Windows 10 peeping: Microsoft fails to understand the uproar

With each new Windows update malady, Microsoft loses the confidence of users who might otherwise find value in the product

Windows 10 peeping: Microsoft fails to understand the uproar

I’ve been covering Microsoft Windows since the 1980s. There have been several regime changes, each with its own distinct ego. Some regimes listened eagerly, some didn’t. This one is failing, but I believe the current fingers-in-the-ears stance are related more to revenue than to ideology. 

Microsoft wants data about you. To do so, Windows 10 is riddled with phone-home messaging. Some sites document dozens of IP addresses and add even more DNS calls for your machine’s data. 

We’re told that the data isn’t personally identifiable and that it’s used to improve QA. No one said Microsoft didn’t need QA. New versions of Windows have always had holes big enough to fly airliners through, but Microsoft finally got some sense when in Windows XP SP2 and Vista, they demoted user space. Finally. 

+ Also on Network World: Windows 10 annoyances and solutions +

By the time they got to Windows 7 and a few service packs and updates, the entire barnacle industry of antimalware/antivirus for Windows was dealt a near mortal wound. Most of us breathed a sigh of relief. Microsoft owned up to its former problems, if mostly by hiding crucial fixes to security infrastructure, policy management in enterprise situations, but also by just paying attention and not blaming others for their own rotten coding misdeeds. For a brief moment, there was humble pie. 

Issues with Windows 10

Windows 7 is subject to entropy, and maintaining it is expensive—even though Windows 10 upgrades were free for a while. They aren’t free now—time to make needed revenue from Windows 10. So there is pressure to castigate Windows 7, but that means upgrading to Windows 10 for most because Windows 8 was loathed, Windows 8.1 was also soundly rejected, and Windows 9 was stillborn. It’s a direct path to Windows 10. Period.

Windows 10 sends lots of telemetry data, and it plays poorly with upgrades in many non-enterprise circumstances. This means non-enterprise system edition users must open wide and swallow updates no matter what. 

The upgrades, patches and fixes are largely opaque. You get free ads with them, which are universally hated but undoubtedly are part of some Microsoft product manager’s revenue stream moldy Excel spreadsheet. Microsoft users aren’t used to this. They like control, but they no longer have a choice. 

With each and every upgrade cycle, there’s a barrage of posts to find out what new and ugly stuff has become barnacled to the operating system. Will it need crowbars to remove the barnacles? Just how much stuff does Microsoft need so it works? Is it still worried about its code? Is THIS the sacrifice that must be made to stabilize Windows for the masses? 

The resounding answer has been NO. How much code does Windows 2016 Server get, and gosh, why aren’t there ads on the Server editions? Because NO ONE WILL EVER READ THEM. It’s a server.

Yes, open-source help has been appreciated. Yes, you can now run bash shells in Windows and, if you must, install SUSE Linux Enterprise Edition, too. In the meantime, however, Microsoft still has its fingers in its ears. And with each new bizarre update malady, it loses the confidence of those who might otherwise find mirth and value in the product, rather than anger and hostility with each new perceived cut of their dignity.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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