On Saturday, I pointed out how Microsoft force-restarting Windows 10 computers to install unwanted web apps was the latest proof you don’t own your own Windows PC. Today, the company says it was at least partly a mistake — and will be pausing the “migration” that brought web apps to your Start Menu this way.
Originally, Microsoft tells The Verge, the idea was that any website you pinned to the Start Menu would launch in Microsoft Edge. If your website of choice had a PWA web app version, the Edge browser could automatically launch that as well. But — in what Microsoft seems to be calling a bug, though we’re trying to get clarity as to which part was the bug — the change also made it look like existing web shortcuts to its own Microsoft Office products had installed a web app on your PC as well.
Ah, the “it’s a bug” defense. Not very imaginative.
This is the kind of nonsense you have to put up with when you choose to use a closed source operating system or device that you merely license or borrow, not own. The slippery slope people have been talking and warning about for decades when it comes to closed source software has made it so that not only do we seem to accept this behaviour, people even defend it.
Windows as an operating system is in this weird place right now where its guts are, by all accounts, in very good shape, while the user interface is messy and Metro applications are a failure, leading to an often startling user experience that switches from old Win32-looking applications to modern flat applications every other application, and many settings are hidden in old Win32 dialogs instead of being available in fancy modern ones.
On top of all that, Microsoft has added tremendous amounts of telemetry, ads, and even forced installation and reinstallation of applications through updates. They built up massive positive mindshare with Windows 7, lost some of it with Windows 8, and then regained some of it with Windows 10 – only to just lose it all over again with nonsense like this.
At this point, I have no idea where Microsoft wants to take Windows. It feels like the pace of development is minimal from a user’s point of view, while at the same time still being somehow fast enough that things regularly break. Why would anyone willingly use a platform like this? What redeeming qualities does it have over the competition?
The redeeming features of Microsoft Windows are:
1) It’s one of only two operating systems with a decent app ecosystem
2) It’s significantly cheaper than a Mac (and Macs have their own potential pitfalls with the ongoing iPhone-ization of OS X and all…)
Yeah… yeah… I know, Desktop Linux has “90% of the apps a user would ever need”. First of all, this is highly dubious, since software like Microsoft Office and Photoshop are not officially supported and lots people spend a ton of time there. But even if it was true, that 10% of apps Desktop Linux doesn’t offer is *different* for every user. And no, Wine is not a solution, the people behind it can’t make it work consistently.
If you don’t care about apps, get a Chromebook. That way, you get something with guaranteed battery life (unlike Desktop Linux) and guaranteed good DPI scaling (unlike Desktop Linux). But too few people go that way.
So, to answer your question: Why would anyone willingly use a platform like Windows? -> Desktop apps.
This is something even Microsoft fails to understand, pushing useless “Metro” and “UWP” apps and then acting surprised when users fail to give a crap.
Also, keep in mind that Windows is quickly becoming the device you open once a month for that one special task you can’t do on your phone or tablet, so, reliance on Windows actually increases as the Desktop and Laptop lose screen time to phones and tablets.
To boot, Microsoft user base is growing older. My younger cousins, nephews, nieces are all “phone-first” users, and virtually the only use case they have for windows is games, if they had not switched to Playstation or Xbox. If they need office, they often use chromebooks.
And the existing user base of windows, which is, as I said, growing older on average, does not ask for these changes. At 42, I already feel that I am no longer as good as learning new interfaces, compared to when I was 22. I don’t want to learn a new interface, a new style of apps, a new way to do things. I didn’t ask for the ribbon. I didn’t ask for metro. I didn’t ask for the stupid control panel replacement. But they were pushed into my throat, causing undue burdens in my already busy work day.
I just want to use win7 + office 2007 (without the ribbon). Don’t antagonize me any further Microsoft.