Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Microsoft Improving the Enduser Experience

I still haven't figured it out. Those who know me know I am a GNU/Linux advocate, so when I see news on how Microsoft is working on making their end users experience better, I have my doubts on who Microsoft is really looking out for. Ok, I’ll give Microsoft the benefit of doubt, I'm all for a better user experience. Tell me, how is it Microsoft is making the end user experience better? Are they improving the performance of the new Vista release? Maybe making their software a little more secure? No? What’s that you say? Microsoft has a new classification of user? Hmm… ok… what’s the new classification? “Maybe a pirate.” Awesome! However... how does that make my experience using a piece of software better? I would think that being labeled ‘maybe a pirate’ would make me feel that Microsoft ‘maybe doesn’t get it.’

This new user 'experience' helps user of Microsoft Windows by having a dialog box appear indicating your new status of 'maybe' being a software pirate, and gives you the option to help correct the problem, which is, according to Microsoft, usually attributed to a system or network error. How does Microsoft help you, other than labeling you as 'maybe a pirate'?

Microsoft would have instantly labeled you as a pirate of their software if there was a glitch with the validation of your install of Microsoft using the Genuine Advantage service. Instead of instantly labeling you as a pirate Microsoft will now display a dialog box indicating your new status of 'maybe being a pirate' and gives you an opportunity to click through to help diagnose why the Genuine Advantage Notification wasn't able to validate you as a rightful user (remember, you don't own the software that you purchased, you simply own the right to use the software as Microsoft deems you should use it). Granted, you can also either ignore or suppress the messages so you don't see them anymore, which the majority of users will select to do. After all who wants to see themselves labeled as 'maybe a pirate' every time they turn on their computer? However, what is the probability of Microsoft changing it's mind on the people that suppress the warning as being relabeled as a pirate instead of 'maybe' being a pirate/

Don't get me wrong… if you're going to use a Microsoft product, I think you should pay for it. If instead you decide you don't want to pay for the privilege of using Microsoft’s products how Microsoft (not you) decides, there are plenty of alternatives that treat you, the end user, with the respect that you deserve.

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