walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

A Few More Remarks on What I Learned Writing the Previous Post About XP

I've been meaning to write something along those lines for months (it is even on my to-do list, which blog stuff rarely makes it onto because I just sit down and write whatever the hell is on my mind), and the basic argument (people haven't upgraded for a long time because Y2K, it was good enough, two recessions) never budged. I did do a bunch of research to make sure that what I was asserting bore some relationship to reality (names of OSes, dates of release, dates of when individuals/schools/companies might have felt the impact of the crash compared to the release date, etc.), and I also did a bunch of research to understand what would be involved in upgrading from XP to Win7 or Win8. Along the way, I learned that Vista, apparently, really did comprehensively suck -- I hadn't known that, altho obvs I couldn't entirely miss the complaints as they rolled by back in the day.

But fundamentally, I'm trying to understand and explain the behavior of a group (people who have been running Windows boxes for years) that I don't actually have any meaningful contact with. One thing I learned as a result is that they don't understand people who _don't_ use Windows. At All. When people understand both groups, they often switch, and Microsoft isn't benefiting from the switching.

When Google first presented Docs to the world, I wanted to upload all my documents to it and then never have to save anything locally again. I really wanted a Cloud. But that didn't work, and I was so discouraged that I ignored DropBox (and a bunch of related services). Customer behavior is driven by what the customer knows, has experienced, has friends who have experienced. This isn't a new idea. It's kind of a duh thing. But working through the evidence to support my thesis really forced me to recognize just how poorly tech companies and tech-people at all levels understand customers. They aren't as bad as publishers (publishers had zero understanding of their end-user for a really long time, and that hurt them as they were disintermediated), but Microsoft is close. I'm not sure how this is going to end, but it looks like Microsoft is, like many other companies before (IBM, DEC) receding to the high/enterprise end of the market.

Ironic that Jill Lepore's piece about disruption came out in this context.

ETA: Oh, and originally, the thrust of the piece was going to be, Why Are Computers in K-12 So Freaking Old? But when I realized the scope of the problem was so much larger, I re-oriented it.
Tags: administrivia, our future economy today
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