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Microsoft

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 @12:14PM (#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..

    • Re:Wow.... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Dan667 (564390) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:15PM (#33948846)
      please don't throw a chair steve.
    • Re:Wow.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by recoiledsnake (879048) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:19PM (#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....

      • Re:Wow.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:27PM (#33949014)

        Yeah. the testing I've done on it shows that Win7 runs nicely on decently old hardware - actually runs better than Vista on the same hardware - provided you turn off the Aero interface. Do you lose visual perks? Sure. But it runs just fine.

        I get the feeling the poster who submitted this just happened to be a brainwashed Apple fanboi. And I echo your complaints about the shitty quality of iTunes, which slows any system it gets on to a crawl.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by numbski (515011)

          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

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by shadowrat (1069614)
            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: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by recoiledsnake (879048)

            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.

            • Re:Wow.... (Score:4, Insightful)

              by VGPowerlord (621254) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:32PM (#33950036)

              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.

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            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.

            Huh? You mean on OSX or Windows?

            On my iTunes right here on my desktop (10.0.1.22 -- the latest version available on Vista 64), the minimize/maximize/close buttons are in the exact same place they are on my Mozilla, Notepad, and Task Manager -- they're also not vertically aligned.

            I do see what you mean about things l

        • Re:Wow.... (Score:5, Informative)

          by TemporalBeing (803363) <bm_witness@nOSpaM.yahoo.com> on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:47PM (#33949302) Homepage Journal

          Yeah. the testing I've done on it shows that Win7 runs nicely on decently old hardware - actually runs better than Vista on the same hardware - provided you turn off the Aero interface. Do you lose visual perks? Sure. But it runs just fine.

          All due to a super huge effort to (i) reduce dependencies, and (ii) eliminate circular dependencies between kernel and user space. The effort started with Vista, and Win7 is a lot farther along. Win8 (whatever it will be) should do better yet. Though I believe that they already got to the point where dependencies only go one way with Win7 - that is, kernel space does not depend on anything in user space as of Win7. (If not Win7, certainly Win8 should be that way.)

          • by slew (2918)

            ...kernel space does not depend on anything in user space as of Win7. (If not Win7, certainly Win8 should be that way.)

            Wow, this all (eventually) brought to you by the company that once put out a document with the phrase "Appy time is Happy Time" (or something like that) and later updated that OS based on lightweight microkernel messaging (LPC)... Times have sure changed... ;^)

        • Win7 runs nicely on decently old hardware - actually runs better than Vista on the same hardware

          True, but there's not much that DOESN'T run better than Vista on the same hardware.

        • Re:Wow.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:00PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by VGPowerlord (621254)

            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.

        • by antdude (79039)

          But Windows XP SP3 would be faster and better. Even 2000 SP4 would be fine, but very old and unsupported. :(

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Yeah no shit. I was the first in line ready to rip Windows 7 a new one because I fricking HATED Vista, I hated it so damned bad I gave my disc away and last I heard it was still being passed around like a bad fruitcake. But then I got 7 and it was just...damn. How in the hell did they go from Vista, which frankly was sluggish on a dual core with 2Gb of RAM, to an OS that ran great on a 2.4Ghz P4 with the same? And why in hell didn't they hire THAT team to do Vista? Oh and BTW you do NOT have to turn off Aer

        • And I echo your complaints about the shitty quality of iTunes, which slows any system it gets on to a crawl.

          One day, the developers of iTunes will catch on to this fabulous new concept -- it's called "multi-threading". It can be used to separate resource-intensive tasks from your UI, so that your UI doesn't slow to a crawl (or hang completely)!

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bhcompy (1877290)

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

        One word: Ribbons.

        • by bkaul01 (619795)
          I don't quite follow how a redesigned menu/toolbar system that is intended to reduce the clutter of unused, everpresent toolbar button "features" is evidence of nonfunctional bloat? I'm not saying you have to like the new interface, but how does it argue against the statement you're replying to?
      • Re:Wow.... (Score:4, Funny)

        by metamatic (202216) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:06PM (#33949602) Homepage Journal

        Office 2007 and 2010 are not really bloated compared to their functionality. But iTunes on the other hand....
        iTunes isn't bloated for its functionality either, it's just that not many people want a ringtone editing, movie playing, music playing, address book notepad and to-do list syncing, media serving, radio streaming, podcast managing, application installing, e-book installing online store for movies, music, applications, books and ringtones, with a social network glued on top, all in one application.

