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  • Two thumbs down: Capossela’s explanation of the Get Windows 10 debacle

    The blogosphere is abuzz with reflections on Chris Capossela’s explanation of what happened with the “Get Windows 10” debacle. An anonymous poster here pointed me to an ExtremeTech post by Joel Hruska which has several pertinent comments.

    If you haven’t seen the video yet, the edited version of Windows Weekly 497 is here. In the first hour or so, Leo Laporte, Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley talk with Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Caposella. As usual, I saw it live on Wednesday. (The Windows Weekly live taping is always worth watching: Wednesdays 2:00 pm East Coast.)

    I didn’t write about Capossela’s comments about the “Get Windows 10” campaign in InfoWorld because it seems to me to be… I dunno… revisionist. Perhaps Capossela’s view represents the way Microsoft officially sees things. If so, it’s sad. Capossela says, in part (quoted by Hruska):

    We know we want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective, but finding the right balance where you’re not stepping over the line of being too aggressive is something we tried and for a lot of the year I think we got it right, but there was one particular moment in particular where, you know, the red X in the dialog box which typically means you cancel didn’t mean cancel.

    And within a couple of hours of that hitting the world, with the listening systems we have we knew that we had gone too far and then, of course, it takes some time to roll out the update that changes that behavior. And those two weeks were pretty painful and clearly a lowlight for us. We learned a lot from it obviously.

    Which is either patently absurd or confirmation that this part of Microsoft is completely out of touch with its customers.

    Hruska goes on to state, quite rightly:

    The larger question is why Microsoft ever thought it would be ok to switch how the application functioned after 10 months. Either Capossela is lying about Microsoft’s internal discussion of the topic or Microsoft doesn’t allow criticism of its decisions to percolate high enough in the company to inform its executive teams. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that changing how the “Do not install Windows 10 on my computer” process would inevitably result in a great many unwanted upgrades. The claim that it takes weeks to test an update to Windows Update is disingenuous as well. First, Microsoft could’ve fallen back to the old, previously-approved update and pulled the malware-style version of Windows 10 immediately. The company allowed the situation to go on for several weeks because it wanted to push as many people as possible on to Windows 10.

    I really didn’t think Caposella’s confession was newsworthy, but there are reports springing up all over, so I’ll toss in my two cents. This from somebody who fought about “Get Windows 10” tooth and nail. Those of you who read AskWoody know all about it, already – you lived it out in real time.

    From my point of view, the whole episode with the Get Windows 10 campaign and the horse it rode in on, KB 3035583, was “malware-style,” from the beginning. My first report about the malware nature was twenty months ago, on Apr. 6, 2015:

    If Microsoft had anything like a “listening system” in effect, they would’ve heard the screams starting Apr. 7. I sure did.

    Turning the “X” in the upper right corner into a “please upgrade my machine” symbol was just another in a long, long line of overbearing efforts. The fact that Terry Myerson promised in Oct. 2015 that

    You can specify that you no longer want to receive notifications of the Windows 10 upgrade through the Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 settings pages.

    rates, in my opinion, as one of the great lies of the whole campaign. The promise never came true, of course.

    The “Get Windows 10” campaign has done more to destroy Microsoft’s reputation than anything I’ve encountered – and I’ve been writing books about Microsoft products for almost 25 years. The current slump in Win10 adoption, in my opinion, can be traced directly to Microsoft’s heavy-handed jackboot GWX approach.

    I doubt that there’s a person on earth who doesn’t “know” that Windows 10 is “bad” because Microsoft forced it down their throats – and those of their Great Aunt Mabel, and their hairdresser’s pediatrician’s favorite radio commentator.

    You just can’t buy publicity that bad.

    Many of you, this holiday season, will be suffering the fallout.