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  • 10 million Windows Insiders makes the beta test program the best marketing move yet

    Posted on March 27th, 2017 at 16:24 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Laurent Giret at OnMicrosoft nailed this one. The Windows Insider program – the beta testing program that includes two rings of next-version testing and one ring of current-level patch testing — now has 10 million registered users.

    Per Giret:

    The program reached 1 million members a couple of weeks after the release of the first Windows 10 preview build on October 1, 2014. From there, the number grew to 3 million Insiders by March of 2015, then to 7 million a year ago. It was about time for an update, which Microsoft exec Yusuf Mehdi recently provided in a blog post on LinkedIn.

    Mehdi said:

    We count over 10M Windows Insiders today, many of them fans, who test and use the latest build of Windows 10 on a daily basis. Their feedback comes fast and furious, they have a relentless bar of what they expect, but it so inspires our team and drives our very focus on a daily basis.

    Of course, Microsoft doesn’t know how many fans they have. But the 10,000,000 nose count for Insider accounts is impressive by any measure. Mehdi was emphasizing Xbox fandom in his post, but the number’s still a sizable fraction of the 400 million monthly active Win10 devices. (That 400 million number is six months old, and I haven’t heard any updates.)

    Mary Branscome – one of my favorite Microsoft observers – notes in her comments on the LinkedIn post:

    how do you make sure you’re not being overly influenced by the vocal minority?

    Any way you slice it, though, the Windows Insider program has been a resounding success for Microsoft marketing. Giving beta testers a feeling that they’re changing the course of Windows 10 development is an outstanding achievement.

    Thanks to fp for the heads-up!

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    Home Forums 10 million Windows Insiders makes the beta test program the best marketing move yet

    This topic contains 19 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  HiFlyer 7 months, 3 weeks ago.

    • Author
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    • #104784 Reply

      woody
      Da Boss

      Laurent Giret at OnMicrosoft nailed this one. The Windows Insider program – the beta testing program that includes two rings of next-version testing a
      [See the full post at: 10 million Windows Insiders makes the beta test program the best marketing move yet]

    • #104788 Reply

      MikeFromMarkham
      AskWoody Lounger

      Woody, Paul Thurrott has a brief commentary on this subject as well, though he’s largely attributing the latest increase to a renaming of the Xbox testers group…

      https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-10/107833/now-10-million-windows-insiders

       

       

      • #104795 Reply

        woody
        Da Boss

        I hadn’t seen Paul’s article!

        “who represent the needs of the billions” — interesting quote….

    • #104789 Reply

      fp
      AskWoody Lounger

      Apparently, there is no scarcity of demand to be an unpaid debugger. Sort of tells you why MS can be so arrogant and disregard all of them and more. Symbiosis between sadists and masochists. Sad success.

       

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #104793 Reply

      AlexEiffel
      AskWoody Lounger

      Yes, maybe it is the best marketing move. I drank the Koolaid at first and I thought it was a great idea, that we could really all contribute to create the best OS ever. But I soon found out not only people want very different things, but that Microsoft sometimes want very different things than most people.

      “Overall, it seems that the Windows Insider Program had a profound impact on how Microsoft operates as a company. Microsoft has become much better at listening to its customers, and the program has already gave birth to similar initiatives such as the Office Insider Program, the Xbox Insider Program and the Skype Insider Program. All of these prove that crowdsourcing is not reserved to small startups, it can also work for technology giants like Microsoft, with great results.”

      Has been much better at listening to its customers???

      I wonder how many people congratulated them on some of the new features like preventing you from removing the lock screen or reserving some GPOs settings to Enterprise only, the inability to not use Cortana or the fact that it forces you to use Bing and Edge as default tools.

      I registered for the insider program. I found real bugs or problems, I notified MS of them, I noticed a lot of similar feedback, but those bugs never got corrected. I didn’t feel like there was any point in doing that. Some issues were very easy to fix, some less but nonetheless important I think. I don’t use my insider account privilege at all no more. Do I still count as a Windows insider?

