marți, 28 februarie 2017

Dear Microsoft,

 To begin with the last edit: two weeks after putting my thoughts on paper here, I came to realize that you actually managed to turn the phone into a joke. I just cannot understand how are you capabable of so litle care about your customers, release updates apparently without any testing at all since the bugs are immediately obvious and how can you continue to rape the people who bought your stuff. I hope this is suicidal for you, because if its not, we deserve what is happening to us. 
And I have already installed Linux and use it for everything online - when I boot on Windows it's for offline gaming only.

Few years ago I couldn’t comprehend the utility of devices like the iPad or the laptop. Why? Because the Android/iPhone would cover the mobile use of email, chat, the occasional plane movie watching (or train TV watching if you have a DigiMobil Optim Nelimitat subscription) and the desktop would offer infinite more processing power and customization at a lower cost than the laptop. The rare occasions in which you check in a place without a TV or have to work during travel do not justify paying for a spare device that you would use once a year or so. Then came Google’s acquisition of Motorola; first deception – instead of marrying Motorola’s creativity, history and pedigree with Google's money and technical might, they rolled out an engineer’s phone. Very good technically, but flat, no difference between it and any other phone on the market. Then they did it: stripped Motorola out of all their patents and sold the leftovers to the chinese; the history of mobile phones itself, raped and thrown away by the present and future of mobile phones itself. Now Lenovo uses Motorola to fix its image after the scandals of spying on its users with the repeated the man-in-the-middle attacks. So I said no more Android, I cannot accept that. What else is there? iPhone and... Windows Phone. I bought the Nokia Lumia 930 and told everyone “look at Google, what they did to Motorola, and look what Microsoft does: it builds on Nokia, it doesn’t gorge on the carcass like a bird of prey”. It was really cool because to me it looked like the standard of safety with the sandboxed apps and the standard of privacy - as you could uninstall everything that wasn’t a critical function. Of course, there were some problems: my bank, my carrier, my store, my utilities – they don’t maintain Windows Phone apps; but hey, there’s this old iPad that has it all, so no problem! I was happy with my Windows phone: it was fresh, it was cool, it was amazingly stable, it looked good, the price for it was right, the camera was fabulous, and I rarely met someone else with a Windows phone. The problems never bothered me much, I understood it takes time to fix it and to attract publishers to the platform. And what I expected from you was nothing less than a Surface Phone with an Intel processor that runs full Windows. No nonsense like simulations and emulations and adaptations and virtualizations - the crap you are actually preparing to release, but a full computer running a full OS. If anyone can put a real computer in people’s pockets, that is you and Intel, right?
But then you started to care less and less about me, the generic user. Among the first things I’ve noticed was that you asked more than €700 for the Lumia 950 XL. You cannot do that.... you cannot charge an iPhone price for a plastic phone in a marginal ecosystem... nor can you charge an extra €100 for a docking station that won’t even allow you to run Flipboard on a desktop monitor... Later on you came back to your senses and sold the XL + the adapter + 1 year of Office 360 license for €450, which was a fair price – so I took it.
     And it got worse... All the small things that make people go crazy: your Flipboard style app got flooded with commercials; the music player app still needs to rescan the phone for music after every update, and the location for photos and music and videos got constantly switched from SD card (user choice) to internal memory (default). Do you have any idea how annoying it is, when you just start your biking exercise, to realize that your music player only sees 20 songs because, again, for the zillionth time, an update changed the settings?! That you actually have to stop and fix your phone, in the middle of your biking?! I guess you do know, but you don’t care... By the way, now more than half the screen in the music app is occupied by commercials to your music streaming service; did you ever hear of over exposure? If not, let me tell you: I will not subscribe to Groove Music because it is driving me mad. How is it possible, while searching for my music, on my device, to have your results in your streaming service? How is it possible that in 2017 you plant advertising in my webmail inbox? Are you a software/hardware/data giant that got about €1,500 from me alone in the last 2 years and more than €3,000 from other people that I advised, or are you a small webmail company that lives off the advertising?

     Now, I am what you call an enthusiast,  an early adopter and a leader of opinion as I am influencing the purchase decisions of a handful of people around me. And you have to know that I am already switching to iCloud email. This absolutely horrible, completely wrong, Facebook type of approach – an exciting option turns into a opt-in feature, then into an opt-out feature, then your life is made miserable if you opt out, then turns mandatory won’t work with me. Do you really think that by forcing me to type the city location in the weather app if I dare to turn off location services (which I do since I realized you are not being honest about it) will make me keep it on? No! Being honest and inclusive about what data you collect and how do you use it, that would make me keep it on – and believing that you were so made me keep it on in the past. Do you really believe that first by forcing me to use Cortana in order to access a simple function like turning the phone silent during meetings or during the night, and then by forcing me to use Cortana by not allowing me to disable it is going to make me use it? No, I just select a region where Cortana is not available and manually turn the volume down, or the system off. The ability to turn it on and off without being restricted in any way made me use it in the past!
     A few days ago I realized that you log my location every time the VPN client gets connected. And that I cannot disable the “feature”, the only thing I can do about it is to disable location services completely. And that you never mentioned that. Don’t forget: the phone is mine, the software inside it has to be under my control. No matter what you say in the terms and conditions that no one reads, regarding the property bla bla – once I pay for it, I feel it’s mine and that won’t change. The vendor and product might change, but the feeling that it is mine and has to be under my control, won’t. Which brings me to the final drop: one day I found Netflix installed on my phone and computer. Out of the blue. Without my consent. And I remembered that you uninstalled my “Windows 7 game suite” from my computer after an update. Who gives you the right to install and uninstall stuff on and from my machines? What else do you install, uninstall and use?

     So I’ve decided: the Surface Phone I’m buying is the new iPhone. I will replace Windows 10 from my PC with Elementary OS and keep an offline Windows 7 installation for gaming. Maybe I’ll even buy a Mac, who knows – and I just can’t wait for open source operating systems like Plasma Mobile to become a valid alternative and also for desktop Linux distributions to find a way to run Windows apps.  I guess you never realized that after your mobile market share hit rock bottom, as your system improved, the share went further down. The enthusiasts and early adopters are leaving – their outrage is visible in the feedback hub.


Best regards,
Sjf


P.S. You're trying really hard I see, I can now either disable all Skype notifications (calls and messages), or accept your spammy "engaging" notifications.

P.P.S. "Creator's Update"  wants to sound so big and important, but it's a ridiculous copy name not only because Windows doesn't offer all kinds of 3rd party flavours to justify a pure, creator's edition - but also because my XL turned off twice in two days, and I had to take out the battery for it to start again. I remember when I bought the 930, I pushed it as much as I could to get a blue screen or something, but nothing...

P.P.P.S Make that 2 times in one morning.
Opting out of all those aggressive data collection and spam "features" is the horribly wrong way to do it. Two years ago, Windows Phone was the best placed OS in the race to become everything that a phone should be; now, it's everything that a phone shouldn't be. I am opting out of it and I advise everyone else to do the same.

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