I’m a Unix/Linux programmer, by trade; but I choose to run Windows on my laptop and my desktops. I buy Microsoft keyboards and mice, I used to buy Microsoft Sidewinders, I helped talk the ShadowFactor guys into going to see Microsoft and turning Battlefield Communicator into GameVoice. I’ve been an IE fan since the NCSA Mosaic team took over development after Netscape appeared, and for 9 years I was a devoted Outlook user. My first console was a refurbished Xbox, which broke down and chewed up disks, but my second console – bought after the PS3 release – was an Xbox 360.
So why the hell do people keep accusing me of being a Microsoft hater? I’m surrounded by Microsoft products day in and day out, many of them by choice and preference. But are you actually 100% satisfied with all of your MS products? Are you absolutely 100% satisfied with how they are moving the product line forward?
I can find flaw in almost all the software I use (except you, notepad). I complain about software. A bunch of it happens to be from one manufacturer. Yes, sometimes I do comment on that particular manufacturer because its a lot likelier I know more about Microsoft than I will ever know about Penny Garage Software Coding Inc. But generally, I complain about software.
I noted on an internal mailing list – this probably isn’t news to anyone but me – that a Microsoft 360 spokesman had acknowledged that, for FPS games, a mouse is vastly superior to anything a gamepad can do, but they weren’t gonna let gamer’s have a mouse on the 360. Just a subject (“MS admits FPSes need a mouse, but not gonna give you one”) and a link (http://gear.ign.com/articles/725/725812p1.html) – and only because several of us have aired the opinion that its just not the same playing FPSes on a console – not, vendor unspecified.
To me, that’s 10 brownie points to Microsoft for the acknowledgement.
It’s hard, as a developer, to understand how anything ever actually gets written in an organization so large and with so many conflicting interests, and you have to give them some respect for achieving that feat. Respect should only sell so much software though. Quality should be selling it. And Microsoft has yet to live up to the potential of bringing all those resources together to develop unbeatable top-quality software and hardware in every avenue and genre they approach.
Through its continual acquisitions, Microsoft has lost the ability to innovate, at least meaningfully. That’s not because it doesn’t have great people with great ideas and great talent. It has too many great people, it has too much great talent.
Maybe Microsoft will find a way to overcome the crawl and breathe some agility back into its development – like a talent harvest week where people can form mini-teams to put together innovation pitches from within complete with demos/mockups/samplers etc. But ultimately what they need is competition and that’s not gonna happen.