      • by Altus (1034)

        Thank you for this perfect example of an technical person who does not understand what design means.

        Design does not mean that it runs on old hardware or that it has this obscure feature or that. Design is about human interaction and the way the user and the software interface. It has nothing at all to do with what OS or applications run on what hardware.

    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

      bloated and underwhelming

      Is he talking about iTunes?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ArcherB (796902)

      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.

    • Re:Wow.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:35PM (#33949124)
      If ever a story needed to be modded flame bait. The summary just begs for reactionary keyboard banging.
      • As I have said before, there is a reason my user CSS file appends all links to InfoWeek with a red [TROLL WARNING].
    • by Ziekheid (1427027)

      I'm not a fanboy by far but that sentence made me twitch a little..

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by numbski (515011)

      Does it matter when it's true?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by weicco (645927)

      The sentence starts with conditional "if" and it looks like a question but has no actual question mark so I'm not sure if that is a question that one should answer or a statement of opinion. But either way it is highly biased sentence. If it's a question then it's a leading one and would be objected if asked in court of law. If it's a statement of opinion then it's biased by definition.

      And no, I have never wondered that exact thing ;)

    • Yup. GMGruman = John Gruber, perhaps?
    • by blair1q (305137)

      No sense, either.

      While I agree Microsoft programs suffer from bloat, I've rarely come across an Apple program that I considered more than a toy or demo version of what it should be.

      They both miss. You'd think one of them would figure out to take the high ground in the middle; and it's a result of their marketing and design philosophies: Microsoft doesn't want to leave anyone out, even if they encumber everyone, and Apple doesn't want to encumber anyone, even if they leave many out.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:14PM (#33948832) Homepage

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

  • ok... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    while Apple's are almost always wonderful experiences
    http://www.theonion.com/video/apple-introduces-revolutionary-new-laptop-with-no,14299/
  • by Da_Biz (267075) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:14PM (#33948838)

    ...and thought his resignation letter was spoofed by spyware running on a Windows PC.

  • finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by zill (1690130) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:15PM (#33948848)

    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.

    Finally the mystery has been solved! The suspense was killing me.

    • Re:finally (Score:5, Insightful)

      by recoiledsnake (879048) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:23PM (#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.

      • Re:finally (Score:4, Funny)

        by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:28PM (#33949036) Homepage Journal
        Still, they probably snatched him up just so that he wouldn't bring his talent anywhere else.

        Being top talent at Microsoft must be like being an environmental liazon for BP.
      • I would have said that someone who thinks Lotus Notes was "Designed by geniuses" has no right to write period. If there was a god, he would break Woody Leonhard's thumbs for that.

      • Ha! Good point. Though I don't know if Microsoft software is well-architected. Most software isn't, and sometimes Apple's software has poor underpinnings despite a nice facade. For example, I couldn't get the first generation of Aperture (version 1.5) to print a photo properly to save my life, it's far easier to export a photo to iPhoto and print from there, with no risk of wasting photo paper or ink. They fixed that in 3.0.

        Design is more than just the look and feel of objects or software. Architectur

    • by chord.wav (599850)

      Ray was the butler. It's always the butler...

  • by decipher_saint (72686) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:17PM (#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.

    • 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.

      Oh really? Open any previous version in Word? The rest of us must be cursed then.

      • by decipher_saint (72686) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:36PM (#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.

        • 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.

          • Amen to that. I was happy with Clarisworks two decades ago, mind you I'm not writing much beyond code or the occasional estimate doc these days so I'm not exactly the core Office user type.

          • by PCM2 (4486)

            Errr, I know Wikipedia isn't a primary source, but the first couple of lines of the entry on RTF sums up nicely what I've always understood about RTF:

            The Rich Text Format (often abbreviated RTF) is a proprietary document file format with published specification developed by Microsoft Corporation since 1987 for Microsoft products and for cross-platform document interchange.

            Most word processors are able to read and write some versions of RTF. There are several different revisions of RTF specification and portability of files will depend on what version of RTF is being used. RTF specifications are changed and published with major Microsoft Word/Microsoft Office versions.

      • 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.

        Oh really? Open any previous version in Word? The rest of us must be cursed then.

