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Programming for Electronics Engineers

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Guy Macon, Jan 18, 2005.

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  1. Guy Macon

    Guy Macon Guest

    In an interview for German weekly magazine FOCUS (nr.43, October
    23,1995, pages 206-212), Microsoft`s Mr. Bill Gates has made some
    statements about software quality of MS products. [See executive
    summary, below.] After lengthy inquiries about how PCs should and
    could be used (including some angry comments on some questions
    which Mr. Gates evidently did not like), the interviewer comes to
    storage requirements of MS products; it ends with the following
    dispute:

    --------------------------------

    FOCUS:
    Every new release of a software which has less bugs than the
    older one is also more complex and has more features...

    Gates:
    No, only if that is what'll sell!

    FOCUS:
    But...

    Gates:
    Only if that is what'll sell! We've never done a piece of
    software unless we thought it would sell. That's why everything
    we do in software ... it's really amazing: We do it because we
    think that's what customers want. That's why we do what we do.

    FOCUS:
    But on the other hand - you would say: Okay, folks, if you don't
    like these new features, stay with the old version, and keep the
    bugs?

    Gates:
    No! We have lots and lots of competitors. The new version - it's
    not there to fix bugs. That's not the reason we come up with a
    new version.

    FOCUS:
    But there are bugs an any version which people would really like
    to have fixed.

    Gates:
    No! There are no significant bugs in our released software that
    any significant number of users want fixed.

    FOCUS:
    Oh, my God. I always get mad at my computer if MS Word swallows
    the page numbers of a document which I printed a couple of times
    with page numbers. If I complain to anybody they say "Well,
    upgrade from version 5.11 to 6.0".

    Gates:
    No! If you really think there's a bug you should report a bug.
    Maybe you're not using it properly. Have you ever considered
    that?

    FOCUS:
    Yeah, I did...

    Gates:
    It turns out Luddites don't know how to use software properly, so
    you should look into that. -- The reason we come up with new
    versions is not to fix bugs. It's absolutely not. It's the
    stupidest reason to buy a new version I ever heard. When we do a
    new version we put in lots of new things that people are asking
    for. And so, in no sense, is stability a reason to move to a new
    version. It's never a reason.

    FOCUS:
    How come I keep being told by computer vendors "Well, we know
    about this bug, wait till the next version is there, it'll be
    fixed"? I hear this all the time. How come? If you're telling me
    there are no significant bugs in software and there is no reason
    to do a new version?

    Gates:
    No. I'm saying: We don't do a new version to fix bugs. We don't.
    Not enough people would buy it. You can take a hundred people
    using Microsoft Word. Call them up and say "Would you buy a new
    version because of bugs?" You won't get a single person to say
    they'd buy a new version because of bugs. We'd never be able to
    sell a release on that basis.

    FOCUS:
    Probably you have other contacts to your software developers. But
    if Mister Anybody, like me, calls up a store or a support line
    and says, "Hey listen, there's a bug" ... 90 percent of the time
    I get the answer "Oh, well, yeah, that's not too bad, wait to the
    next version and it'll be fixed". That's how the system works.

    Gates:
    Guess how much we spend on phone calls every year.

    FOCUS:
    Hm, a couple of million dollars?

    Gates:
    500 million dollars a year. We take every one of these phone
    calls and classify them. That's the input we use to do the next
    version. So it's like the worlds biggest feedback loop. People
    call in - we decide what to do on it. Do you want to know what
    percentage of those phonecalls relates to bugs in the software?
    Less than one percent.

    FOCUS:
    So people call in to say "Hey listen, I would love to have this
    and that feature"?

    Gates:
    Actually, that's about five percent. Most of them call to get
    advice on how to do a certain thing with the software. That's the
    primary thing. We could have you sit and listen to these phone
    calls. There are millions and millions of them. It really isn't
    statistically significant. Sit in and listen to Win 95 calls, sit
    in and listen to Word calls, and wait, just wait for weeks and
    weeks for someone to call in and say "Oh, I found a bug in this
    thing". ...

    FOCUS:
    So where does this common feeling of frustration come from that
    unites all the PC users? Everybody experiences it every day that
    these things simply don't work like they should.

    Gates:
    Because it's cool. It's like, "Yeah, been there done that - oh,
    yeah, I know that bug." - I can understand that phenomenon
    sociologically, not technically.

    --------------------------------

    Executive Summary:
    So...

    Bug reports are statistically, therefore actually, unimportant;
    If you want a bug fixed, you are (by definition) in the minority;
    Microsoft doesn't care about bugs because bug fixes are not a
    significant source of revenue;
    If you think you found a bug, it really only means you're
    incompetent;
    Anyway, people only complain about bugs to show how cool they
    are, not because bugs cause any real problems.
    Straight from the horse's mouth.

    Source:
    http://www.cantrip.org/nobugs.html
    http://www.jas.com/shame/shame/focus.html
    http://www.google.com/search?q=FOCUS+Magazine+Interview+Bill+Gates
     
  2. I read in sci.electronics.design that Guy Macon <[email protected]?.guymacon.com/>
    Less than 1% of 500 million dollars is how much? Besides, Gates tells us
    how much HE spends on calls, not how much people spend calling M$ and
    paying support fines.
     
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