IE9 – If The Diehards Aren’t That Impressed, Hasn’t Microsoft Failed?

I was very surprised to see the opinion of Mary-Jo Foley, in her column on the ZDNet site, concerning the actual working, and usefulness of the latest browser from the boys in Redmond.

Not that she is totally rabid about the stuff from the crowd in light blue, but she does cover Microsoft daily, and usually has more than a few good words to say about the things that come from, or are slated to come from, Redmond.

Generating some excitement about some of the stuff produced is certainly as much her job as informing the troops about code names and features.

In her entry from yesterday, she put forth the idea that the people from the development team had surprised her with the method used to introduce the browser to the world at the SXSW event. The emphasis on the connection between IE9 and Windows was the main thrust of the presentation, yet it was also superfluous, as not one person who is not using Windows Vista or Windows 7 will be using this browser.

That is one of those Homer Simpson moments to me, and was apparently the same to Mary-Jo, however, she put her opinions up in a more gentle fashion.

The only other thing that IE9 will be running on is Windows Phone, which is already a lost cause as far as many are concerned – and therefore a total waste of time.

As I have said before, instead of making the split with Windows prior to Vista, the developers should have gone with the introduction of IE9, on all platforms from Microsoft, and if they wished to make a statement, they could have emphasized the look and feel on all platforms, the improved security on all supported versions, and then pushed very hard the differences when using IE9 on Windows Vista or 7.

That would have been a much more positive message, and have been inclusive, not totally exclusive of (still) over half of the Windows user base.

But to be sure, doing the most intelligent thing has never been part of the Windows ecosphere – ever. Over the course of its life, Windows developers have usually made the poor decisions part of the story about market share. Any time someone criticized the choices made due to technical concerns, Microsoft used the unwritten rule that their dominance allowed them to do whatever they wished.

It’s still true today.

It’s really interesting, and to me, funny, when someone so mild mannered, and purposely gentle in her assertions, puts forth the idea that the ways that Microsoft expects people to work are not what works best for her. I have frequently found this to be true, and many of the paradigms of the “new way of working” with Windows 7 do not work for me. Therefore, I simply do not use them. Aero Snap, things pinned to the taskbar, lack of a drill down menu structure…all of these are things which serve to annoy many, as I am not the only one.

This is part of the new Microsoft; the post-Gates Microsoft. Whether it is part of the Ballmer Microsoft or comes from somewhere lower in the food chain, the bullying of the company, and decisions to force change abruptly, instead of gently working it in over time, by giving choices to keep older ways of working for a while, are all things detested by many, and part of why Windows XP is still dominant almost 4 years after the widespread introduction of the successor.

Mary-Jo states that she does not find pinned sites that useful; that she gets into a bit of confusion if she pins sites to the Windows  taskbar, and though I doubt that I would get confused, I know it is a pain in the butt to do that, and so I don’t. The fact that she admits this lack of wonderfulness is something I find great, for perhaps someone in the ivory towers of Redmond will take heed, and spend some time speaking to people outside those hallowed halls the next time Microsoft wishes to do some customer research.

As much as some will spew forth unabated declarations of love for the new IE9 interface, and wax on about the speed, one thing Microsoft refuses to acknowledge, at least publicly, is the fact that inertia has been at least as much a friend to their efforts as it has been an enemy of their constant changing of things.

In that respect, perhaps they should have kept with the older interface, which was, after all, almost all Microsoft, instead of looking like Chrome/Opera retreads, and let the speed of browsing, and ostensible security, do the talking.

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