On Wednesday night, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is going to step on stage at the Venetian Hotel’s Palazzo Ballroom
to give the keynote address that kicks off the Consumer Electronics Show. It’s the first time for Ballmer, who’s taking the slot that his predecessor Bill Gates has had for years.
It’s widely expected that Ballmer will publicly unveil Windows 7 Beta 1, just as Gates used the stage to announce previous Windows versions. He’ll no doubt have an entourage of product managers to help him do the actual demos, hopefully inspiring a wow or two from the assembled throngs.
I’m looking forward to the demo, even though I don’t expect any surprises. Mostly, I’m going to be listening between the lines, paying attention to the things that Microsoft chooses not to talk about. In the spirit of the occasion, I offer up the following predictions of things that Ballmer will take great pains to avoid saying.
1. “Some of you are going to hate our new OS, no matter what we do.”
Building software is part art, part science, and all compromise. Every design decision involves tradeoffs in performance, in ease of use for novices versus raw power for experts, even in esthetics. I addressed some of these issues in a post I wrote last year, How do you benchmark real-world work?
I fully expect each succeeding wave of Windows 7 reviews to include plenty of “Microsoft sucks” commentary. Especially from InfoWorld.
The back and forth between my ZDNet colleague Jason Perlow and me last week illustrates this principle perfectly. Jason (and the commenters who agree with his point of view) want Microsoft to offer an option that allows them to use their system using the Windows interface they mastered in 1998
. I think pursuing that backward-looking strategy would be a massive waste of limited development resources
The bottom line is you can’t please everyone, and one size will never fit all. So the big question for Microsoft is whether they can please enough people and generate enough positive buzz to drown out the negative voices.
via Five things Steve Ballmer won’t tell you about Windows 7 | Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report | ZDNet.com