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Ray Ozzie Quit... What Took Him So Long? 224

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the paychecks-aren't-bad dept.
GMGruman writes "The mainstream press acts surprised that Microsoft's chief software architect is resigning, but InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard explains through a review of Ozzie's efforts at Microsoft how the Redmond giant has consistently ignored and squandered the design savvy that Ozzie has tried to bring to the table. If you ever wondered why Microsoft's products like Windows and Office are so bloated and underwhelming, while Apple's are almost always wonderful experiences, this analysis will solve that mystery. And you too will wonder how Ozzie could have lasted so long at a company that doesn't believe in design."
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Ray Ozzie Quit... What Took Him So Long?

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  • Wow.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rotide (1015173) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:14PM (#33948828)

    If you ever wondered why Microsoft's products like Windows and Office are so bloated and underwhelming, while Apple's are almost always wonderful experiences, this analysis will solve that mystery.

    No bias here..

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:14PM (#33948832) Homepage

    That would be really helpful. MSFT would be a better company without monkey boy.

  • by decipher_saint (72686) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:17PM (#33948872) Homepage

    Inside every version of "Word" is every previous version of word, so you can open that Office '97 document just as easily as your 2010 document.

    Bloat accrues in most software I reckon.

    That said, it's sad to see when talent is trumped by management but I think we all know that's par for the course in IT.

  • Re:Wow.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by recoiledsnake (879048) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:19PM (#33948900)

    Seriously, Windows 7 runs on old Pentium 4's nicely and Office 2007 and 2010 are not really bloated compared to their functionality. But iTunes on the other hand....

  • by oneiros27 (46144) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:19PM (#33948902) Homepage

    I personally suspect that the people who are smiling all the time are the ones who are insane.

    The ones who frown at least have a chance of being connected to reality.

  • Re:finally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by recoiledsnake (879048) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:23PM (#33948966)

    Now comes word that Microsoft's head designer Ray Ozzie -- officially Chief Software Architect, de facto the highest-level designer in the company, with a purview outside the tired Windows/Office megalith -- has decided to take a break.

    Someone that gets confused between a designer and an architect has no right to write a tech article such as this one.

  • by postmortem (906676) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:23PM (#33948974) Journal
    If Apple is so good, why they use that 'bloated Office' by Microsoft?
  • Re:Wow.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArcherB (796902) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:30PM (#33949058) Journal

    If you ever wondered why Microsoft's products like Windows and Office are so bloated and underwhelming, while Apple's are almost always wonderful experiences, this analysis will solve that mystery.

    No bias here..

    I thought that mystery was solved in this [google.com] video.

  • Ding dong! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drlloyd11 (458569) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:33PM (#33949090)

    Seriously, this is the man behind Lotus notes and Groove. Two of the biggest piles of snot ever made. His existence at MS was a blight. Now if they can get Balmer to join him they may have something there.

  • by bjourne (1034822) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:33PM (#33949092) Homepage Journal
    Word has lots of features yes. But it is not slow or more unresponsive when compared to other office suites. OpenOffice always loads much slower than MS Office for me on similar hardware. MS Word's speed is on par with Abiword, although the former has many more features. Excel on par with Gnumeric, OpenOffice Calc is the slowest one by a margin. The reason may be that Windows preloads the libraries MS Office uses and therefore gets a speed advantage. Never the less, the end result is a better user experience.
  • Genius? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:33PM (#33949096)

    TFA lists a series of failed projects spearheaded by the guy, then claims - without any evidence - that the ideas were grand and it was MS which could not deliver - and concludes that Ray is an unappreciated genius of some kind. Yet it is clear even from a short glance that the ideas themselves were flawed or simply another also-ran. Come on, Groove? Azure? Live Mesh?

  • by heidaro (1392977) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:33PM (#33949104)
    Clean and elegant applications never sell in corporate environments. They need bloat and features that are never used.
  • Re:Wow.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bhcompy (1877290) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:35PM (#33949122)

    and Office 2007 and 2010 are not really bloated compared to their functionality

    One word: Ribbons.

  • Re:Wow.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:35PM (#33949124)
    If ever a story needed to be modded flame bait. The summary just begs for reactionary keyboard banging.
  • by decipher_saint (72686) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:36PM (#33949148) Homepage

    I think there was a cutoff at some point (Office 2005?) where it only went back as far as 2003, but I've had some experience working with Office guts and there are some mind-bendingly old components still being used that only kick in with specific document versions.

    Mind you, it's been about 4 years since I mucked about in there so who knows what changed, but the point I was trying to make still stands.

    The longer a piece of software is around the more likely it is to bloat.

  • by byteherder (722785) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:38PM (#33949174)
    "...company that doesn't believe in design."

    It is not that Microsoft doesn't believe in design, it is that they suck at it. The best case in point is Windows security.
  • Re:Wow.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by numbski (515011) <numbskiNO@SPAMhksilver.net> on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:45PM (#33949282) Homepage Journal

    No - he's talking about UI consistency and overall layout, not performance on older hardware. Whether you meant to do it or not, you've set up a straw man here.

    Granted, ESPECIALLY with iTunes, and ESPECIALLY with the latest version, Apple seriously violates it's own UI guidelines. As of right now, everything always looks greyed out, and the minimize/maximize/close buttons aren't located where they're supposed to be, and they're vertically oriented instead of horizontally.

