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8 things Microsoft gets criticised for (but not Apple or Google)


The Get Windows 10 notifications have been a ripe source of controversy

5. Update reminders

One of the most recent controversies that Microsoft has faced is over Windows 10 upgrade notifications on older computers running Windows 7/8. The 'Get Windows 10' notifications were poorly designed and frequently repeated, although they've now been canned since the free upgrade offer expired at the end of last month.

But there's no doubting that while it lasted, the pop-up controversy did some damage to the perception of Windows 10 and Redmond's reputation in general.

However, Microsoft isn't alone in pushing new updates at users, as anyone with an iPhone, iPad or Mac knows. When a new version of iOS or OS X (soon to be macOS) is available, Apple will relentlessly push it, sometimes with multiple pop-ups per day.

6. Abandoning older mobile devices

Microsoft has made many attempts at getting mobile right and, so far, none have been successful. But some of its mobile moments have been more unsuccessful than others.

Back in 2010, Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7, to coincide with Windows 8. The operating system was a reboot of the Windows Mobile brand, which had quickly become outdated post-iPhone. The refresh was praised for its design ideas and had some nice hardware to accompany it.

Not two years later, however, Microsoft launched Windows Phone 8 – and dumped the previous version and all its users, leaving them with no upgrade path to the new OS. This was done in good faith, as it was required to bring all versions of Windows onto the same kernel, but it angered many users and created bad feeling around Microsoft's mobile ambitions.

However, the incident does bear a resemblance to Apple's transition over to Intel computer chips from PowerPC, a shift in architecture which left a lot of older Mac users out in the cold.

Surface Book

The Surface Book has certainly had its issues

7. Hardware defects and problems

Microsoft has had some issues with the Surface Book not working for certain users. The convertible laptop, introduced last year, is the company's first foray into the market segment and, as such, it was not perfect. Some user's screens glitched out and others experienced excessive battery drain.

To its credit, Microsoft was quick to issue replacements and the flaws have subsided, at least in the press – although some bugbears remain. (Note that the Surface Pro 4, launched at the same time, has also had its problems).

However, Apple also had issues with its iPad Pro at launch, showing just how hard it is to get these things right from the get-go. The company was initially slow to acknowledge the problems, however, but eventually began issuing new devices to affected customers.

Cortana Windows 10

Microsoft's virtual assistant Cortana has also been the source of privacy worries

8. Collecting user data

In recent times, privacy has been a very thorny issue for Microsoft, from the always-on controversy that initially surrounded the Xbox One, through to accusations of Windows 10 riding roughshod over user privacy rights. Most recently, French authorities blasted Redmond's desktop OS over its "excessive" collection of user data.

However, if you want to see how data mining is really done, of course you only need look at Google and its long history of hoovering up user data via its search engine, Android, Gmail, and indeed almost every other service the company runs.