        Are you mixing up previous version and next version? For example I remember many people complaining that their word 2003 could not open a word 2007 file. They were saying that word is not backwards compatible. When they meant that word is not forwards compatible. Which is not a common thing in programs as far as I know. Anyway people with word files older then word 97 (word 95 and before) are out of luck. I had to build a win 3.11 machine with the old DOS word to open a few of those files recently. I was su

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:27PM (#33949028)
      I've thought OpenOffice was much better at opening older versions of Word (especially 97 versions) than Office . It seemed something changed after Office 2003. But that's just my perception.
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        You are right, word does not contain every old version.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TemporalBeing (803363)

        I've thought OpenOffice was much better at opening older versions of Word (especially 97 versions) than Office . It seemed something changed after Office 2003. But that's just my perception.

        OpenOffice writes better Microsoft Office documents than Microsoft Office does. Whether they legacy binary formats, or the newer XML formats. I've taken to using OO Writer for most things, and then ensuring everything is still there when I make the Word version, though it's mostly just the cross-references that I have to redo for some reason.

    • by bjourne (1034822) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:33PM (#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.
      • by s73v3r (963317)
        Another reason for the speed disparity between MS Office and OpenOffice is that OO loads the entire suite when you start it up, whereas MS Office only opens the one component. At least this was true a year or so ago.
      • by Angst Badger (8636) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:14PM (#33952064)

        MS Word's speed is on par with Abiword, although the former has many more features.

        MS Word is vastly faster than Abiword if you're working on a large (and by large, I mean 1000+ pages with complex formatting, indexing, etc.) document. But that's a problem that I run into in a lot of FOSS office apps: it seems like the developers on those projects just never use them the way ordinary users in a business environment use them, so it never comes to their attention how badly they perform on real-world tasks. Granted, the ways Word and particularly Excel are used in most corporate environments are horrifying -- using vast spreadsheets as ad hoc databases, for example -- but that's just the way it is. And just because I don't abuse Excel that way doesn't mean that I don't have to deal with documents from people who do.

        What bothers me most is that Office 97 did everything I needed and then some, and very little that's been added in the meantime has been of any use to me. Office 97 ran very well on a 120MHz Pentium with 16 megs of RAM. What I hoped to see come out of FOSS office software was something like that. Instead, we get OpenOffice, which is at least as bloated as MS Office and actually performs less well in many respects.

        This is why I just can't get into fanboyism. Apple, Microsoft, and the equivalent major applications in the FOSS world all suck. They suck in different ways, and depending on what you're doing, one of the three will suck less than the rest. But whichever you choose will still suck -- and by that, I don't mean the less-than-perfect quibbles we all have with pretty much everything; I mean that you'll be dealing with serious deficiencies. If you complain, Apple will tell you that you don't get it, Microsoft will ignore you, and most FOSS developers will tell you to submit a patch if it bothers you so much.

    • by alen (225700)

      MS Office is like Walmart. an average wal mart carries tens of thousands of products so you can find almost anything you need. MS Office has features that 100% of people need in an office suite. not everyone needs the same features, but everyone uses all of them

      Apple is like 7-11. the stuff people use the most is in there, but missing most features competitors have. and it costs more than wal mart

  • by Rombuu (22914) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:21PM (#33948928)

    ...I mean look at the elegance and simplicity of Lotus Notes...

    • Hey now. That's below the belt.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by heidaro (1392977)
      Clean and elegant applications never sell in corporate environments. They need bloat and features that are never used.
    • by Belial6 (794905) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:06PM (#33949586)
      You joke, but Microsoft has been trying to make their own version of Notes/Domino for as long as I have been working with it. I remember back in ~1996 I went to a MS event where they were telling us how Exchange was going to be the groupware product that surpassed Notes. It didn't take long before they gave up on creating a groupware environment via technical means, and just worked on redefining the word groupware.

      Now in 2010, the closes they have is Sharepoint. I have been doing some research into it recently as I will soon be doing some work in it, and it appears to be somewhere between Notes/Domino 3 and 4. It appears to be a decade behind.

