I think Cris this was originally a philosophical decision around the design of a collaborative environment and was regarded as a feature, not a bug.
If you have people merely following what they want to follow, they are not in touch with the community and being collaborative. Sort of breaks down with 3,000,000 subscribers.
I see your point, Derek. I'm not sure it's possible to philosophically architect features in software because it takes vision that even the best aren't able to realize.
I think sometimes it's best to provide the basic stuff, see how it gets used, and build upon that experience. Microsoft is great at providing all kinds of features with some philosophical vision that are almost never used by the majority of users. They could do it because they were the only player.
Google, on the other hand, shoots for basic functionality (few bells and whistles, but a focus on what's truly important) and builds on it. I think the latter strategy is better for software design.
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"the latter strategy is better for software design" Seriously?
Nah, I am not so sure, I am not sure that there is any optimal way to design software except in response to user demand via an open community. Software, an OS, should only be designed for programmers to use as a starting point. Anything more than that is bloatware.
Microsoft fill their programs with rubbish few actually use. I suspect mainly because there are much better tools out there, but also, if people have no need to use them, they won't - and will never consider their existance. I use Word and Excell, but nothing else in Office. For me, it is actually bloatware my employer provides me with via their laptops. For everything else I need, I use tools that are better than their MS equivalent or are not part of anything MS.
Google supplying "basic functionality" is probably a step in the right direction. Allowing others to build more via the Android community is a much better approach - but as long as Google does not try to outsmart itself like Microsoft has and tries to add "too much" functionality to Android. Leave that to the community.
My suspicion is that what is going to kill Apple is already working its way into Microsoft, and neither of them are going to be able to really compete with Google - eventually. The "i-" phenomenon will collapse for the very reason you give here - basic functionality v bloatware. We do not have to take anything we don't want.
I am thinking here of the iPhone app you can use to turn your iphone into a harmonica. It is completely useless, unless you are a harmonica player, but just brilliant. You have a choice to download it and it is that choice which will kill proprietal bloatware.
Where is the architecture here? Where is the planning and design? What possible philosophy, other than self indulgence, could have led someone to write such an app? But that is, I suggest, the direction that computing will go and all those big, stuffy, highly uncompetitive bloatware producers are going to collapse; not for a decade or two but once they start, nothing will save them.