Microsoft’s US-Centric Focus Bites Again with Fall Creators Update

Posted on July 17, 2017 by Brad Sams in Windows 10 with 56 Comments

With each release of Windows 10, Microsoft has branded the software with names like Anniversary update and Creators Update but their upcoming release, the Fall Creators update, is causing a few issues. Namely, not everyone refers to the second half of the calendar year as the fall and if you live in the southern hemisphere, the second half of the year is actually the spring.

In the UK, the fall is referred to as autumn and as Windows Central first noted, Microsoft is now referring to the fall update in that part of the world as the Autumn Creators update. While that does create a few headaches for keeping the marketing message straight, it’s not the biggest issue.

But, what is an issue and creates a much larger problem is what happens if you live in the southern hemisphere. The Fall Creators update (the Australian website calls it the Autumn Creators update) is actually launching in the spring in this part of the world which does create a much more serious issue as this will likely confuse the consumer when they see that the ‘new’ update appears to be six months old.

One tip I got that I was never able to fully vet was that Microsoft had to change the name of this update at the last minute. I was never able to learn what they were going to originally call it but if that holds true, this may explain why this naming scheme is so messy as they didn’t have the proper amount of time to do the research of calling something “fall” when most of the world uses another name.

More so, this is Microsoft’s latest iteration of how the company primarily focuses on the US with its products. In the US, Fall Creators update makes sense but elsewhere, not so much. This plays nicely into the narrative that the company only cares about the US for its consumer products as Bing, Cortana, Groove, and many of its hardware products (Zune) launch in the US first and if they do make it abroad (Bing/Cortana) they are watered down variant of what is offered in the US.

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Comments (56)

56 responses to “Microsoft’s US-Centric Focus Bites Again with Fall Creators Update”

  1. unfalln

    It's honestly not that much of a worry here in Australia. Movie trailers have long referred to spring, fall and holidays. On a side note, why even have holidays in July?

  2. Mestiphal

    they call it fall, instead of "October" or "November" because it give them 3 months to deploy, as Microsoft never has things ready when they plan.

    By releasing a "Fall Update" in Australia's Spring, the only thing people will see is that Microsoft is once again late in delivering lol

    Then again, three PC's in my house have not received the Creator's Update yet, so Australians will probably receive the Fall Update in their Fall (6 months after RTS), so it'll work out at the end

  3. navarac

    Just call it Creator's Update II

  4. rameshthanikodi

    Amatuer mistake that should have never happened.

  5. narboza

    Back in the day, MSDN went through the same "controversy" when they were shipping disks monthly. This is nothing new. Just the people are different who want to shoot all the marketers. Of course, those who want to smack an entire company find these discussions worthwhile.

  6. MrYves707

    this tells all about Microsoft's branding skills and its ignorance regarding non-US markets...

  7. Narg

    ... in other news...

  8. Tony Barrett

    Why don't they just call it "Another lackluster collection of fixes, updates and features we think you'll like but none of you actually asked for although some of these may actually be late even though we said they wouldn't be - late summer, early Spring/Fall/Autumn (delete as necessary) Update 2".

    I think that sounds pretty catchy actually. ;-)

  9. Stooks

    How many average consumers know the name of any of the Windows 10 builds? Zero is my guess. This simply does not matter.

    • Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to Stooks:

      Normally, yes, but the way MS presents the update, you get a notification that these major updates are available and will be installed. Granted, I imagine even without a season in the name, there could be some confusion about what an Anniversary or Creators update is it does.

  10. kenhes

    The "More Creative Creators Update" would have made more sense. :D Or just "Here's all the stuff we couldn't finish for the Creators Update Update".

  11. DaddyBrownJr

    If anyone is "confused" by this, they probably have issues just turning on the computer.

  12. arknu

    On an even more bizarre note: the new emoji panel is limited to en-US.

    And tech journalists let MS get away with it because they are all in the US or at least in English-speaking countries.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to arknu:

      Are MSFT or English-speaking countries to blame if few others bother to engage in tech journalism?

      Actually, the problem is that there are 3+ billion people who speak/read English as second language in addition to the 500+ million for whom it's their first language. Mandarin may have 1+ billion for whom it's their first language, but unlikely there are another billion for whom it's their second language. Even lower on both sides for Arabic and Spanish. Once you're through the Big 4, no other language would have 1 billion for whom it's either first or second language. (Sorry, France.)