    Apple's no saint, but the original poster's point still stands. Overall, Apple still wins on this.

  • This is the precise reason that i use .rtf as much as possible. If I don't need any super-fancy formatting, I always save as .rtf. Cross platform (for the most part), opens in just about every version of everything that I'm aware, including Microsoft Works if I recall correctly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:57PM (#33949452)

    "Designed by geniuses. Implemented by idiots." The Notes architecture complete revolutionized the way businesses communicated. But the Notes product had so many enormously frustrating gaps and gaffes that people in the trenches hated it."

    Alright. I can buy that.

    "A product called Azure has been released, but the feature set doesn't even begin to match the lofty initial design." ...err, alright...

    "Ozzie's biggest contribution to Microsoft's future direction has to be the Oct. 28, 2006, memo titled "The Internet Services Disruption." An insightful blueprint for the future, Microsoft stood up, took notice, but hasn't followed through very well." ...ok, so I guess that means tha...

    "Two weeks ago, Microsoft disbanded Live Labs, it moved the team over to the Bing group, and the leader of Live Labs left."

    Look, guys. There is more to being a visionary and a leader than simply having amazing pie in the sky ideas. In this place called the real world you actually need to get stuff done, and it seems that Mr. Ozzy has trouble doing that. I love amazing architecture as much as the next guy, but if a design simply never actually sees success for all its genius...well, I’m not sure how great a design it really was.

    At a certain point, the problem might not be that everyone around you is such an idiot, it may be you're not quite as good as you thought you were.

  • Re:Wow.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @02:00PM (#33949504)

    Actually, it often runs SLOWER if you turn off the aero interface. If your GPU can do your desktop rendering, let it. You did say 'older' hardware, and that can mean just about anything, but a lot of what I consider 'older hardware' is better with Aero on.

    But I agree with the sentiments that the submission is an apple fanboi. I'm writing this on a macbook pro but itunes is anything but archtypical good design. Its a music library manager, and ipod/iphone sync tool ... already the two should be separate. Lets tack on a web browser type thing (iTMs) except its not really the web that it browses, its apples proprietary alternative. What a great idea! How can we make this less appealing? How about a social network!! Hello pointless bloat that makes office look lean and task-focused.

    As if that's not enough, lets name it Ping! It rhymes with Bing! from Microsoft and also happens to be named the same as a standard network utility.

    Oh, and one more thing, lets violate the user interface standard by making the window control widgets smaller than normal and arrange them vertically instead of horizontally too. Steve Job's would blow a gasket if someone else dared to violate his beloved UI standard.

    If Microsoft wrote iTunes people would point at it as a symbol of everything that is wrong with Microsoft.

  • Re:Wow.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shadowrat (1069614) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @02:02PM (#33949536)
    I would grant that apple's UIs are more consistent and less bloated. Wonderful experience is a strange choice of words that reeks of bias. I expect microsoft products to put everything and the kitchen sink into the UI. I expect apple to carefully place only the items they think are most important in the UI. I think the wonderfulness of the experience is tied closely to how often you agree with apple's choice of included functionality.
  • Re:Wow.... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @02:03PM (#33949552)
    I agree; the ribbon was a very solid design choice. Kudos to Microsoft on that. What was your point again?
  • Re:Wow.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by recoiledsnake (879048) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @02:04PM (#33949560)

    No - he's talking about UI consistency and overall layout, not performance on older hardware. Whether you meant to do it or not, you've set up a straw man here.

    Err, the quote was that Windows and Office were bloated(which directly translates to bad performance on older hardware), not about UI consistency of layout. You're the one setting up a straw man here.

  • Indeed (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @02:25PM (#33949924)

    I - like pretty much everyone else - hated ribbons when they came out. I actually began usin more OpenOffice just to avoid dealing with ribbons.

    I - like pretty much everyone else - have since gotten used to them and realized, that they're quite an improvement. I can't wait to see them in OO.org, too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @02:27PM (#33949960)

    ... If you ever wondered why Microsoft's products like Windows and Office are so bloated and underwhelming, while Apple's are almost always wonderful experiences...

    Can we skip the propoganda? I use a Mac & PC side by side, every day, and the Mac is far from an 'always wonderful experience'.

  • Re:Wow.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by VGPowerlord (621254) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @02:32PM (#33950036) Homepage

    Err, the quote was that Windows and Office were bloated(which directly translates to bad performance on older hardware), not about UI consistency of layout. You're the one setting up a straw man here.

    No, setting up a strawman is taking what someone said and misrepresenting it.

    For instance, you just did it by referring to "bloated" and ignoring the "and underwhelming, while Apple's are almost always wonderful experiences" part that followed it that would most certainly refer to the UI as well.

  • Re:Wow.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by VGPowerlord (621254) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @02:39PM (#33950118) Homepage

    If Microsoft wrote iTunes people would point at it as a symbol of everything that is wrong with Microsoft.

    If Microsoft wrote iTunes, corporations would point at it and get the European Union to pursue anti-trust action against Microsoft by "forcing" everyone to use iTMS.

  • Re:Wow.... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @05:40PM (#33953552)

    Apple isn't simple, it's merely simplistic.

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