      Maybe 10 millions people is a lot of people to listen to and what I feel is important doesn’t matter at all. Do you want Candy Crush the Revenge or Angry Birds 8 on your next version of Windows?

      • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  AlexEiffel.
      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #104798 Reply

        MikeFromMarkham
        AskWoody Lounger

        I had a similar reaction to being a Windows 10 Insider. I signed up for it immediately after it was announced and stayed with it until 1507 was released to the general public. Like many insiders, I offered specific feedback on several issues that many others had also identified, only to find it totally ignored or made even worse. The day 1507 hit the market, I resigned from the Insider program and have never felt the urge to go back to Windows 10 on anything but a test basis, and even then for very short periods of time. The last laptop I purchased came with Windows 10 Home installed, which I promptly backed up (twice) in the unlikely event I’ll ever need it, and then installed Linux Mint as my daily driver on that machine. Never regretted that decision for even a millisecond.

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #104820 Reply

          radosuaf
          AskWoody Lounger

          This is exactly what happened with me :). I am also registered Insider and I had been testing most, if not all builds before RTM. When they announced something I considered being at *deep* beta stage a final OS, I gave up. I did give W10 two more tries, second in January this year, but after this, I’ve bought myself a copy of W8 and finally decided not to install W10 until it’s finished (which is probably never).

          Also, I get the impression Insiders are nowhere near professional software testers – it’s like giving away Ferraris to fresh drivers and waiting for constructive feedback. You can have one experienced driver that will be more valuable then 100 rookies. Unless you care more about the impression the car makes when you get in than about how it actually drives, of course.

          MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti D5 4G * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit + Windows 10 Mobile 1703 (Lumia 735)
          4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #104821 Reply

      Karlston
      AskWoody Lounger

      Some questions have to be asked…

      If the Windows Insider programme is such a success, (1) why are the updates of such poor quality and (2) why does Windows 10 still have several long-time distasteful features.

      Are the Insiders not reporting issues and dislikes? Is Microsoft ignoring the reports or just cherry-picking which ones to implement?

      Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

      • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  Karlston.
      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #104823 Reply

      AElMassry
      AskWoody Lounger

      10 milion + how many milion home users forced to be a test program???? i doubt MS have fans

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #104826 Reply

        radosuaf
        AskWoody Lounger

        Exactly – they should count Home users in :).

        MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti D5 4G * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit + Windows 10 Mobile 1703 (Lumia 735)
        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #104841 Reply

      anonymous

      Can the 10 million figure be independently verified.

      Bet, a few million registered Insiders are no longer running any Win 10 Insider Test-build.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #104845 Reply

        Noel Carboni
        AskWoody MVP

        Bet, a few million registered Insiders are no longer running any Win 10 Insider Test-build.

        I’m one. I now wait for the releases.

        -Noel

      • #104849 Reply

        PKCano
        AskWoody MVP

        I started with the Technical Preview in Oct 2014. I was a particularly avid follower during the GWX campaign while trying to keep everyone I knew from being hijacked and trying to learn as much as I could about Win10.

        Now, I open it up once every Cumulative Update/Fearute Update, go through the settings to see what’s been changed, what’s been added and what has been removed in the way of User control. I run it only in a VM (Parallels on a Mac) and I have no interest in using it on any of my production machines EVER. I use Classic Shell for an interface, no Cortana, and Bing is NOT my default search engine in Firefox (never Edge). I have no use for the ugly tiles or any of the inferior UWP apps. I will not abide with advertising in the OS. I will not allow MS’s gathering of of the personal data on my computer.

        I still use Win7 and Win8.1 when I need Windows Programs. But I have already gone over to the dark side. Mac’s are my primary computers. The lack of stress is much appreciated. I can still use all the programs I was using in Win except a very limited number of specialized ones – Macs are not limited to the Apple App Store as many people think. And Macs just work.

