Change can be a good thing, especially when everyone's happier!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2012/10/29 07:01 -04:00, original URI:

The other day in The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 28: We finally fixed that 'Install New Languages' thing!, I talked about the huge change in the way Microsoft handles purchase/licensing of localized content.

Offline, I had several people ask me why....

What had changed?

Well, mostly it was proving how poorly the old ways of doing things were for most end users!

For most copies of Windows, our "customer" is an OEM like Dell or Toshiba.

And although we provided many interesting and powerful SKU differentiation tools, the OEMs mostly didn't bother with them.

In many markets, they would just ship English, for example. Or something equally off-kilter.

Cheaper, easier, better for everyone!

Well, technically not everyone.

But they would seldom blame the OEM.

They would just blame Microsoft, of course!

And then problems like the ones described in Intended Implicatures Redux, aka On Unintended Genuinosity Negation would come up, and once again their bad planing/execution that forced users to ill-advised extremes?

Our fault, again.

So if we get no real financial benefit ourselves from "language as SKU differentiator", and we have major C-SAT and N-SAT issues to boot, it was easier to argue for a change in the model!

In some ways, this is the same kind of indictment on the OEMs as Surface, yet I don't think they'll feel it as much -- the new world makes us look better, but they don't look any worse....

We just got sick of taking the blame for their bugs. :-) 

Now it is easier than ever to get the language you want and be happier about it. Everybody wins!

Niels on 29 Oct 2012 7:25 AM:

Now if just the OEMs would stop shipping those terrible "Scandinavian" keyboards with up to three different prints on some of the keys. Unfortunately I can't find any photos of them right now, but they are pure usability nightmares.

Matthew Slyman on 15 Apr 2013 10:10 AM:

BIG THANK YOU to Microsoft for this EXCELLENT change. I love being able to try out Windows in different languages, and it's great for my family since we speak/read English and Russian in our home, I have customers across Europe and have some degree of fluency in various other languages that need to be practiced from time to time in order to keep the skills current!

AS IT HAPPENS, my business is a registered partner of Microsoft (so I used to get access to the "Ultimate" version of Windows anyway), yet still, I am no longer limited to having multilingual Windows/Office on one machine only! I can have any language I want on the new Windows 8 Pro.

This is a huge step forward for accessibility too. Think of schools and public libraries that serve multicultural/multilingual parts of the world... No longer must they stick to only one main "official" language per machine, or shell out a fee to cater for the local language!

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