
- Ebooks that were organized by the worst pattern possible were a public poison. 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 bookshelves 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 to understand the cultures and nuances of the people. India cannot be the one-stop localization solution for every country (I’m not picking on India, just using them as a common trope for this example).
- Too long ago, Microsoft was unwilling to open the door to Android-centric Mobile Apps to run on Windows Phone, though most Java apps could run on Windows Desktop. 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 that allows us to develop in Windows and ship to other platforms, but let’s face it, the JRE crowd using J2ME had a headstart that Microsoft just never caught up to. They are still slow on the takeup due to the new competition from the variants of competition in NodeJS and their other JS cousins. I predict a short lifespan for the new Surface Phone, even though it is Android-based.
What is my definition of Visioneer?
Please don’t confuse visioneer, with the lower case V, with Visioneer, which has the upper case V. Visioneer, Inc. is a privately owned company based in Pleasanton, California. Visioneer is a developer of a way to capture documents and photographs and integrate them with popular Microsoft Windows and document imaging applications. Whereas I describe a visioneer below.
My definition of a visioneers is 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, analyze, and document results. They must be able to explain abstractions 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 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 does?
I am quite happy that the company which I currently work at 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 fulfilled, the customers get 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 user’s needs, then work with program managers and product owners to build the product. Visioneers job is to create a new market by 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 drive the cost of creating modernized solutions down. Then Microsoft should have been public with partner campaigns to rival Nest and other IoT devices. But that didn’t happen.
What should Microsoft and its visioneers do right now?
- Hire three 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, Microsoft Teams Meetings, and Skype should be commonplace.
- ReVision the Surface product line, because honestly, I am disappointed 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 an easy swap. Built-in Credit Card transactions as both an e-card and as a card reader, let PayPal and Square into that space on day one. Do not ever let the words be uttered that Microsoft didn’t give us a heads up for this integration or opportunity; they went directly to our competitor first.
- Finally, Microsoft needs to ReVision Natural human interface, AKA Cortana NextGen. Work with business integration and AI vision to provide more office automation and warehouse robotics. Most of all, keep it completely open to public contribution like .Net Core has been.
I really hope that someone from Microsoft 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).