      • Renato Golia

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        the problem is that even if you set to use English as your device language, you get a watered down service in many cases.

        even worse, different products use different settings to select the language/capabilities.

        I'm Italian, I live in Sweden and my job is in English. I use Italian culture settings, my computer and phone are set to be located in Sweden but their UI language is English (US).

        you can't imagine how crazy Microsoft programs go...

  13. Winner

    "One tip I got that I was never able to fully vet was that Microsoft had to change the name of this update at the last minute. I was never able to learn what they were going to originally call it but if that holds true, this may explain why this naming scheme is so messy as they didn’t have the proper amount of time to do the research of calling something “fall” when most of the world uses another name."

    Makes you feel real confident in their software QA if their naming QA is this bad.

    Didn't they just pull back a bunch of the recent mandatory W10 updates due to bugs?

  14. hrlngrv

    Picky: in the southern hemisphere, the second half of the year is winter and spring. The last quarter of the year is spring.

    Anyway, if people outside the US want to find out why MSFT is this way, let 'em ask Cortana.

  15. SvenJ

    You forgot to point out that Australia already got a 'Fall/Autumn' Creators (or Creator's) update, in Mar/Apr 17. So what is this new thing supposed to be. I would suggest Creator's II, like movie franchises.

    • CompUser

      In reply to SvenJ: Microsoft should just dump the 10 and call it WindowsVersion.ReleaseMonthYear, and add additional decimal places for cumulative and out-of-cycle patches or updates. So if you have Windows Home, and the "Fall Release" came out in September, it would be WindowsHome.1709. If the first cumulative update was released in October, the new version would be WindowsHome.1709.1710. Then if an out-of-cycle patch or update was released on October 23rd (for example), it would be WindowsHome.1709.1710.171023. You could tell exactly what version of Windows you're running, and the date of your most recently installed update, just by checking the Windows version on your computer. But, I suppose even then, there would be that one percent of computer users who would complain about the version numbers being one day off for people on the other side of the International Date Line.

  16. Sandy

    MS could've just gone back to numbers - "Windows 10 version 1711" - instead of the silly names, especially with the lack of promised creator-related changes in these updates.

    While we're pointing out US-centric stuff, could include non-archaic measurements when describing devices? (Australia for example got rid of inches, pounds, miles, etc. more than 4 decades ago, so) mm, kg, etc. please!


  17. fbman

    "This plays nicely into the narrative that the company only cares about the US for its consumer products as Bing, Cortana, Groove, and many of its hardware products (Zune) launch in the US first and if they do make it abroad (Bing/Cortana) they are watered down variant of what is offered in the US."

    This is one of the reason why, Google and Apple are so much more relevant than Microsoft in the world. The windows phone mess is also a good example. In some countries around the world, windows phone got up to 20% market share, and even exceeded apple devices. But because it flopped in the US, the product was killed.

    For us in South Africa, Windows 10 is basically windows 7 with a different dressing with a watered down app store. (No music, videos or books). In south africa, at least we got google music and applie music, so when Microsoft does wake up and bring these services to our region, again they will be irrelevant,

    Microsoft need to embace the world market, like there competitors have. Take a lession from netflix and amazon (I know they are not competitors) , they have embraced the world market and it paying off big time..

  18. Waethorn

    I told you they suck at regionalization.

  19. DorianFarrimond

    This reinforces my personal belief that Microsoft is a company of excellent engineering teams led by weak or non-existent product teams. There shouldn't ever be a time where the name of a company's flagship product has to be thrown together at the last minute - it should have been planned well in advance. Fall Update seems like a name that engineering people would come up with, rather than an experienced product team who has a lot more time to spend thinking about how well a name like that translates abroad.

    Apple's OS names are bizarre, but at least they understood that it just needs to be a name. It doesn't need to signify time, features or anything else.

    Paul, amusingly, to register on this site to comment on this story, I had to enter a "zip code". We don't have those in the UK :)

  20. andrewtechhelp

    Thank you for writing this Brad. When I saw all the stories being written about how they were going to call it the Autumn Creators update in countries that use British English, I kept on feeling that they were missing the bigger part of the story: the entire southern hemisphere.

