“Features Have Changed”

Oh gawd, here’s yet another example of Microsoft opening its mouth in order to change feet.

We happy band of Windows Phone owners (a select few, I grant you) have had a number of ways to purchase Apps for our phone. We can browse the Apps Marketplace via our phones, via a web browser, or via the Zune software running on a PC. I say “had”, because as of yesterday, Microsoft has pulled the ability to browse the Apps Marketplace from the Zune software.

Microsoft announced the change (on the same day as they implemented it) on their Windows Phone Blog. According to them, they’ve done it because their telemetry data tells them that only a minority of Windows Phone owners use the Zune software to browse the Apps Marketplace. That’s as maybe, but Microsoft could really have done a far better job of communicating the change than merely announcing it on a blog, which is probably read by a tiny minority of Windows Phone owners.

Let’s imagine, for a moment, that you are one of the people (like me) who uses the Zune software to browse the Apps Marketplace. When you started up Zune on your PC yesterday, this is what you would have seen:

Zune 5

No information whatsoever about what the “new features” are, and you might be forgiven for thinking that the “new features” are something that has been added, when in fact something has been removed.

You might think that it would have been far better to have had an explicit message communicating the fact that the ability to browse the Apps Marketplace has been removed, and to have had a link to the Apps Marketplace on the web, as well as saying that owners can also use their phones directly to browse.

A number of people (myself included) have commented on the blog post to the effect that the communication of this change could have been handled far better. I see that the author of the post (Mahzar Mohammed) has responded in the comments, but he is still prattling on about the necessity to make the engineering changes. He doesn’t acknowledge (or perhaps didn’t even realise) that the bland “Features have changed” message in the Zune software was a terrible way to communicate the changes to users.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
This entry was posted in Computers and Internet, Consumer Electronics, Organizations. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “Features Have Changed”

  1. Al Feersum says:

    It’s a common problem with MS though. Not just with update messages to Zune, but also other stuff, like, things you really need to know about, for example, error messages. You receive a message that effectively says ‘There was an error.’ – yeah, really helpful that is. And then you search for information about the error, using the error code if there is one, and not even Microsoft have documented said error, even though there is an explicit error raised by a particular application.

    This isn’t great: especially when it’s your job to support and manage an application that thousands of people depend on.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Yep, I fear that you’re right, Al. I just wish that they’d try and exceed our expectations every now and then instead of simply confirming their mediocrity.

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