More Broken Windows for Microsoft

First the good news: Windows 7 is a vast improvement over Vista.

Now the bad news courtesy of this post on CNNMoney: in a survey of 100,000 customers, 31% reported problems with their upgrade process.

2484002207_ef584c50bbThe computer savvy might be tempted to dismiss that group as wonky old people or total NOOBs, or just some mouth-breathing, non PC-savvy subset of the American public (peopleofwalmart, anyone?).

But that kind of misses the point.  Computers should make our lives easier, they should handle rote or complicated tasks automatically, simplifying processes to lower the barriers between people and the things they hope to accomplish.

Yes, you can download a patch or find a code to disable plug-ins so your screen won’t freeze.  But still, consumers have to migrate large volumes of their files once they do work their way through the upgrade experience.  Why?

Look, I may not be mister digital, but even I recognize 31% represents a rather atrocious user experience.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

mark wegener says:

Compare the number of people in the Apple Store to the number of people that walk out with merchandise sometime. The crowds in those stores are largely driven by people that want to play with the toys and the lack of retail staffing that causes much hanging around.

Why Microsoft can’t get the transition right escapes me, but computing for the masses is fraught with challenges. While I love Apple’s Hodgman ads, they strike me as being live having Tesla mock Ford or GM. If the masses had the disposable income to buy what purports to be a more stable platform, a “cooler” gizmo, they might (the fact that reservations at the Genius Bar go out into next week suggests that not all users have pristine Apple experiences). Is it Apple’s corporate strategy to keep it’s cool factor high and its market share low? If so, they’re succeeding.

RTB says:

I seem to remember an old boss of mine once remarked that Windows-powered PCs were, in his words, “like Macs designed by the Russian army.” Sound familiar?

What is great is that Apple’s Mac campaign anticipated (months in advance because of the TV production involved) the woeful Windows 7 upgrade experience with John Hodgman’s PC character contending, for the umpteenth time, that this time will be different. The retrospective of failure is capped off Mr. Hodgman’s pitch-perfect delivery of the line, “trust me.”

Guess what? It wasn’t different this time. And that makes for a crowded Apple Store this holiday season.