posted by camo on Tue 12th Feb 2008 04:03
Conversations Having a good think last night about this very question. Apart from the obvious 'money spending answers', what would you change about their software (Windows especially), licensing issues, etc, and would you open source it?

Personally, the first thing I would do was to get rid of windows activation (grrrr..) and relax the license to allow for use on more than one computer, but only on computers that the licensed user owns (or maybe family owned computers), and only for non-commercial-use.

Would I open source Windows? Not at first, but I would open source Windows after seeing the pitchforks and torches of the shareholders as they break down my fence chanting <insert profanity here> as my last dying wish.
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by Quag7 on Wed 13th Feb 2008 18:26 UTC
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I would institute Clownshoes Fridays. Each Friday, it would be mandatory to wear Clownshoes to work, and the size of your clownshoes would be proportional to your place in the management hierarchy, with Ballmer wearing what I can only describe as ludicrously sized clownshoes.

So that's the first thing.

The second thing I'd do is abolish all focus stealing from all versions of Windows. All of it. Having thought about it, I have to say that an OS should never - EVER - I don't care if it is on FIRE, or Mr. Furley is overhearing a conversation it's having and mistaking it for something sexual - WHATEVER - NEVER EVER EVER steal my focus.

Next, during installation, I'd offer two modes:

(1) I'm a big dumb animal wearing a helmet 24/7 mode. I don't want to see file extensions and OMG do not let me browse the contents of the Windows folder and don't even bother giving me any details in error boxes except "OMG IT DONE BROKE."

and the other mode:

(2) Turn all file extensions on, give me detailed, specific error messages, and let me browse ANY DAMN FOLDER I CHOOSE because I have opposable thumbs and walk erect. Well, more, sit, sort of. A lot.

Next, I'd *resurrect the command line*. I'm not going to get ridiculous. Yes I wish Windows had a bash shell and GNU tools, something like Cygwin. I'm willing to live with Powershell, but this would be available in *all* versions of Windows and come with - perhaps as downloadables or an add-on disk, GNU or GNU equivalents to all of the basic command line apps, along with, if possible, an alias mode to interpret and translate UNIX commands. (I have not used Powershell yet so if it does any of these things, groovy.)

Lastly, from a corporate image perspective, I'd give up any pretense of being consumer focus and instead go with the "Dicketry is our business, and business is good" angle. The marketing angle for the next Windows would be:

"This is what you're getting, and you'll like it, and you'll pay us for the privilege of using it whether you like it or not."

Don't mod me down. Hear me out. I know one of you is out there, about to do that. You misunderstand the above for Linux or Mac zealotry, but you could not be more wrong.

I would leverage this strategy not for any hatred of Microsoft, but because it will increase shareholder value. I've noticed watching the political scene here in the US for the last few years that people, treasure any opportunity to be patronized, lied to, and abused by powerful institutions (the 2004 election is proof alone).

My thinking here is that customers will enthusiastically pay to be treated this way by Microsoft since they tend to, well, thrive on it. We'll call it the New Jersey Special Sauce - just as you can run some engines on biodiesel, you can run the human body and mind by contempt. It's sort of a Turbo Boost or Nitrous Oxide burst.

I think this will increase shareholder value in the long run, and you can bet if I was in a position to influence Microsoft, I'd be concerned with that. It's not that people like abusive institutions, it's that people are cynical enough these days that at least when they're being openly victimized, they appreciate the *honesty* of that, and in being openly screwed, they feel like the universe is at least understandable and operates by a set of reliable, consistent rules.

I believe that Microsoft's "This is what you're getting, and you'll like it, and you'll pay us for the privilege of using it whether you like it or not." campaign is a winner, from a PR and financial perspective.

Also I would put at least 10 people on the payroll to troll and other tech sites with company funded "studies" on how much more secure Windows is than everything else. I feel that these have been winners in the past, in terms of stirring up a lot of chatter and discussion on the street, and they have been beneficial to all parties:

(1) Microsoft, for keeping them in the news and keeping people talking about them.

(2) For people who believe the studies and have their consumer choices confirmed.

(3) For people who think Microsoft is the antichrist and point to these "studies" as proof that Microsoft is the work of the devil and unclean spirits. It gives them something to point at as proof.

(4) For the people who make money doing these studies.

(5) For keeping the technical communities on the WWW buzzing with activity, including bringing foaming at the mouth anti-Microsoft types out of the woodwork, adding a much needed emotional element to discussion of what amounts to, basically, a bunch of ones and zeroes.

In general, those studies have benefitted, essentially, everyone, as far as I can tell, so I think it would be both a public service, as well as cost effective publicity, to release more of them.

And those are the changes I would make.

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