back to article Twas the week before Xmas ... not a creature was stirring – except Microsoft admitting its Windows 10 upgrade pop-up went 'too far'

Microsoft's marketing boss Chris Capossela has confessed the infamous your-Windows-10-upgrade-is-ready pop-up that tricked so many people into installing the thing was a step "too far." Speaking on this week's Windows Weekly podcast on Twit.tv, Capossela was asked to list his low points of the year for Redmond (it's 17 minutes …

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A half-hearted non-apology from someone with no power to affect how Microsoft behaves in the future.

I won't even begin to trust Microsoft until Endpoint Antichrist has been fired with extreme prejudice and someone who isn't customer hostile is elevated to his position. Even then, Microsoft has a long - long - road to travel before trust can be rebuilt.

And in IT - especially as regards public cloud computing - trust is everything.

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I haven't trusted MS in 20 years and never will.

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Mushroom

for a lot of the year I think we got it right,

Well, that's a delusion.

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Anonymous Coward

Same here. To pretend they think they went too far is laughable. They knew what they were doing and will do the same in an instant again.

Watching Windows 10 trainwreck now they can't rely on free upgrade spin is great fun...

Just like Xbox one failure, when people don't buy Microsoft suddenly shut up about sales figures...

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Anonymous Coward

It was an informal chat, well, as informal as you can be at Microsoft.

It's a difficult one this. Is it better to hear a 'sanitised reply' from the horse's mouth, or just write it up how it is and be ignored, Apple style.

If you have watched Paul Thurrott in full 'flippin' rant mode regarding the Windows 10 Nagware, you'll know how polite he was been here with Chris Capossela. He was holding himself back massively, to a point of almost licking his boot laces.

If we headline analyse every word coming out of CC's mouth, he's not going to be doing Windows Weekly anytime soon again. And that's the trouble, for all his faults, (I'm not a fan, of anything Microsoft Marketing, it's been a mess for years) CC does come across as having his feet on the ground somewhat and more aware than most at Microsoft to the actual Customer backlash, that took place, is taking place.

He's trying his best to balance the point, knowing MS lawyers are watching his every word. Just compare what he says and how he says it, to Satya Nadella, scripted and airy, that connects with no one.

I have one very close friend high up at Microsoft (Europe) and a family member high up at MS Seattle that worked there for 5+ years and I have learnt more about the internals of MS from Capossela (from snippets of interviews) than I have from those people close to me.

For all its faults, the Windows Weekly interview was a good one.

If I had to pin a character to CC, it would be the Good Cop/Bad Cop from the Lego Movie (it would have been a better caption picture too).

Everyone at MS seems conditioned from day one to say absolutely nothing. The impression you get though overall is the money is good, the internal ranglings is the real shit (downer) part of the job, from just knowing those people close to me, really well. There are real arrogant, nasty, competitive folk there who aren't knowledgeable, but cause chaos all around them, giving instructions to code stuff like this (the sly Red 'X' close option). Time zones between Managers don't help either.

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Re: It was an informal chat, well, as informal as you can be at Microsoft.

Well, if they actually admitted anything, we wouldn't need to read the entrails so much on these interviews. So, entirely their own fault.

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Aand

No shit sherlock, too late.

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Facepalm

Re: From the listening systems we have...

Well, if the only reason M$ knew you had gone too far in completely undermining the accepted (and inviolate) rule that the 'x' means 'close this window and don't do anything else' then they need to do a lot of soul searching (as in looking for one).

Until they find their soul, they can't possibly improve it.

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Re: It's called OS X

Really? People at corporate level are opting for a branded proprietary *nix that will not run on their existing kit but will require a captital outlay I conservatively estimate at about three times what they paid before? Not counting the rip-out'n'replace costs? In this economy?

Are you sure that alternative isn't pronounced "Red Hat"?

Because that would be an unnecessarily high cost (but waaaay lower than OS X running on iThing) software swap only option. Corporate would love the "someone at the end of a phone in an emergency" factor and the techs wouldn't have to move, store and dispose of umptytump bits of kit that would suddenly be usless under the iScheme.

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Re: It's called OS X

I'll have an ounce of whatever it is you've been smoking.

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Re: It's called OS X

Some businesses have already tried apple in the past and where it falls down is with backwards compatibility.

A while back when a new version of the OS was released it broke some software that was very popular. (cant remember what it was or what version of mac os it was) apples official response was "upgrade the software to something else that works"

so for a business, that means more capital investment in the software, more expense in training users to use the new software and half the company using incompatible files with each other...

