Sometimes Microsoft will unfortunately take a government's requirements over its customer's preferences...

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2013/04/23 07:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2013/04/23/10413216.aspx


In a comment to Blame Canada! aka Where is the RIGHT CTRL key on *this* keyboard, Canada?, Eric Côté responded:

I live in Montreal. Most French-Canadians are going to avoid the "multilingual" keyboard and instead opt for the friendlier "Canadian French" keyboard. Even the Surface keyboard that you buy in Montréal and Québec City is going to use the "Canadian French" keyboard. Microsoft Hardware has been selling "Canadian French" keyboards since the late 90s.

But here's a sad story: when you use the new "language" control panel, if you select "Français (Canada)", it is going to default your keyboard to "Canadian Multilingual Standard".

The same happens if you get a new computer that goes through the new "out-of-box experience" (that's the set of screens during the initial boot of a new computer). It's going to ask you "English or French" and defaultd your keyboard accordingly. If you choose "French" with a Canadian Time Zone, you'll automatically get "Canadian multilingual Standard".

And there's no obvious way to change that for non-technical users. I dare you to try!

Answer:  Go to the "Language" Control Panel, click "option" just beside "Français (Canada)", "Add an input method", and then you see a panel with an alphabetical list of all French keyboard, followed by an alphabetical list of NON-French Keyboards. Go to the second list and find "Canadian French" (yep, that is a bug, it should be on the first list. Making things worse, there's also a "Canadian French (Legacy)" on the first list that dates back from the Win3.0 days and that should absolutely be avoided.)

Every time I see someone with a Surface connected to a French Canadian Keyboard, it's always using the wrong keyboard layout. People always go: "hey, it's a buggy Microsoft product, this wouldn't happen with Apple".  The source of problem is thus: the default layout from Microsoft Hardware isn't following the default layout from the Windows division.

Now I wish what Eric Côté was saying here was true.

And that most Canadian French users added the "Français (Canada)" keyboard layout and removed the "Canadian Multilingual Standard" keyboard layout.

Unfortunately, I have some statistics that contradict the claim a little. Or maybe a lot?

You see, according to our info, fewer than 5% of all people who install Windows ever launch Regional and Language Options.

Plus, fewer than 5% of those people actually change any of the settings.

And on top of all that, at least 1% change the setting back.

Therefore, for the claims of Eric Côté to be true, the sales figures of Microsoft Canada would have to be  more than eight times what they are now!

But it is true what Eric Côté was saying, about what people wanted their defaults to be.

So this becomes a case where Microsoft loves and respects its customers, and will do whatever that customer prefers.

Until and unless the government's requirements conflict with those cases, in which cases the government wins the DEFAULT case, which unfortunately means the government wins the case for most people...

And the customer is left thinking "hey, it's a buggy Microsoft product, this wouldn't happen with Apple", just as Eric Côté suggested.

And we only have ourselves to blame.

Because sometimes Microsoft will unfortunately take a government's requirements over its customer's preferences...


Joshua on 23 Apr 2013 1:53 PM:

> You see, according to our info, fewer than 5% of all people who install Windows ever launch Regional and Language Options.

Break it down by what the default value is first. Most people seem to want US-English keyboard settings for some reason. The same people want a US-English OS whatever their localized version is. Dunno why. Kinda surprised.

There's a pretty good chance that 5% in global relates to >50% in Quebec.

Joe Clark on 24 Apr 2013 6:08 AM:

What “government requirement”? Link us to the legislation or regulation, please.

Joe Clark on 24 Apr 2013 10:47 AM:

Also, typically for Microsoft, you can’t figure out how to use BLOCKQUOTE. HTML semantics, and basics of document design, are competencies that ensure you won’t get hired at Microsoft.

Random User 2058371 on 1 May 2013 9:31 AM:

@Joe: It appears you either know or presume that his blogging software even allows him to use BLOCKQUOTE. (Without jumping though flaming hoops.)

Entegy on 28 May 2013 7:29 AM:

@Joe Clark It's pretty obvious which government is making the complaints in relation to language issues in Canada. There doesn't have to be an official regulation, there's a "request" made to change something so someone shuts up (or quiets down a little).


go to newer or older post, or back to index or month or day