  21. Nischi

    As someone who doesn't live in the US I really agree with your last's really annoying.

    It was more tangible during the phone/mobile push tho, Cortana was supposed to be a big draw, but was just a joke outside the US, sadly none of the features that relied on Cortana became usable.

    The thing is, this close-minded thinking still continues today, Cortana is still not available on Android in many areas of Europe.

    The obvious problem would be the languages disparity, sure. But why not let ME choose what language I speak?

    Why would someone over here in Europe even care about Cortana on the desktop? What are the benefits? The mobile needs to be there as well. Might just as well use google voice assistant, which lets me speak English even if it's not my native language :)

    Arrgh, sorry for the rant. Just a lot of frustration over all the years with this Microsoft US-centric thinking which is completely unneeded to succeed(see Google).

  22. crfonseca

    If they're officially releasing it in September, couldn't they have named it something like September Creators Update? Now, I know that most people won't get it when it's released, so the name September might be a bit confusing, but that also applies to the name Fall Creators Update, even more so because there's a lot of people that will actually get it in the spring.

  23. adamcorbally

    it would be interesting for you or paul to set up a uk Microsoft account and use their services to compare to what's available in the US. I think you would be shocked at the state of bing and Cortana.

    The oddthing is there is an appetite for Microsoft services here in Europe and with a population rivalling the US why do we get half baked solutions? Microsoft seems to have lost the war in the US judging by the generally pro google and apple coverage the tech media (even Thurrot) gives in comparison to Microsoft. Microsoft should double down on areas that actually like their services. Why are their services not available here years after they are available in the US? Why didn't they appreciate that products such as windows phone were popular over here reaching double digit market share?

    I had had a lot of hope nadella would turn things round and have a more global view but it seems to have gotten worse not better.

    • wright_is

      In reply to adamcorbally:

      They should try a German, French, Czech or Italian account (or any other non-English account). Then they would see how woeful MS services really. are.

      I'd love to give Cortana a whirl on my Android phone, but I can't, because it isn't available. I miss Cortana, after moving from Windows Mobile 10 to Android. I now have stable apps (Audible and Fitbit are my two most used apps and both had stability / quality problems on Windows devices). But I dearly miss the ability to tell Cortana to play an audio book with Audible or a podcast, I haven't found an equivalent with Google Now.

    • crfonseca

      In reply to adamcorbally:

      I kind of get the delay with Cortana, since they wanted to have decent regional support for it (but they seem to have given up on that), but what I really don't get was that in Windows Phone 7 you couldn't use the ducking Podcasts app outside the US.

      Even Windows 10 Mobile doesn't have a native way to listen to podcasts, although, oddly enough, WP 8 had.

      And the less is said about Bing the better, or search in general. Let's just say they still haven't figured out countries. Obviously, if you think about it.

  24. Bart

    Why is it that people outside a multi-billion dollar company see the obvious mistakes?

  25. iantrem

    Given previous updates, by the time it's rolled out to consumers, it probably will be Autumn in Australia.

  26. VMax

    "Fall" would actually be a better way to refer to it in Australia, because we all know that's a purely North American thing - it's clear what and when it is. "Autumn", on the other hand, is not as straightforward.

  27. Darmok N Jalad

    Not only that, but I also keep thinking that there should be an apostrophe in "Creators" somewhere. Is it for the Creators or by the Creators?

  28. red.radar

    I don't think this is a big deal. It's just a name and the time reference in the name is not really valuable in communicating the content of the update. Also people will know it's in the fall by release of 1711 "build number"

    yes its comical that microsofts marketing depertment after all these years can't name a product to save their life. However this isn't a crisis or a big deal.

  29. mike2k

    Living in south Texas, Fall does not exist. Spring summer spring summer ?

  30. wright_is

    Maybe they just know that the update will fall down? /shrug

    Here it is the "Herbst" Update. Maybe they are being really US centric and Australia will get it 6 months after the US? ;-)

    I'm still waiting for Cortana to arrive on Android over here.

  31. StephenCWLL

    The amount of research required by Microsoft was about 30 minutes until they would have realised this issue. Clearly they spent 1 minute dreaming up the title.

  32. mortarm

    Microsoft is a US company. It's only natural that they'd release their products here first, but when they are released internationally, they should be just as good as the US versions.

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