I question the second sentence of Joseph Newcomer's note. He writes,
"Microsoft is delivering to the customers what the customers say they want.
..." The problem is either that the statement is not true, or there is a
definition of "customer" behind his sentence that is different from the
common definition. As a matter of fact, this is a ubiquitous situation.
Newspapers are full of claims that Microsoft (MS) products benefit consumers
and customers. From my reading of the reality of MS products -- the customer
or consumer of Windows or Office or whatever is the distributor or retailer,
not the end user. Thus MS is concerned only with groups who rarely use the
products that they build. I came to this conclusion after having tried to
interest MS in getting end-user involvement in their products, and being
rebuffed. I know they have a usability lab, but the problem is deeper.
As an end-user, I must accept whatever MS (and other suppliers) gives me
with no recourse. I must accept minor changes to updated products that give
me minutes or hours of confusion (changing toolbars, for example), products
with mountains of bugs, etc. I sometimes feel that I, an end user, am just a
quality control tool for MS. No wonder they can sell the products cheaply;
they sell faulty products and the end user must bear the cost of these
faults. This is a good game and I bet that other product manufacturers,
e.g., automobiles, wish that they could do the same -- their profits would
be as huge as those of MS. My point is that there is a difference between
customer and end-user. We should be clear on this.
-- John R. Swenson