This is why windows will always dominate any serious office environment. its all down to the TCO and good support. And lets face it, any business who has the updates enabled need to sack the IT staff. Updates are only installed when said update has been tested with the companies core software.

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Re: "It delivers value for money"

And it's called OSX. HAHAHahahahaha... Oh my god, I can't breathe.

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Re: It's called OS X

I'll have an ounce of whatever it is you've been smoking.

Are you sure? It seems pretty potent. A much much smaller dose might be better for a first-time (ab)user.

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Re: It's called OS X

> where it falls down is with backwards compatibility

So, just like like MSWindows, then.

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Anonymous Coward

Self Defenestration?

Someone admitting that MS may have made a mistake? Not a career enhancing move.

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Re: Self Defenestration?

Maybe a full on career enhancing move really... MS has taken heat about this. Send Jr. PR dude out, if he weathers the storm, he might be useful, and keep him around.

Every company needs their "bad news" channel...

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Re: Self Defenestration?

I always thought that companies should hire a "corporate scapegoat" who's paid well to admit mistakes, take the blame for bad products and decisions and generally take shit from everyone. Maybe MS has one... this one?

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LDS
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Re: Self Defenestration?

Well, Daniel Pennac wrote some books about a professional scapegoat...

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Re: Self Defenestration?

Part of my job when working as a contractor. In-house staff would quit failing projects like rats deserting a sinking ship, and we would be brought in to take over the project -- which would then be labled as another project mismanged by outside contractors.

We didn't mind. It paid the bills.

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Re: Self Defenestration? -Well, Daniel Pennac wrote some books about a professional scapegoat

Upvoted. Recommended reading if you know French and have a somewhat perverse sense of humour.

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Re: Self Defenestration?

Definition "Consultant - someone bought into a project at the last minute to take the blame" - from my sigmonster files.

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Re: Self Defenestration?

"companies should hire a "corporate scapegoat" who's paid well to admit mistakes, take the blame..."

Oh, Ostap Bender was fully aware of that, and he did indeed do just that for his "company"...

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Re: Ostap Bender

That fall guy was called Sitz-Chairman Funt.

https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Little_Golden_Calf

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M$ Long History

Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces since basically Windows 1.0. It copies other people's good ideas well. It doesn't do so well trying to "innovate" on its own, and Windows 10 is just another example of how their attempt to "freshen up" the brand led to catastrophic failure.

But why do they keep doing this to themselves? It's like they're punching themselves in the face while furiously stomping their own dick over and over again, year after year. Well, it starts to make some sense when you consider their corporate culture. Contrast with other tech companies, like Apple, which until recently was basically held captive by a tyrant in a black turtle neck sweater. Say what you will -- he was a cruel man that few who worked for him had praise for. But all of Apple was built around this one dude and getting things done wasn't a problem. Cohesiveness wasn't a problem. Every single thing Apple did was more or less the product of this one man's personal approval, and as a result, you got a product that looked like it was designed by a human being.

Microsoft... has never been like that. Microsoft is about the committee. The user interaction surveys. The borg collective. And that's what their software looks like too: A mishmash of parts stitched together, horrifying to look at and seemingly built with murderous intent. We even very nearly averted disaster with a wholesale revolt of *every* windows XP programer when Bill's wife tried to make wizards part of everything in the OS. And you can thank those brave, brave men, who were threatened with being fired and more, for holding their ground and giving us the first truly usable Windows release. But for every success story like that, there's 10 "Let's make the Operating System a service!" bonehead maneuvers.

Microsoft is a case study in how corporate culture can be more important than even brand identity and how deeply pervasive the impact of how we organize a large project can affect the final result. It's a shining lighthouse... warning ships away.

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Happy

Re: M$ Long History

@MNGrrrl --

for a split second, I read that as Microsoft being a Lining Shitehouse.

What a glorious second that was!

...Cirdan...

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Re: M$ Long History

Sorry? Microsoft is about the committee? News to me - I thought it was about knifing the other guy in the back before he (almost invariably "he") knifes you. Open warfare between divisions. That kind of thing.

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Re: M$ Long History

"Open warfare between divisions."

Yes, but to halt the open warfare requires negotiated peace treaties, hence the "committee".

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Re: M$ Long History

The Windows 95 user interface was widely recognized as superior to anything else available. And it was extremely successful with end-users, vindicating both the extensive (and unprecedented) pre-release user testing, and the professional opinion of the independent UI experts who reviewed it after release.

You may not like MS, but for a professional, ignorance of history is no excuse.

