Posted by Javid Shamloo | Posted on August 6th, 2015 at 11:24 pm
I’ve always had a huge bone to pick with Microsoft, mainly because they’ve consistently proven to be a bad company to work for/with and have released bad products, both hardware and software, over the last few years. I don’t know what happened, but they’ve become too big to fail and I think that’s an awful shame, because the way they treat the developers that work with them and the customers they serve is appalling.
Let’s start with the way they treat developers. Team Meat. End of story. If you don’t know what happened to them, the gist is that they were working with Microsoft very closely to release their game, Super Meat Boy, with a 30-day window of exclusivity as well as having the XBLA launch week all to themselves. When the big day arrived and it was time for Microsoft to put up or shut up, Super Meat Boy was nowhere to be found and it took Microsoft half of the game’s launch date to put the game up, costing Team Meat untold numbers of dollars. And let’s not forget Xbox One’s shunning of the indie game community when they announced that they wouldn’t allow self-publishing on the Xbox One, a policy that was met with unanimous uproar in the indie community. Microsoft has since reversed that policy but self-publishing STILL wasn’t fully available at launch. The shunning of indie developers at this point is total stupidity and insanity and many developers are jumping ship since they would rather work with other people than deal with Microsoft’s insane and confusing Xbox One policies, policies that were just as rigid and retarded with the Xbox 360. There are many, many stories like this between the developer community and Microsoft, with Microsoft not promoting games for no reason, having a fee that developers have to pay just for patching their own games, and having a horrific API…it’s no wonder almost no one wants to work with them anymore.
Oh and speaking of API’s, I’d rather shoot myself in the face than develop for another Microsoft product ever again. I wouldn’t trust Microsoft to run a hot dog stand, much less make API’s and SDK’s for developers to work with. Anyone who’s worked with COM objects before knows EXACTLY what I mean. The mere mention of a COM object strikes fear and pestilence into the heart of any software engineer. Working with the Kinect is like working with a poor man’s homemade ramshackle of a depth sensor…it randomly just doesn’t read information on startup a lot of the time, which requires me to shut down the program and restart it, and the skeletal recognition goes all haywire for the smallest reason or no reason at all. Not to mention the code to set all this up is poorly documented, confusing, and unnecessarily lengthy. I also worked with Windows tablets for a class in my graduate school program. The software to gather point data was so bad that I had to write an algorithm to properly get point data ON TOP of Microsoft’s shitty API. All my programming experience with Microsoft has been an utter and complete disaster and has turned me off from ever working with their products forever.
And Windows 8…lemme tell you something about Windows 8. I’d honestly rather not have a computer and go back to the stone ages where we had to do everything by pencil and paper and people actually had to move from office to office in order to pass on information to each other. Let me tell you a little known story about Windows 8. When I was in grad school I was working in a lab where another graduate student worked. Now she was completely incompetent and couldn’t program to save her life. Point-in-fact, she hated programming…which was strange since she was getting her PhD in it (she was a Computer Science PhD student). So where could she possibly fit in as a summer intern in this field where she wouldn’t have to do any programming? You guessed it, Microsoft. So anyways, she works there as an intern the whole summer as a producer or manager or something else just as useless, helping out with the development of Windows 8. At the end of the summer she comes back to Orlando to show off the stuff she’d been working on. She holds a presentation where two or three professors attend along with a bunch of other software engineers. She has prepared some PowerPoint slides and a demo and stands there with her team of about two or three other producers and a Chinese programmer who barely speaks English. Ok, so after she shows off her professionally made slides everyone is amped up and anxious to see the demo. And guess what…it doesn’t even start up! They scramble around, IN FRONT OF EVERYONE, and finally get it to somewhat work. But it basically won’t run right and keeps crashing. She curtly apologizes and says that her team is still working with Microsoft on it while the poor Chinese programmer stares at the floor kicking his shoes against the carpet! If these are the type of people responsible for Windows 8 no wonder it turned into the unusable crap it is today.
Recently, Microsoft released Windows 10, confusingly skipping 9, as the new iteration of their OS. Their marketing campaign was huge as usual, promising a great user-experience while getting back to the roots of their previous OSs. One of the things they did with Windows 10 was to downplay the UI mechanics introduced in Windows 8, which was honestly a wise move. But, why did they make the decision to design Windows 8 that way in the first place? The logic was that they wanted all devices running Windows 8 to work the same. However, from a UI standpoint, that’s completely retarded. You don’t use the same UI for running software on a phone that people use while riding the subway, as you do when using a tablet while watching Netflix at night, as you do while working on a desktop computer developing a PC game. All three avenues of use are completely different, require different degrees of control by the different people who use them, and therefore must be designed differently. This is the UI concept of responsive design, and you see it in websites and apps every day. Why the fuck Microsoft thought they could do a one-size-fits-all solution and think it would work is beyond me.
Another thing Microsoft lauded in its marketing campaign of Windows 10 was the return of the start button. For some reason, Microsoft thought it was a jolly great idea to take away the main hub of functionality that was the start button from Windows 8. Now they’re actually riding on the fact that they’ve corrected this fuckup; BUT WHY DID YOU MAKE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!? It’s similar to a food brand saying, “Now with 50% less poison!” But wait, I was eating poison before? Why!? And not only is Microsoft praising their fixes to past fuckups, they’re making totally new ones, like having Windows Update install all updates automatically, no longer allowing users to selectively install updates, and having only the Pro edition of Windows 10 “defer” the installation of “upgrades” for the operating system. Also, just like they did with the XBOX One, Microsoft hacks into your info (your contacts, calendar data, and settings, among others), and harvests it for who knows what. What right do you have to peer into my personal info, Microsoft? Software should be made to be used by people, to help them out…not fucking take advantage of them so you can make an extra two cents. So, at the end of the day Microsoft fixes one fuckup and makes two, right? And you want me to jump for joy and pay for your crap? I don’t think so.
There are many more stories I can tell, but I think you get the picture. The worst part about all these horrible stories is that, point blank, Microsoft is still alive and well…in business and still running. The whole Xbox One debacle caused them to change strategies NOT because THEY thought it was right, but because OTHERS gave such a backlash that they would have utterly failed had they NOT drastically changed their policies. The customers they do have are there, I’m convinced, not because they want to be, but because they’re FORCED to be…as Microsoft products have become so ingrained into the fabric of today’s software environment that people have no choice but to put up with their shit. One interesting tidbit is that many people notice that their OSs have the pattern of “one good, one bad.” Windows XP was good, Vista bad, 7 good, 8 bad, and 10 good. What the fuck kind of reputation is Microsoft building with this kind of track record? They are not dependable, and people have learned to accept that.
This is wrong!
This is no way to run a business. It’s unethical, disgraceful, and is nothing short, to me, of rape: being forced to endure something for someone else’s pleasure at the expense of your own pain. This is inexcusable, and here at HR or any other company I run we refuse to take part. That’s why I’m drawing a line in the sand with a laser and placing landmines on the other side right now when I say we will never work with Microsoft: their producers, their products, their hardware, their software, their company, in any way, shape or form. There are many, many other half (and wholly) decent companies out there to work with who won’t give us one iota of the pain Microsoft will. We REFUSE to fall into their trap, and I will shut down this company and fire everyone in it before I set foot in a meeting with them or negotiate with them in any way. I expect nothing but happiness to follow from this decision, and I don’t regret any of the words I have shared with you today.
Till next time my friends, take care and stay safe!