Thursday, 13 September 2012

"Build it and they will come..."

... somehow I don't think so... (time will tell...)

Using a something like a Twitter client as an example is possibly the most ridiculous case I've ever seen or heard of.  Lemme think about this.... a client for something that is almost as ubiquitous as the web itself gets what they are daring to call "a lot" of downloads.  Back in reality land, there are over 100 million twitter users, close to a billion Windows users.  Even if only a tenth of a percent of those users are trialling Win8, then the Win8 user base should be also over 100 million of them. In the unlikely reduction case of only having a 1% overlap of those groups (which is very unlikely as early adopter/tester types tend to want to talk about it), that would make for at least 1 million Twitter clients for Win8 being "necessary" to fill the market.  So, um, the sales only managed about 100,000, or a tenth of that potential market....

Now on one hand, that says that this is a "killer app" that has been the stuff of legend for decades, and forms a good business case.  However, a healthy dose of a reality check has proven time and again that the "killer app" is so rare that even the most rabid VC won’t pony-up cash unless they are looking for a tax write-off !

Microsoft *should* know that for a healthy OS, you need good, usable and *needed* applications.  After all, that is one of the key points that has kept Linux (as a viable desktop) at bay for over a decade.  So what they are *REALLY* saying is that they recognise that nothing in the Windows application market currently will look any good or work properly with their shiny new OS and now (finally) they are in damage control trying to get some apps ready for the release.  After all, who will buy a Win8-entombed desktop if nothing works right on it ?

Just when the stupidity of this seemed to have peaked, today's newsfeed contained another gem.

This time a "UI evangelist" touting the new interface as being a good thing and (in essence) saying that developers are the problem.

Now this guy is not your average marketing idiot, he does recognise a pigs ear when he sees one, so he made a comment that will undoubtedly come back to haunt Microsloth in the months ahead;

"Business apps, he said may not work in this context, with more familiar icon-driven UI elements still available for apps that just won't fit into TIFKAM's design paradigm."

Right, so the real bread-n-butter of the desktop PC market is likely to find the Metro/Win8 interface unworkable.  Let's say that word again, "unworkable".

Don't get me wrong, I'd *like* to see a UI that works as seamlessly as the SciFi style interfaces (think Star Trek or Babylon 5).  I'd *like* to have a programming language that apparently doesn't need a keyboard AT ALL (thinks of Scottie's classic comment when presented with a mouse, "how quiaint").  I'd *like* AI that doesn't turn into SkyNet and try and eliminate the invasive parasite that has infected the planet.... but seriously, a paradigm change does not take place over night and you can NOT just take your near-monopoly position and FORCE everyone to adopt it "just because they have no choice".  Ignoring the socio-political rants that could stem from that line of thought, Microsoft has already been slapped down by a totally retarded attempt to FORCE users to do something, it was called "Vista", and business users skipped "that upgrade" en-masse.

Contrary to some of the gaming press, I'm not so sure that Win8 is so dire in that sub-segment of the desktop market. The bulk of gamers may be perverse genetic freak variations of "Power Users", but ultimately, they tend mostly to use one HUGE full screen single interface, so this may be almost unnoticed by a lot of them unless they tend towards "windowed mode" (and we won't talk about why they feel the need for that configuration will we...).