      I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised because I will be working with it whether it is ahead of it's time or behind.
      • I've done a bit of work with Sharepoint. Even with the snazzy new stuff included with 2010, prepare for disappointment :(
  • Chair maze. You have to carefully work through the maze: you'd never know which one would get launched at you. :P
  • Pedants, take note. (Score:4, Informative)

    by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:26PM (#33949004)
    This is the very definition of begging the question. They should put that headline in the dictionary as a perfect example of it. If you find someone using "begs the question" to mean "makes me want to ask a question", when you correct them you can point them to this article.
    • by vlm (69642)

      This is the very definition of begging the question. They should put that headline in the dictionary as a perfect example of it. If you find someone using "begs the question" to mean "makes me want to ask a question", when you correct them you can point them to this article.

      It's hard to google for, so what if that someone would loose the URL in there bookmark's?

      (just kidding)

  • Ding dong! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drlloyd11 (458569) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:33PM (#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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jitterman (987991)
      To be fair, the article does point out that there is a wide gulf between his original concepts and what was actually implemented, in both cases.

      Totally agree with giving Balmer the heave-ho though.
      • Totally agree with giving Balmer the heave-ho though.

        Can we have a chair throwing contest? With Balmer as the target?

      • by blair1q (305137)

        Seriously, if there was ever a concept at all to Lotus Notes, it wasn't across a gulf, it was in another solar system.

  • Genius? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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 byteherder (722785) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:38PM (#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.
    • by numbski (515011)

      The problem is backwards compatibility. We're going through this here at work right now. People want Windows 7 because it's new and shiny. From a usability perspective, let's face it - it just doesn't bring anything new to the table that will compel us to upgrade. It also breaks stuff. A LOT of stuff. As in we might as well be going to Ubuntu - too many freaking web apps that require ActiveX, or IE's old broken JavaScript calls, or one-off win32's that were written poorly and require Administrator pri

      • Get the windows 7 pro, ultimate, or enterprise version. With those you can download the VM to run XP in. Windows calls it XPMode, but it is just the windows VM. The big difference is the XPMode VM sees all of the host machine drives. No drive mapping needed. Which helps in a domain environment. The 20 or so people I have set it up for (for an old app that required XP) love it. I have yet to try this for old games, but for office applications we have yet to have an issue. It is like supporting two machines a

    • Actually, from what I've read, it does sound like Microsoft doesn't really believe in design. When Microsoft is creating/updating a UI, for example, they kind of throw it together and then do massive amounts of testing, finding out what users like and what they don't like, measuring how users respond, etc, and then altering the UI to achieve the best user response.

      Apple, as a counter-example, seems to rely on talented UI designers and the personal tastes of Steve Jobs.

      It seems to me like a very different

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      Weird that you say that given that, at its core, Windows NT and on is architected as a microkernel with large swathes of the OS running in user space. Meanwhile, the operating system has a very powerful fine-grained access control scheme (which can actually be a pain in the arse, sometimes, due to its complexity). The real problem was always legacy applications.

      Unfortunately, it wasn't until later that OSX proved that breaking away from that legacy and using virtualization as a transition mechanism could

  • by Tei (520358)

    Corporations seems to have money to have a hand on all potential markets, so wen these markets develop, can claim FRIST, like a lowlife slashdot troll. Bause of his size, is not significat expensive to then for the most part, or becuase some side effect, can have a net positive (Xbox 360 lose a lot of money, but probably generate it by other side effects).

    So I read this news as "Microsoft abandon the web".

    Weird.

  • by eyenot (102141) <eyenot@hotmail.com> on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:42PM (#33949230) Homepage

    Is it just me or is slashdot being used as a battleground for geek opinion? Whenever there's news about some company, that same day, sometimes within a couple of hours, there's counter-news or propaganda that spin the situation or introduce some other closely related variable that seems intended to take advantage of the information the news dissipated. Is slashdot basically commercially compromised at this point?

  • by CokoBWare (584686) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:45PM (#33949274)

    The OP is full of sh*t. I worked in MS Hardware at one point, and the UX team there led the way in many aspects of UX in MS's hardware products at one point. This spilled over into their supporting software products too. The company as a whole has been pushing hard in the UX space for quite some time, and there just aren't enough UX specialists to go around... the industry has been in a deficit for quite some time. Apple learned early on the UX side and this has been a tenet for them for quite some time. This is blatant trolling to say MS doesn't believe in design... making broad statements without really knowing what they are talking about. Windows 7 and Office 2010 represent a new era of MS apps with a strong emphasis on UX. IMHO, I think they are great advances in making MS products better overall for the user.