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

Well, Windows 7 was bang on the money and has long taken over from XP as the 'gold standard'. In fact, the only two features from later versions that would make it better are Fast Start and Explorer's up-arrow (go to parent directory),

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Re: M$ Long History

The GUI of '95 was good. The rest of it was garbage compared to their own NT3.5 and less stable than a properly installed WFWG3.11

For over 20 years I've heard that the HW spec was too high for NT vs 95, maybe in 1993 it was, but not in 1995. In reality win95 needed as much RAM as NT to have Excel, Word, TCP/IP and Browser at the same time without paging massively.

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

Win7 is a fix of Vista.

MS themselves now admit Aero was a mistake.

For years they tried to put Windows GUI on small Gadgets. Then after Zune / Phone 6.5 tried to to put the Zune inspired GUI on everything.

So in 35 years they got the GUI shell almost right (Explorer File manager should have had a two window mode and Win7 adaptive non-customisable panel is nasty).

Win10 is like Win2.0 on Hercules or CGA, but with less GUI customisation. I can't believe how unusable it is compared to Win3.x, Win9x, NT3.x, NT4.0, Win2K, XP, Win7 (with classic theme).

First workable Windows 3.1, first stable decent WFWG 3.11 with all the 32bit parts. First real GUI 32bit Windows, decently supported, NT3.5

Low points / junk= Win1.x Win2.x Win3.0, WinME, Vista, Win8.x Win10

Win2K was an unfinished rushed out version of XP, but not too bad.

USB deliberately withheld from NT4.0 (I had and tested MS USB for NT4.0 and it was fine).

NT4.0 less stable than NT3.51, which did have the win95 style explorer as tech preview, which was better than NT4.0 release.

MS experts at making money.

Idiotic at everything else.

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Re: M$ Long History

"The Windows 95 user interface was widely recognized as superior to anything else available."

I agree. It was certainly based on a lot of ideas and features that had been around for a long time. Those included CUA and HP's New Wave (the copyright declarations included HP). However, they put it all together in a slicker interface than I'd seen elsewhere. In recent years they then seem to have brought in UX designers who've concentrated on throwing away as much of that as they could.

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

How is Win10 so unusable?

You turn it on, then you turn it off.

Almost everything else you do in between involves the use of 3rd party programs that are bugger all to do with win10.

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Re: Re: M$ Long History

The Windows 95 user interface was widely recognized as superior to anything else available.

Not so sure about that, really. At the time it was released it was certainly a step up from its predecessor, Windows 3.11 for Workgroups, but it had some problems and more than one competitor. The competition had their own problems but there were a number of benefits in these that were eventually "adopted" by Microsoft in later versions of the interface. Certainly it had its benefits though and on hindsight we may give it its due but even by Windows 7, the last version to even pretend to have the same interface, had its flaws and various other GUIs had benefits over it.

The point is that while so many GUIs have surfaced, none of them have got it completely right.

As far as this story goes, though, it's a typical bit of tat from Microsoft, admitting it was wrong long after the deed has been done and the damage has been sustained. It wants to be trusted and adored and is willing to sacrifice somebody to do it. They did the same with Windows Me and Windows Vista, you may recall. What they NEVER do is apologise and stop at the time, in this case because they were all too blinded by the dollar signs in their eyes.

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

How is Win10 so unusable?

I'm not sure that this is the argument here, but...

You turn it on, then you turn it off.

True, but it's what you do with it between those times that makes all the difference. I turn on Windows 7, openSUSE, RISC OS, Mint and Devuan systems and turn them off again. They all do things differently and I do different things with them.

Almost everything else you do in between involves the use of 3rd party programs that are bugger all to do with win10.

That's a bit of an oversimplification. A typical operating system does quite a bit in the background, even the ones that don't slurp your data. If they didn't chances are that your 3rd party programs would probably do nothing!

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

"Almost everything else you do in between involves the use of 3rd party programs that are bugger all to do with win10"

No. You use the Start menu. Where it throws unwanted recommend apps at you. You browse the web and read a PDF, which fires off some weird full screen PDF viewer. You attach a Bluetooth device, which involves another full screen app inexplicably not linked from the Control Panel. Then it decides to forcibly reboot. Then it pauses for an hour during which time you can't do anything. When it restarts it has removed the app you were using because it's no longer compatible, but that doesn't matter as you can no longer get online because the DHCP client has broken.

And you can't do anything private because it's logging everything.

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Re: M$ Long History

The GUI of '95 was good. The rest of it was garbage compared to their own NT3.5 and less stable than a properly installed WFWG3.11

Adding a new GUI, plug & play, an actual 32-bit API and pre-emptive multi-tasking while still maintaining backwards compatibility with all the 16-bit applications and the crappy hardware they ran on was a minor coding miracle. Check out some of Raymond Chen's columns for a bit of insight into what it took.

