Microsoft Reveals Its Engineering Approach: Good Enough

January 5, 2023

I was amused to read “State of the Windows: How Many Layers of UI Inconsistencies Are in Windows 11?” We have Windows 11 running on one computer in my office. The others are a lone Windows 7, four Windows 10 computers, four Mac OS machines with different odd names like  High Sierra, and two Linux installations with even quirkier names. Sigh.

The article does a masterful job of pointing out that vestiges of XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 lurk within the Windows 11 system. I have shared my opinion that Microsoft pushed Windows 11 out to customers to deflect real journalists’ attention from the security wild fire blazing in SolarWinds. Few share my viewpoint. That’s okay. I have been around a long time, and I have witnessed some remarkable executive group think when a crisis threatens to engulf a bonus. Out she goes.

But the article makes very, very clear how Microsoft approaches the engineering of its software and systems. Think of a lousy cake baked for your 12th birthday. To hide the misshapen, mostly inedible mess, someone has layered on either Betty Croker-type frosting in a can and added healthy squirts of synthetic whipped “real” cream. “Real,” of course, means that it squeaked through the FDA review process. Good enough.

Here’s one example of the treasures within Windows 11. I quote:

The Remote Desktop Connection program is still exactly the same as it was 14 years ago, complete with Aero icons and skeuomorphic common controls.

Priorities? Sure, just not engineering excellence, attention to detail, or consistency in what the user sees.

Do I think this approach is used for Azure and Exchange security?

Now the key questions, “What engineering approach will Microsoft use as it applies smart large language models to Web search?”

Stephen E Arnold, January 5, 2022


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