I would love to open this with a disclaimer — I don’t hate Microsoft. Even though I mostly use Ubuntu (and since 2009 Mac OS X), I happen to be writing this on Vista [I dual boot].
What prompted me to make this post is an experience I just had with Windows Media Player 11 in Vista. I just got really disappointed when I wanted to edit the tags of an MP3 and realised [for the 50th time?] that I could not. It got me wondering …. “every other media player out there has this functionality” and an older version of WMP had it, so what happended?
Now that I think of it, the long lag times for popular features to get into Microsoft products isn’t restricted to Windows Media Player. Come to think of it, tabs within browsers only got into Internet Explorer in version 7 … almost 4 years after Firefox, Opera and other browsers have had it. Notepad as a text editor is a disgrace, none of the features such as line numbering, code colouring etc that makes other text editors like gedit and kate so great. And if you have used other File Managers like Nautilus on Ubuntu, Windows Explorer is so feature poor.
Indeed, I think it hurts the entire IT industry (by stiffing innovation) when Microsoft shoves such mediocre products down user’s throats by bundling them in Windows. Maybe MS should stick to the software the do well – Windows, Office, Server etc and let smaller shops do other applications. Some of the free utilities for text editing, photos, media players out there that are freeware are far superior to the Microsoft offerings but rarely get a chance because most Windows users only get one choice – the mediocre Microsoft choice when the get their PC.
I think it a good thing the European Union is doing by forcing Microsoft to offer user’s choice when they set up. These choices should include but not limited to:
- Web Browsers: IE8 is quite good, but Chrome, Firefox and Safari are also terrific.
- Media Player: Let people choose between WMP, iTunes or the tens of other great media players out there
- Instant Messaging: Please don’t shove Windows Live messenger on us, there is Yahoo messenger (which will connect to your Hotmail or MSN contacts) and cooler tools like Pidgin, Digsby and Trillian.
- Please get rid of Notepad and Wordpad and give us a better text editor.