Dear Microsoft, I’m Breaking Up With You

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Microsoft logo

This isn’t about you, it’s about me. I used to love spending time with you, but now, givenhow you’ve changed, it’s time for me to move on. You’re not yourself anymore. I’m breaking up with you.

I say this with a very heavy heart. When we got married 25 years ago with Windows 2.0, our relationship was blissful—and that was after years of heavy petting with DOS. I savored the challenge of getting to know you and would spend hours reading your manuals. Eventually I even worked for you and got my Microsoft certification.

But once you stopped meeting all my needs, I started sleeping around. First it was with my Android phone. It had its share of problems, that’s for sure, but with each release it got better. Then I got in bed with iOS when I bought an iPad. Despite these dalliances, at the time I remained completely infatuated with Windows—Windows 7. It has been rock solid and stable even if my three-year-old machine is starting to show some of that middle age lethargy characteristic of Windows boxes.

But whereas with each successive version of Windows (I skipped Windows 98 and Vista), I’ve gotten more productive, we’ve now stalled. And if a relationship doesn’t move forward, it dies. The experience of using Windows 8/8.1 is so frustrating, and there are so many good alternatives—maybe even better alternatives—now available, that the time has come to do what once seemed unthinkable.

Forcing me to use a touch interface on a laptop computer with a track pad or two button mouse is idiotic. The tile interface may in fact be a good touch interface, and it’s probably great on phones. But with a mouse, it sucks big-time. And what is incomprehensible is that by forcing me into the tile interface, which makes no sense for the type of computing I do, you have driven me away. It’s harder to do the work I do on Windows 8 than it is on Windows 7 or Windows XP for that matter. Now Apple is the only company with a decent laptop.

The Windows 8 critics talk about their frustration of shoehorning a desktop operating system on a tablet. I have the opposite gripe…shoehorning a tablet UI on a desktop—and giving me no alternative.

If Windows 7 were still available, I’d buy another laptop right now (I still have two laptops, including one that I use daily, running Windows XP).

If Windows 8 had a cascading start menu and I could hide the tile interface, I’d buy one right now.

But neither of the above is true, and by making the decision to “force” the new UI on loyal, long-term customers, my lifetime value is now going to go to another company. Apple and/or Google are going to get my share of wallet. And it didn’t have to be this way.

I’m not a fanboy of Apple products, and there are a few things about my iPad that I dislike. This isn’t the old “Windows vs. Mac” debate. You’ve obsoleted a product that I have mastered and have replaced it with something that is virtually unusable and far inferior to the alternatives I have, and thus it’s time for me to move on.

And I don’t want to do this. I will pay twice as much for a MacBook as compared to a comparable Windows machine.

This was a hard letter to write. We had some good times, and I shall remember them fondly.