Think about it: When was the last time you got a call from Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Enron, G.E., Lockheed, or any major American corporation asking you and you alone what your opinion was regarding any of their products? For that matter, have they ever asked you your opinion on how they could improve upon a product, making it more user friendly, and then actually implemented the ideas you recommended?
This subject came to the forefront of my thinking process after I surfed the Web and read all of the unflattering remarks being rendered about in regards to products from Microsoft and Apple (yes, Apple). Scattered throughout these sites were comments and criticisms from a variety of consumers that suggested improvements in design or operation to their programs.
One such article, written by an ex-Microsoft employee, pinpointed how the Windows 8 Consumer Preview edition could be improved upon. I could see that some of this man’s thought processes had merit, but I couldn’t help but wonder why, if his ideas would improve the product, he is now an ex-Microsoft employee. However, I also know that all new conceptual ideas, such as Windows 8’s goal to blend the desktop and tablet experience, are meant to reflect where Microsoft is heading. Windows 8 is likely to have quite a few quirks when first released.
So one of the first possible pitfalls for the new user of Windows 8 is that the Start button appears to be missing. Where is it? Well, like many of you I was perplexed when it didn’t appear in the traditional place where it has been located since Windows 95 was first introduced. However, a reality check was presented to me when I had my 12-year-old grandson take the helm. He not only had no difficulty navigating through the Windows 8 Consumer Preview operating system, but he also found no issues using the Metro interface. I am older and wiser, right? So I thought I would stump him by asking him to shut down the system. Once again, I was amazed at the speed — less than 10 seconds later — with which he located the Charm menu and shut down the computer. My conclusion is that Microsoft has written this new operating system for the younger generation and it expects those of us who are older to adjust.
Continuing on my quest for companies that listen to consumers’ ideas — those not backed by huge amounts of corporate cash — led me to PCmag.com. At this site, I found a writer who was trying to make the point that Apple rules the tablet market because Android tablet apps suck. I found that an interesting point of view — one that could be true or not depending on your experience in both markets. I, personally, hold the view that nothing else on the tablet market can compare to the Apple iPad when it comes to performance and application availability. One of the reasons that I am such a huge fan is due to Apple’s numerous successes as well as the fact that the company perfected the iPad before it was placed on the market. That, in itself, is unusual for any new product, but because of Apple’s due diligence, this tablet has been a runaway success story that competitors will have a difficult time catching up to (let alone overcoming). However, despite this fact, for a writer to condemn all Android applications is a disservice to readers since many of the applications are very good and meet the needs of those using them.
Back on the surfboard circuit, the next article that grabbed my attention was one from a writer who I respect. There’s no denying that John C. Dvorak is a man of great knowledge — even though I may not always agree with what he writes. This article is written with a humorous twist as he takes on technology and interjects his own unique mixture of entertainment and advice. Here, he incorporates some quotes from the aforementioned ex-Microsoft employee about how to Fix Windows 8. His thoughts can be interpreted as an attempt to re-enforce his belief that Windows has a pattern for developing one great OS that is immediately followed by a flop, suggesting throughout that Microsoft cannot break this cycle. His personal belief is that Microsoft is stuck in this cycle of events because it lacks marketing know-how.
Marketing know-how? Really? I believe that Windows is on some one billion computers throughout the world. That is not a bad number of systems for a company that has no marketing know-how. No matter how much anyone badmouths Windows, it remains and will continue to remain the most popular operating system in the world. Even Windows 8, no matter how some perceive that it may fail, will be a success — changes and all. The current rumor is that Windows 8 may be released in October 2012. If this rumor is true, this could mean that Windows 8 could potentially be released to manufacturing in August, 2012, meaning that what we are seeing with the current Windows 8 Consumer Preview edition is what we are going to get — without a Start button and all.
Last evening an acquaintance of mine said he was looking at the Asus Transformer tablet priced at $499 with another $150 for the docking keyboard. I could have told him:
- That would be a dumb purchase and he should buy an Apple iPad.
- For $650 he could buy himself a small 10″ laptop.
- It comes with Android, and Android apps suck compared to apps for the iPad.
- He should wait for Windows 8, which is going to be great on a tablet computer.
- He should listen to my advice because I am smarter than he is when it comes to technology.
The bottom line is that it is his money, not mine, and he should purchase what he believes is the best option for him.
My entire purpose in writing this article is not to try to convince you that any one opinion is right, but rather that you should read what others have to say and then decide for yourself what you think will meet your needs. I believe that companies like Apple or Microsoft have made billions of dollars and have been successful in their own decision-making processes. As for our opinion, when we make our first billion dollars, maybe someone will care about what we have to say. Until then, feel free to make your opinions known — just don’t count on anyone in corporate America taking notice.
I personally believe that your opinion, no matter what it is, should be respected. I also believe that what you buy and how you spend your hard-earned money is your decision to make and you should be in control of your own decision-making process.
I am not saying that you should not listen to others in order to make an intelligent, well thought-out decision. What I am saying is that you need to be your own person and not just a clone following the pack.
Thought: Everyone has an opinion; that doesn’t mean they’re right.
Comments, as always, are welcome.
Note: The link above has been inoperable or slow.
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by sarflondondunc