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Over-Hyped Software

While you want a company to be enthusiastic about what they develop, it can go overboard.  People complain about MS vaporware or wish-ware, but how about an actual product?

"This software tool can do more to improve productivity than any other thing on the planet."

Bill Gates, on the newest release of Office
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3096601

It seems this is where software companies and developers lose credibility.  Sure we know it is hype, but ma and pa think we believe it when a statement like this is made and to be honest, I think Bill does believe it.

MSHack
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Yes, as someone said over at Scoble's weblog when somebody complained the Office 2003 launch that it was a yawner and one of the replies hit as to why.

"It is probably the sheer amount of hype. Microsoft pumps up these product releases like it is a combination of the second coming, your first orgasm and your last house payment all rolled into one."

Milton
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Hey, if you want to know who the best and strongest hype-makers are, just look at Sun.

A company sustained half from hardware, and half from hype.

Java is good, but ... without the HUGE mega-hype Sun generated around it, I couldn't gain so much market share.

Mike Erwin
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Mike,

Now that the initial dust of the introduction of Java has long settled, what exactly is being hyped by Sun? All I have seen lately are just product announcements, not 'this will change your life for ever' stuff.

If Bill Gates claims that Office 2003 will make ME more productive than ever he must have been sitting right beside me for a very long tiime.

Jeroen
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The hype consists of the claim Sun would be able to get billions of dollars of earnings from their technologies. Actually, every single Sun technology contributes to more than 1.2 billion dollars loss in the last fiscal year.

Johnny Bravo
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

A hype that puts tv adverts on British television about Server 2003 saving millions of dollars amuses me no end.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Given some of the technology improvements Office 2003 takes advantage of (digital ink for tablets, XML undercarriage, Infopath, Sharepoint integration), then if one assumes wholescale adoption of Office 2003 and its technologies to their best advantage, then it's not a real stretch. (Mind you, it's kind of playing on the numbers - when hundreds of millions of people are in the equation, *any* change becomes "the biggest")

But I'll grant that product launch statements shouldn't take that kind of analysis. :)

BTW, is that any worse than Jobs' "iTunes is the best Windows software ever"?

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Mike Erwin: I think back in the days of the java introduction it was imperative that Sun dragged the hype machine on for a good 5 years. For a platform to be successful you can't just introduce a few ports of a virtual machine, a buncha libraries, and a compiler. If you want to see something that flopped because of such lack of marketing oomph, check out Inferno OS (www.vitanuova.com).

When java came out. Many programmer's mental toolkit lack diversity, multi-threading, OOP, web development, n-tier, and other major tools was something that the average client-server PC programmer didn't care a whole lot about. Much of that java hype was education.

A little much? Yes. But would you have it any other way if you were a java programmer? Probably not if you don't want to end up like an Inferno one.

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

> BTW, is that any worse than Jobs' "iTunes is the best Windows software ever"? <

See, now that's funny.

BTW, my friend has iTunes on the PC to go with her iPod, and the UI was a little clumsy.. It shows all your mp3's in a grid format with columns for album, artist, etc. pulled from the ID3 tag. You'd think that clicking on it and hovering than clicking again would allow you to edit that field, like changing a file name... but no. Maybe it's Apple Button + Click or something, but it breaks my Windows UI expectation.

So what do you want Bill Gates to say about Office 2k3? "Well, under the hood it's completely different, but 98% of users won't notice."

www.MarkTAW.com
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Most changes in Office have been incremental, and nnormally each upgrade only makes siginifcant changes to one or two programs in the Office suite..

Many people are still doing fine with Office 97 (and I suspect many have only upgraded from word 6 because they got the upgrade with the new PC). I jumped for joy with Office 2000 because it has unicode support, but although I bought Office XP for the new laptop last year, am still using Office 2000 on both my home and work desktop, even though as far as I can tell I can upgrade to XP or 2003 free of charge.

Now for me, the killer point about Office XP is its ability to parse XML files directly into Access, but I do this so rarely I can just use the laptop for it, so it is just not worth the time making the change.

The real problem I find with MS hype is that it normally hypes the very features you deteist about the upgrade and leaves you to find out about the improvements through the grapevine.

This happened with W98. It had a large number of incremental improvements over W95 (I would not advise any normal user of W98SE to upgrade unless he needed unicode), and among other things those meant that you no longer had to waste money on third party tools such as Norton Utilities. However what they hyped was "integration with IE and Active Desktop" - yugh! What's the best point about XP over 2000, it boots so much faster and you can use "run as", but what do they hype - media center, as if nobody's heard of a TV set or stereo system.

Now the result of all this hype is that people don't trust MS, and stick to what they know. I know plenty of people who actually wipe out XP to install Win 98 SE on their system, or at the very least dual-boot (I even know some perverts who actually install Windows Millenium). Maybe the hype is necessary to sell to people spending other poeple's money, but you would think they would leave a little advertising space to point out the real advantages of the new version.

I think the explanation goes back to Windows 95. That had a massive advertising campaign which worked (mainly because Windows 95 really was a big change in personal computing and despite the fact MS didn't bother to provide the minimum of support for individuals and OEM's who were inundated with incompatibility problems). And so they've stuck to it, even though most increased sales since then have been based on people buying new hardware with the MS programs preinstalled.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, October 23, 2003

>>You'd think that clicking on it and hovering than clicking again would allow you to edit that field, like changing a file name... but no. Maybe it's Apple Button + Click or something, but it breaks my Windows UI expectation.<<

That is weird.  I thought the Mac and PC versions were supposed to be the same?  'Cause you can do that with the Mac version.

Mark
Thursday, October 23, 2003

>>>> >>You'd think that clicking on it and hovering than clicking again would allow you to edit that field, like changing a file name... but no. Maybe it's Apple Button + Click or something, but it breaks my Windows UI expectation.<<

That is weird.  I thought the Mac and PC versions were supposed to be the same?  'Cause you can do that with the Mac version. <<<<

It does work on my copy of iTunes for Windows.

David Person
Thursday, October 23, 2003

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