  • "And you too will wonder how Ozzie could have lasted so long at a company that doesn't believe in design."
    One word: MONEY
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "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 Intern

    • by cowscows (103644)

      This guy really could be a genius, and he could have a hundred other geniuses working for him, but still have his efforts stymied by one or two idiots who happen to be above him.

      I don't have any first-hand knowledge of the situation, but from what I've read, there seems to be a general consensus that there is a culture within Microsoft that can make it really hard to get things done. That wouldn't be unusual within a large company, especially one that's already heavily entrenched in a particular market.

      Dilb

  • by paulsnx2 (453081) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:01PM (#33949508)

    When I was there, Microsoft graded every project on a curve, with compensation in the balance. The "lowest" performers got slammed, the peak performs got rich. I imagine nothing has changed, except fewer people get rich.

    Their system of evaluating and compensating developers rewards "hot dogs", who by any standard are good developers, but penalizes cooperation and useful developer documentation. Anything you might do to help someone on your team be successful automatically and in a very measured way hurts your own compensation. Few developers can rise above this and work with others outside of what is necessary to get the appropriate check marks on the review. And when individuals do work closely with each other, they are very selective as to who they work with. You can't afford to make *everyone* on your team successful. Remember, the bell curve WILL be applied.

    Other mechanisms are used at Microsoft are very good. They have a huge commitment to testing, and a huge commitment to process. They know within a few months into a project when they are going to deliver. They know well in advance when projects are going to be late. They research and know the competition.

    However, at the end of the day, their culture does not allow for clean design. Clean design means working together and making it a priority to make all developers on a team as productive as possible. But even if the differences between developers are tiny, the bell curve will be applied. People will win, and people will lose. And don't think for a moment that subjective decisions do not come into play based on a developer's reputation and ties with other developers.

    In the end, if you don't know how something works, don't expect the comments to be useful. Don't be surprised if two interfaces sit next to each other and both do nearly the same thing. Obviously one developer implemented something, and the next couldn't figure out how to use it.

    Microsoft's bloat is mostly a result of their development culture. Sure, supporting ten years of file formats is a factor, but not as important as their development culture, IMHO.

  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:29PM (#33949982) Homepage

    I have the opposite experience: "Apple" programs are invariably frustrating UI experiences, vs. Microsoft ones, which (aside from the Ribbon of Agitation) are quite a bit more sensible.

    I should note that I'm not a serious user of either OS; I've been using Linux almost exclusively for 12 years, and have only briefly used one or the other for work (roughly equal proportions).

    Considering a development project, I looked at both Xcode and Visual Studio 2008. The ease with which I could start and get a basic app going in VS2k8 was many, many times easier than in Xcode (all previous development has been done on console with vi/vim, cvs, and the like - no GUI stuff).

    I'm not even sure how Apple UIs could be considered 'better'. The only think remotely 'superior' about Apple's UI at this point in the game is their control panel, which is fairly minimal on text and clean. (There are also a lot fewer options, which is significant, IMO.)

    • *Shrug* It seems like you are mistaking the consistent layout of Word as "sensible". There

      Except for the recent changes to iTunes (which I wonder if a revamp of the MacOS UI is coming) the interfaces to a lot of Mac apps, especially Apple written ones are highly consistent. Looking at Word 2003, why are the things in the Tool menu there? Is "Options" really a tool? Looking at the Insert menu, are some of the things really necessary or should be broken into their own tool? Why do you need a Hyperlink un

  • by bolivershagnasty (1924072) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:55PM (#33950386)
    Mr. Ozzie appeared to lose a key battle with Mr. Sinofsky two years ago when control of Live Mesh, a data synchronization technology developed by Mr. Ozzie's team, shifted to the Windows organization at the company. Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304410504575560621481900644.html?mod=WSJ_Tech_LEFTTopNews#ixzz12pfWBEBA [wsj.com] About a year ago, oversight of another initiative Mr. Ozzie was involved in, its Windows Azure cloud computing technology, moved to the server and tools business run by the division's president, Bob Muglia. Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304410504575560621481900644.html?mod=WSJ_Tech_LEFTTopNews#ixzz12pfdfzcI [wsj.com]
    • by blair1q (305137)

      I'm not sure I get why it's a problem that a software architect hands off his ideas to software implementers...

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