Microsoft Windows 8.1 – Corporate Policies and Common Sense

Dear Microsoft Corporate Executives,

Yesterday I was working an idea with Brian Lagunas to start a new developer user group at Boise State University. The positives for group members and local business looking for bright talent can’t be understated; not to mention all the other benefits of getting plugged into a local developer user group.

As I was thinking about the first meeting topic, unfortunately Windows 8.1 sideloading bubbled straight to the top of this list.

Please see the blog post links at the bottom of this post on sideloading by Regional Director and MVP Rockford Lhotka. Microsoft Executives, if you have not read these, please do so.

Goggle’s stock just crept past $1,000 yesterday (10-/18/2013). Microsoft stock has hovered in the low to mid $30’s for many years.

In light of this you have to ask, why is this? Seems to me that if the company I worked for has to fight an uphill battle to regain Wall Street’s and market investor’s confidence that I would implement policies that don’t hinder or shipwreck the impressive work of my company employees.

The policy to prevent users, developers, and businesses from freely loading Windows Runtime software onto their own Windows 8.1 machines that does not come from the Windows Store, has to be in the all-time Top 10 List of “Poor Self-Destructive Corporate Decisions.”

Under the current policy, I can’t write a Modern Application for Windows 8.1 and give it to my family members or friends. Mr. & Mrs. Executive, if you can’t see the huge negative side-effect of this let me help you.  You are hurting the company you’re working for and have no understanding of Microsoft culture (inside and outside the company).  Time for you to join a developer user group, start attending code camps and get enlightened.

Under the current policy, I can’t write a Modern Application for my new Surface 2 Pro and use it except for testing. No need to write more verbiage, if you don’t understand this, you should probably turn in your blue badge.

Under the current policy, non-volume license small-medium businesses can’t write Modern Applications and deploy them to their own company Windows 8.1 systems without spending $3,000 for 100 license keys and jumping through a bunch of other hoops.  If my business has 10 users, why would I spend $3,000 to just load my internal applications? If this is the long-term prognosis for Windows 8.1+ my company will be on Windows 7 forever or migrate to another operating system.

Mr. & Mrs. Executive you are killing the adoption of Windows 8.1 in the business world, not be mention again that your stock is stagnant. People have been complaining about this policy for years now. What are you waiting for? Don’t you want to regain consumer and business confidence in the direction and policies of your flagship Windows 8.1 operating system?

Common Sense

Yes, I’m making a reference to the world changing pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775-1776 that inspired people to rise up against Great Britain.

Microsoft Corporate common sense is long overdue. Continue on this path, and Microsoft will see Apple or Google computers continue taking over households and possibly business desktops. Google executives have to be drooling over policies like this.

You see, this senseless policy actually pushes businesses towards writing their internal applications using HTML5 and JavaScript. Now, all business users can access the application from any device, including an Apple or Google devices.  Really, who needs Office? There are other productivity options and operating systems for desktops.

BTW:  My entire family switched over to Apple years ago for their home computers.  Why, because Apple delivered a first-rate home eco system that never has any issues. (iMac, iPad, iPhone, MacBooks, Apple TV, iTunes, and no sideloading non-sense on non-IOS devices.  Yes, I own all of them. Why, because they just work and if you have a question you get first-rate phone support or can go to the local Apple Store.)

Continue policies like this, making it difficult for home users, business users, and developers and you’ll see continued decline from which there will be little chance of long-term recovery. Monitus es.  (it’s Latin).

When I worked in the retail industry we had a saying, that it only takes one stupid action by a store employee to drive the customer to another retailer.  People don’t want to deal with non-sense and headaches.  If this is your story your long-time customers will go to other places, even if you have great products like Surface 2 Pro.

What are Apple’s Policies?

Mac Application Distribution:  Apple Store, and non-Apple Store Deployment at no extra costs or hoops.

iOS Distribution:  Apple Store, Business B2B, and Ad Hoc distribution to 100 iOS devices using email or a server at no extra costs or hoops.

Apple lets developers develop for themselves, family, friends, their business, etc. while at the same time protecting users from harmful software. For example the Mac OS has the Gatekeeper feature which is turned on by default, great for home users.

What About You Karl?

I know that corporate policy takes time and legal review (lawyers move at glacier speed) before it can be changed.

So for now, I’m giving this one more go (pray for me) before I jump off the Titanic and join the Apple developer world and learn Objective-C (sigh).

Microsoft, I want to light my hair on fire, supercharge my passion for development, and release it. I want to feel that electrifying passion running through my veins like it once did.

