donderdag 1 augustus 2013

An Open Letter to Microsoft

Dear Microsoft,

First of all, let me make clear that I do not hate Microsoft, I have used, and still use, as a matter of fact, a lot of Microsoft products in the past, and am in fact writing this post on my brand new laptop which shipped with Windows 8. However, as a user of the new Windows 8 operating system, I would like to provide some constructive criticism, as I, like many other users and especially independent application developers, do not agree and cannot agree with the direction Microsoft is going with its newest operating system.

I do not have anything against the Metro interface in and of itself, although I do think it's not the right user interface style to use in a desktop environment, but that's besides the point. The point is, that the desktop is an open platform by design. You can - in principle - choose the hardware you're running on, install the operating system you prefer (or even multiple operating systems). In principle it would then be logical to be able to install any application the user would like to on that operating system. Although Windows has been criticized in the past, I do not think the freedom to install programs as you wish is among the most frequent of these critiques. Windows has always granted the user the right to install whichever programs he/she likes.

It looks, however, like this is changing with the most recent version of Windows, Windows 8, and especially with the Metro interface. Any developer who would like to publish a "Metro-style app", has to do this via the Windows Store platform. Even though the idea of having a centralized store for everything is not a bad idea necessarily, and might even work out to be a great idea, what a lot of independent developers like myself have a problem with, is the fact that developers are now forced to publish Metro-style apps through the Windows Store.

Although the users have still been given a compatibility layer called "The Desktop", this is obviously not the way you want developers to go. If you want developers, especially independent developers, who usually have very strong opinions regarding freedom and restrictions on digital platforms, to utilize the Metro platform, please do not force us to use the Windows Store as our publishing platform. 

We want to be able to choose our own means of distributing our applications, without the need for Microsoft having to review and certify them first, because that takes away the fundamental openness and freedom that comes, or used to come, with the desktop platform.

Yours sincerely,

Antonie Blom

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