Windows 7 Changes: Too Many Too Late?

It looks like the Windows 7 team has been pretty busy over the past month and a half.

On the Engineering Windows 7 blog, Microsoft has listed the 36 changes it has made to Windows 7 since the beta release. Most of the tweaks are to the user interface and most are helpful and improve navigation. Other enhancements are to Windows Media Player, Control Panel, touch-screen capabilities, and Windows Explorer and Libraries.

As I glanced over the list written by Windows senior program manager Chaitanya Sareen, I nodded in agreement about tweaks such as more keyboard shortcuts for the taskbar, room for more icons in the taskbar and limiting the amount of items in a jump list.

But I also couldn't help but ask myself: "Isn't it a little late for this many changes?"

It's not that the changes are frivolous — though Windows blogger Paul Thurrott would beg to differ, calling it a "laundry list of tiny changes" — it just seems that this many UI changes should not be part of the release candidate of an operating system.

Microsoft Watch blogger Joe Wilcox wrote that it's disconcerting that Microsoft is relying so heavily on feedback from literally millions of people with different tastes and also that tweaks this late in the game are to desktop features, and not compatibility testing and bug fixes.

"Major UI changes should have been made long ago," Wilcox writes. "Software development shouldn't be a democratic process, at least not one with a population of millions of testers. Design by committee is a design for failure."

It's always good to listen to your customers, but Microsoft looks like it is frantically making 11th hour changes just to show that it cares. You can't please everybody.

What do you think? Is Microsoft making too many interface changes too late and over-listening to testers?

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