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #104867 Reply

          Noel Carboni
          AskWoody MVP

          I imagine, save for the fact that they probably won’t sell you a Microsoft Surface, that Microsoft is not unhappy to have Mac users running Windows in virtual machines.

          Maybe that’s the future: Running Windows in virtual machines on powerful host systems that are actual computers.

          It’s kind of a shame, since the Windows system foundation is more advanced than what’s grown out of Unix origins, and as such is more suitable for business use. The kernel is more advanced and the NTFS file system with its access control security model is second to none – both derived from genius level Digital Equipment Corporation designs.

          -Noel

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #104870 Reply

            driftless
            AskWoody Lounger

            Noel, I think it’s more likely that applications will be packaged in containers, and that they will run on any OS that supports the container technology. MS is inadvertently promoting this architecture by writing OSs that no sane person would want to run.

            NTFS file permissions are a mess. NetWare was vastly superior.

            • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  driftless.
          • #104874 Reply

            PKCano
            AskWoody MVP

            Maybe that’s the future: Running Windows in virtual machines on powerful host systems that are actual computers.

            I think you are right about VMs on powerful servers, but maybe not wholly like you may mean here. I think MS is moving to a WaaS in the cloud environment – VMs on their servers in the cloud, thin clients on the order of Chromebooks in the hands of the User. Rent the OS to your spec + applications of your choice ($$ for each increment/add-on).

            Think about it. No more need for IT – you have MS Helpdesk. Always up-to-date – no more need to download CUs and Feature Updates. Always under MS control.
            (Always subject to Internet hiccoughs).

            1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #104844 Reply

      Noel Carboni
      AskWoody MVP

      I have just seen that the prospective “Creator’s Upgrade”, 10.0.15063.0, was built from sources on March 17. So a scant 10 days after it having been built from source code – it’s nearing customer release.

      I wonder if there’s anyone at Microsoft who remembers what a “mythical man-month” is.

      Even backed by 10 million pre-release testers Microsoft cannot hope to fully test an entire OS – an insanely complicated thing – and make it stable and reliable in less than a month. There are things the OS might not ever do in only one month of running!

      The “Current Branch for Business” concept, where the OS gets another 4 months of testing by the world, is better, but… Maybe not good enough yet. Without a professional test organization it’s still hit or miss. A skilled SVT tester trying to break something on purpose is going to do different things.

      But even with the CBB concept in place, the problem as I see it is that a culture of “we finish the code and toss the OS out there right off the engineer’s desk and see what the world thinks” can’t really work for the software that has to be the foundation for everything a person does with a computer.

      How much does that culture affect patches? I think more than we or Microsoft want it to.

      There’s a line from an old Air Force song that seems oddly appropriate somehow…

      “It’s fast, I don’t care! It blows up in midair!”

      -Noel

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #104848 Reply

      anonymous

      The concept of ‘calling all beta testers’ is not a new concept and it was not introduced by Microsoft. For an OS, it is also not new. I remember when IBM requested beta testers for OS/2 in 1991. These programs never rose to the user numbers that the W10 Insiders Program has risen to and we should acknowledge that sheer numbers are not an indication of a successful program. The quality of the end product is the best indicator.

      “Windows 7 had 8 million testers ” – EMIL PROTALINSKI – OCT 22, 2009 3:00 PM UTC arstechnica

      Windows 8 had a beta testing program (participation not published). On May 11, 2013, Frank X. Shaw, a Microsoft corporate vice president, said that while many of the negative reviews were extreme, it was a “good thing” that Microsoft was “listening to feedback and improving a product”. Windows 8.1 was officially announced by Microsoft on May 14, 2013.

      Windows 10, having 10 million beta testers (the voluntary testers, that is) is definitely impressive. ‘ Windows for Crash Test Dummies’ is a banner they do not want to wear. Firing their entire QA Team was a huge bone-headed decision. It is quality assurance that is their Achilles heel.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #104937 Reply

        driftless
        AskWoody Lounger

        A case could be made that every Win10 user is a beta tester, the vast majority involuntarily.

        2 users thanked author for this post.

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