Of course Win95 was 'garbage' compared to NT - NT was a clean-sheet design that didn't have to deal with the compromises of 15 years of DOS. Windows 95 did and was still massively successful because of that work done to keep backwards-compatibility.

What was a "properly installed WFWG3.11"? One that didn't crash because it didn't run anything but Minesweeper?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

Quote

MS experts at making money.

Idiotic at everything else.

not Quite.

They are experts at collecting lots of lovely user data in the name of 'security' from W10 and using that data to mess your start screen up with adverts. You are the product not the OS or Email or whatever. You. They graciously allow YOU to use their stuff in return for loadsamoney and lots of lovely data about your system, what it is doing and when. The NSA must have lots of friends in high places inside MS.

If you use anything with the MS brand on it, don't forget the EULA that you agreed to (you did didn't) you stops you from filing suit against MS for any reason.

MS are shite and even people who live in Redmond and rely on MS for a living privately admit it.

I managed to escape the MS-Borg earlier this year. Don't miss it one little bit.

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Re: M$ Long History

OMG so much Stalinesque re-writing of history here.

Suggest those interested find Eric Raymond's comment about Win95 being "shockingly inferior" to another OS and take it from there

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Happy

Re: M$ Long History

It's easy to criticize Microsoft but I think they did magic getting Windows to run at all on the friggin' huge variety of hardware and different manufacturers drivers out in the PC wild world. "Standards?" - the people manufacturing the PC hardware had heard of them but they expanded and modified them at every opportunity to show that their piece of kit was better than the competition's junk that did exactly the same thing.

Sure - it's a big company and some parts are driven by the marketing monkeys - but let's give a big Christmas Cheer to the unsung coders who, having just finished writing and testing a hunk of OS code, are handed another new ISA card by Mr Marketing Monkey with the comment that, "This doesn't work" - only to discover that the new card uses another drivers interrupts and addresses.

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Re: M$ Long History

different committees...

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Re: M$ Long History

No, Windows 95 was not superior to anything else.

Anything else available from Microsoft maybe... But that doesn't say much for Windows 95.

The same capability had been available for UNIX systems for quite some time. And had mostly left it as the menu system is a rather stilted interface.

And it still is. Good for only what someone else has decided is good for you... but not all that flexible.

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Re: M$ Long History

That would be the Microsoft legal department...

locking the vendors into only allowing information for Windows...

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JC_

Re: M$ Long History

Anything else available from Microsoft maybe... But that doesn't say much for Windows 95.

The same capability had been available for UNIX systems for quite some time. And had mostly left it as the menu system is a rather stilted interface.

The 'Start' menu is literally a Microsoft invention, right down to the (lamentable and inevitable) patents, so I don't see how UNIX had had it for quite some time.

If you mean menus in general, what has replaced them since for mouse & cursor? Microsoft's own 'Ribbon'?

If you meant that a shell is better than the GUI, that's indefensible for the vast majority of users, but the command line was in Windows 95, too, of course.

Really, what you say makes no sense at all unless you take the attitude that everything from Microsoft is either crap or already invented. They've come out with plenty of crap & thievery without making some more up.

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Re: M$ Long History

"The same capability had been available for UNIX systems for quite some time."

The standard Unix offering of the time was CDE which I used a lot under its HP guise, VUE. It featured a whole series of pop-up menus. Reducing that to one produced a much tidier interface. Gnome, for some reason, didn't quite take the hint with the default there, as I recall, being two. My preference has always been for Unix or Unix-like systems and my preferred UI is KDE but MS did, I think, move UI forward at the time.

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Re: M$ Long History

"The 'Start' menu is literally a Microsoft invention, right down to the (lamentable and inevitable) patents, so I don't see how UNIX had had it for quite some time."

The single start menu is. CDE had multiple menus. Consolidating them was a stem forward but not wildly inventive.

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Re: M$ Long History

"Standards?" - Microsoft had heard of them but they expanded and modified them at every opportunity to show that their piece of software was better than the competition's junk that did exactly the same thing.

There, fixed it for you.

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FAIL

Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

"How is Win10 so unusable?"

the 2D FLATSO FLUGLY bugs me to the point that it affects my productivity. "Ape" is the same way. I actually gave "Ape" a fair try (with classic shell, even!), then QUICKLY went back to "XP or 7 only" for Windows-related things to avoid the unnecessary nausea.

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