I’ve ordered my Surface 2 Pro and will be attending VSLive in Orlando in November 2013. I really want to program against the Modern Windows 8.1 Runtime. I love the Microsoft community and cherished working at Microsoft. My recent trip to Redmond to see my former team was a real joy.

(The main reason I left Microsoft two years ago was because I couldn’t get behind many of the new policies at that time and the shunning of WPF.  Passion that I was hired for died; time to go.)

I think Microsoft Windows Servers and server products rock. I say that without equivocation. Since SQL Server version 7, it has been the only database I’ve used.  Why? Its fantastic, its fast, it works, and I’ve never lost a single byte of data.

If only these Modern Windows 8.1 policies didn’t block and stifle me as a creative and boundary pushing developer. A developer that likes to write blog posts about Microsoft technologies and ways to use them.

You see I come from the VAX/VMS, Alpha/VMS world.  VMS had only one set of API’s that all programming languages targeted. Super for developers and DEC as well.

I really believe in the concept of the Windows Runtime; a single API that all languages can target.

This is a grand-slam for the Microsoft Windows platform. The reason that this achievement is getting drowned out for business users is all the noise and frustration around sideloading and the tablet UI of Modern Windows.  (I’ll save that for another post, because there are workarounds for the usability problems for business desktop users.)

I would gladly migrate my .NET applications and do green field development against Modern Windows Runtime if I could deploy my applications.  (deploy from webserver, network share, USB, or local drive)  But, under the current policy I can’t. Neither can the majority of business users and developers around the world.


This is not a personal attack against any single person at Microsoft, especially Mr. Steve Ballmer. I have no knowledge (first hand, second hand, third hand, deep background, etc.) of who or how these above policies were implemented or why they remain in-force.

This is a very strong opinion (universally shared by most of the private and corporate developer community) that points out the self-destructiveness of these policies.

Microsoft, the ball is in your court.  You have legions of developers, MVP’s, and RD’s that would gladly provide constructive feedback and alternatives to enable these scenarios and also meet Microsoft business and security requirements.

Have a great day.  I appreciate feedback or corrections to this post.

Just a grain of sand on the worlds beaches.


Rockford Lhotka’s Thoughts on Sideloading

6 Responses to Microsoft Windows 8.1 – Corporate Policies and Common Sense

  1. Karl, why do you want to believe in MS so badly ? Software Engineering is about programming paradigms & SDLC, not vendor evangelism.

  2. Karl says:

    Very nice question, I hope I can answer it.

    I’ve always been blessed to, love going to work each day. Yes, the occasional exception here and there but on the whole, blessed.

    Currently I’m working on a very large WPF manufacturing application. Naturally I would like my skills, tools, and developer community relationships to be very strong in this space. Additionally, I need to know there is a future for my company and me as Microsoft moves ahead.

    I also think that WinRT is one of the very best decisions Microsoft has made in a real long time. Yes, v1 lacked, but it worked and many people wrote some very cool apps. Now v2 is out and better in many areas. The future looks promising except for the current wrinkles that I’ve written about, and some new features to really make it enterprise ready.

    So like I said, “I’m hopeful” and I put my money where my mouth is (Surface Pro 2, VSLive) that is no small dollars.

    As far as the “vendor evangelism” you mentioned, for me its part of my passion to share, teach, to be excited about something. As a result of my passion, I have good friends all around the world, wrote Mole, became a Microsoft MVP, was recruited by Microsoft, and now working on very cool manufacturing applications. Oh, have never been to college, I just love what I do and work hard.

    Hope this helps, best to you,


  3. […] also note this excellent post written by another WPF evangelist about the stupid decision by Microsft regarding Windows 8.1 […]

  4. This is 90% why I won’t learn to code for Windows Store apps. WPF I liked a lot, hobby coding simpler programs on winforms, console etc great fun. Messing with bureaucracy because they want to ape apple, no way. Forget it. Good coders have a hard time with excess restrictions outside of coding, why would they battle more? it’s not even a puzzle to solve, just a pointless-and bland-white elephant.

    The last ten percent?

    I hate the single task modern UI on a pc. Pointless.

  5. This is also why I’m drawn to F# and more data type coding. The principles will be a life investment even if the languages change completely-just look at c++, a great coder in that probably has minimal work to do if he time travelled from 1985: more modern structures and practices etc.

    Whereas interface stuff,drives me nuts. Fiddly changes that seem somehow far less enduring.

  6. […] Microsoft Windows 8.1 – Corporate Policies and Common Sense (Karl Shifflett) […]


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