- Oct 29, 2000
Man... we laugh at that, but in hindsight it was Microsoft's problem in a nutshell: Ballmer loved Windows too much. And he didn't realize that people bought iPhones, iPads, Macs and Android devices in part to get away from Windows.
I remember people saying stuff like "now that I have my iPhone I don't even need a computer anymore!" I always thought they were absolutely nuts.
Even games aside, you can't do half the things you do on a computer on a tablet or a phone. At least not well.
And I'm not even talking about heavy applications like games or engineering/science stuff.
It's gotten better since 2007, but even now, doing basic stuff like writing a letter, or putting together a spreadsheet, or even just typing a long email or looking at websites regularly is a worse experience on a mobile device.
Phones can do all of these things now, but I sure as hell would not want to type 2000 words on a phone, and I can't tell you how often I'm on a phone looking at some website and get frustrated and just go to my computer because it is so much better/easier to navigate.
Even right now while I am typing this post from my desktop, the reason I came down here and got distracted was because I wanted to order Thai food, and the website for the restaurant I am ordering from was frustrating on my phone.
I really think that things changed for the worse in or about 2007. Tech went from getting better and more exciting every year, to moving in the opposite direction and just getting dumber and dumber every year. I can think of two reasons for this. One is the launch of the first iPhone. Because no one wants to make two copies of eveything (one for phones and one for computers) this has resulted in the dumbing down of all content to meet the lowest common denominator of the phone user.
The other thing that happened in 2007 was the financial crisis. Before that many tech companies had at least some sort of values. Google had their "don't be evil" for instance, and they had ideals they were aligning themselves to. During the financial crisis many faced the real threat of vanishing revenues and/or investment funding and were forced to do things that were previously not on the table. it's amazing how fast "don't be evil" turned into "collect everyone's personal data and sell it to the highest bidder!"
The combination of the mobile revolution and the harsh economic considerations of the financial crisis have IMHO conspired to make just about everything worse. Before it was about the amazing stuff we could make. Now it's cold calculated statistics on how to collect personal information and monetize it, all while users are stuck with dumbed down mobile interfaces even when they are not using mobile devices.
If I could go back to a world before these two things, I would in an instant.