RE: Apple, Microsoft, big tech push UI changes: Whining is futile

RE: Apple, Microsoft, big tech push UI changes: Whining is futile

Summary: Pushing change for change's sake doesn't win over users.

TOPICS: Windows 8, iOS

My colleage Larry Dignan just published a commentary titled Apple, Microsoft, big tech push UI changes: Whining is futile and I felt forced to comment. Larry, in his usual style, discussed the changes vendors have made to their operating systems that appear, from some vantage points, to be change for change's sake rather than changes that are designed to address customer requirements, add useful new features or enhance old features. The examples he cites are Microsoft's Windows 8, Google's Android, Apple's iOS 7, and RIM, err Blackberry's, Blackberry 10.

In each case, significant changes have been made to the user interface. Some of these changes have been well-received and others have not. It appears that the suppliers who listened to their customers and did their best to address their requirements have received positive comments and those who have pushed change over negative customer response have not.

The large installed base of Windows XP, the slow rate of uptake of Windows 8 and Microsoft's backtracking on the start button, demonstrate that the customer always has the option not to buy a product that he/she doesn't want.

Although Apple doesn't always address customer complaints, it appears that much of what's new in iOS 7 appears to be designed to learn from other competitors and to address commonly heard requests.

Although the commentary's title said that whining is futile, I think that customers, in the end, get to make the choice of whether or not to purchase a product. Change for change's sake that removes important features, makes features harder to find and use, or makes systems harder to use are seldom accepted by the market.

Topics: Windows 8, iOS


Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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  • This Is Why Linux And Android Are Becoming More Popular

    Customers are naturally gravitating to platforms that treat them with respect and offer them a choice.
    • This Is Why Linux And Android Are Becoming less Popular as we move forward

      People are willing to take it for free with the expectations that it is what it is, and to live with the limitations of "free".

      I have yet to see anyone running Linux on a desktop, but when developers disrespect the users with the attitude "This is what we make, if you don't like it change it yourself or find something else", well obviously it will remain a niche product for the majority.

      People want companies to respond to their needs, not the other way around.
      William Farrel
      • This Is Why Linux And Android Are Becoming less Popular as we move forward

        Except when we have to purchase a product and the attitude is "This is what you get, period. If you don't like it, tough"

        I am a proud Linux user and am happy that I can make changes or try different distros (And there are many) for free. I get to pick and choose. I have Linux on oll my systems, and dual-boot with Windows, for when I need it, which is becoming less and less.

        The problem is, people just want an "out-of -the-box" experience that they like, rater than learning what they can do.
    • Platform agnostic article

      Yet you had to go down the partisan path. Android has traction. Linux? Give me a break. It might be the back-end of a lot of stuff, but end users are not choosing i in a material way. It is a rounding error.
      Luke Skywalker
    • I'm sure price

      has something to do with it.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • ldo17: "This Is Why Linux And Android Are Becoming More Popular "

      Android is becoming more popular primarily because the price is right (even including Microsoft's patent claims and resultant fees regarding Android). And the GNU/Linux desktop growth is quite slow.

      As for GNU/Linux UI changes, there was great controversy amongst users with the KDE transition from 3.5 to 4.0, and it took several versions to get past the controversy. The GNOME desktop environment transition from version 2 to version 3 has also created great controversy amongst users and still has not completely settled down.

      And Canonical's Unity desktop for Ubuntu has caused controversy amongst users too. Many former Ubuntu users have switched to Linux Mint and other distros in order to avoid Unity. Even though users have the "choice" of installing another desktop environment on Ubuntu and making it the default.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Re: there was great controversy amongst users with the KDE transition from

        I don't recall any such controversy. 4.0 was clearly marked as an incomplete developer preview, some people thought it was fit for everyday use, and soon discovered it wasn't. 4.1 was still a little flakey, but things improved after that. I use 4.x every day, and it hasn't forced any big changes on me compared to 3.x, it is simply more configurable.

        That is the beauty of Linux and Open Source: it's all about choice.
    • Linux and android aren't becoming more popular...

      Android is. The use of Linux on the desktop is pretty flat.
  • Whining *is* futile

    Much better to vote with your feet.
    John L. Ries
    • Or your wallet

    • Better still to do both

      Taking your business elsewhere is a good start, but it's better to tell the vendor specifically why you're not buying their product. Lower sales can be blamed on many other things, such as piracy or economic downturn, if they don't know the specifics.

      For that matter, it would also help to make it known why you decided to leave, and pass it along to as many people as you can while encouraging them to do likewise. If you can find other people with similar grievances, so much the better--1,000 complaints about a given issue are more difficult to ignore than one complaint for each of 1,000 issues.
      Third of Five
  • RE: Apple, Microsoft, big tech push UI changes: Whining is futile

    There is some truth to this. The changes Microsoft made were to better the Microsoft Windows 8 operating system which they did by making it faster, displaying data at a glance, and overall just a better system. The whining came from people who didn't want to give it a chance. If they had they would see there was a desktop mode and a start charm in the same exact spot as where the start button used to be.

    "I think that customers, in the end, get to make the choice of whether or not to purchase a product. "
    I don't purchase any linux products.
    • purchases

      Neither do I. I get them for free.
  • Absolutely correct...

    However, in many cases, Microsoft [the main offender here] gets to simply ride roughshod over the customer base because the changes are tolerated by the large majority.

    It is surprising what some people will accept, usually in the name of the purveyor having a better overall view of what the customer needs.

    Windows 8 is like this. Many people accept the changes Microsoft has pushed because they perceive Microsoft as having a "grand strategy, a clear vision, and vast experience" - of these, only the last is true.

    Perhaps the disquieted many among us would be more calm IF any results, showing any objectively verifiable user feedback, from outside the Redmond area was ever considered.
  • Microsoft doesn't care

    Microsoft has made it obvious with 8.1 that they don't give a crap what their customers want as they only fixed one or two of the things 90% HATE about Windows 8.