Why, Microsoft? Why are you doing this to me? You just stuck a fork in my eye and a knife through my heart.
Heading into today’s Microsoft Build 2016 keynote, I knew it might get boring. It was a developer conference, so it really makes no sense that I’m disappointed after seeing what Satya Nadella and company showed off. Build is supposed to be full of boring arse updates about how to write software for Windows. But dammit Microsoft, you made me irrationally excited about your company and then let me down.
Why was I excited? Because last year, Microsoft pulled out a win. In fact, 2015 was packed with goodness from beginning to end. It started with Windows 10 and HoloLens, and ended with Surface Book. All three products are innovative and interesting. I hadn’t ever thought those words about the company before 2015.
It was almost as if Microsoft had been reborn. I was in the audience in New York last October when Microsoft’s Panos Panay first revealed the Surface Book. I remember the electric shock that ran through the room when the lights went out and the intro video played.
This was a different kind of Microsoft — a Microsoft that cared about making customers love its products and had surprises on the horizon. It wasn’t the dusty old company that makes the enterprise software running on a shitty work laptop.
Then, after a whole year of convincing me it was cool, Microsoft reverts to its old boring self. Today’s biggest cheers came when the company announced it would be bringing the Bash shell to Windows 10. If you don’t know what the Bash shell is that’s because it’s not actually something any normal person needs to know. It doesn’t matter to anyone but developers.
The coolest thing to come out of today was Microsoft’s plans for conversational bots you can talk to. This is still a nascent effort, with no new products or features to get excited about. (Well, Microsoft did introduce one bot recently — but we all know how that went.)
I guess a little piece of me hoped that Microsoft would go the route of Apple and Google, which have turned their developer conference keynotes into important moments for both consumers and coders. Devs get all the information they need after several days at the conference, but the companies tack on little goodies during the keynote for the rest of us.
But today, we got nothing.