On Solutions Looking For Problems

by bob on March 8, 2012

Microsoft has now made Windows 8 and its Metro touch interface available for us all to look at and Neil McAllister over at InfoWorld isn’t mincing words.  He’s calling the Metro value proposition for developers “a con”.  His fellow columnist J. Peter Bruzzese calls it Windows Frankenstein.  Meanwhile Visual Studio 11 is getting a lukewarm reception in preview, largely over its new user interface.

This, too, shall pass.  Both Metro and VS 11 are examples of misguided, “me-too”, “catch-up” marketing, largely in response to Apple and its success with consumerized products and its app marketplace.  I actually agree with McAllister that both are misguided and over-thought moves on Microsoft’s part.  So what else is new?

I will probably take a pass on Windows 8 and VS 11 … and, I suspect, so will most of the rest of the market.  Windows 9 is to Windows 8 as Windows 7 is to Windows Vista.  As for VS 11, they’ll put sufficient UI configuration options back in by SP1 or at least VS 12, and I’m too busy getting stuff done to fight with one hand behind my back in the meantime.

I’m sure Microsoft would argue that sometimes users like me don’t know what we’re missing, or what to ask for, but I just don’t see that Metro or VS 11 scratch any itch I have or am likely to have.  I could be wrong, of course — Metro could catch on enough to impose itself on my world, and then, as always, I’ll adapt to it.

I learned a long time ago to stand aside from the market hoo-raw in situations like this and let it sort itself out before spending a lot of time lurching about with everyone else.  My value proposition isn’t in supporting every positioning whim of my platform vendor, it’s in solving customer problems.  There’s nothing in the current toolset that is so deficient that I have to rush headlong to embrace the latest suite of Three Letter Acronyms and buzzwords.  I can afford to let Darwinian forces winnow things out a bit first.

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