With development of the Windows 10 Anniversary update winding down, Microsoft revealed this week that a late addition to the update’s feature set, called Messaging Everywhere, wouldn’t make the cut. The results, sadly, were quite predictable, with Windows 10 fans angrily taking to social media to condemn the software giant for ruining their lives.
From the reaction, you’d think that Microsoft had broken an ages-old contract with its customers. But Messaging Everywhere has only been available in testing form to Windows Insiders since the April 20 release of build 14327 to the Fast ring. So all of two months.
Granted, Messaging Everywhere is an excellent idea, which we know because Apple implemented it a few years back in macOS. But Windows fans seems to have lost sight of two important points here.
First, this is what the Windows Insider program is for, to test new Windows 10 features. Not all of them will make the final product. That’s how this works.
Second, and perhaps more important, when you think about the many entry points Microsoft has into our lives, it’s not always obvious “where” a feature should be implemented. Having Messaging Everywhere in Windows is neat. But doesn’t it make more sense for Microsoft to implement a messaging feature in its messaging solution, Skype?
Not surprisingly, Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar addressed both of these concerns when she revealed that Messaging Everywhere would not make it into the Anniversary update.
“We have been testing with Windows Insiders a preview of the ‘Messaging Everywhere’ feature that allows you to receive and send text messages from your Windows 10 phone [and Android phone] directly to and from your Windows 10 PC,” she wrote. “The experience was well-received by Insiders however we believe we can deliver an even better experience through the Skype app. Because of this, we decided not to release this feature as part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update this summer.”
Cue the rage.
I’m not a psychologist, obviously, but I do have a theory about the depth of the anger and angst I am seeing on Twitter and other social networks. This isn’t really about Messaging Everywhere, though of course many people do find this feature useful, even necessary. It’s about all of the other promises that we perceive Microsoft as having broken. Media Center. Windows Phone. Xbox TV DVR.
It’s about years of pent up rage and despair as everything we cared about is tossed aside as Microsoft, like its customers, has raced to embrace rival mobile platforms over its own.
Guys, it’s OK. Things change.
And while some curiously believe I’m “down” on or negative about Microsoft, I sometimes feel like I’m one of the few people able to put this stuff in perspective. Yes, Microsoft once dominated the personal computing market. And yes, today, companies like Apple and Google are having more impact there. But give the software giant credit, for both finding markets both old and new—productivity and cloud computing—to dominate while continuing to really innovate with Windows.
And yet every single time Microsoft releases or updates an app on Android or iOS, I see some complaint about the firm “abandoning” its own platforms or focusing too much on other platforms. Not almost every time. Every time.
And this Messaging Everywhere thing. Yes, it’s a shame. But if you think about this rationally, you’ll understand that handling messaging functionality in a messaging solution is almost certainly the right way to go. And that keeping this feature in Windows 10 would condemn Microsoft to supporting it years to come even if they did later release the same functionality in Skype.
Breathe. This is not the end of the world.