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Erik Ferguson
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I wasn't going to do anything work-related today until I saw this article:,2817,2413283,00.asp

So Google, if you have the heart to read this, this is my break-up letter.

I'm going to start with something small but really insensitive of you:  the Active Sync thing linked above.

What are you thinking?  Yes, your phones and tablets have so far outsold Microsoft's, but are you forgetting that I and the vast majority of the business world still run on Windows?  Now that Windows Phone has finally gotten its act together, I've loved telling people to try WP for smoother syncing with familiar work environments.

So here's why I simply cannot tolerate your dropping of support for Active Sync:

1.) Aside from the fact that the WP user interface is the most intuitive and "person-izable" out there, lots of us are still willing to look past buying the "coolest" phones and take a more pragmatic approach.  For me and a not-insignificant number of others, this means:  as long as I work in a Windows environment (which will probably be the rest of my life), WP is the best choice by far.  And in case you've forgotten, your paycheck comes from ad sales generated by the personal data you track.  You're going to lose a lot of the data you need if we can't use our phones to conveniently access Gmail.

2.)  And if -- on the other hand -- you're counting on this move to undercut WP sales... ugh, really?  You know well that when most people decide to buy a smartphone, the default reaction is to go for an iPhone without considering other options.  So how many new customers do you think you're going to get out of this, even if you push people away from Windows?  Three out of every other 100 who will pick up an iPhone just because that's what their friends have?  Good luck.

But frankly, this is just the final nail in the coffin on my larger perspective of your value to me -- and how much I can tell you don't love me anymore.

Up until about a year ago, I thought that the philosophy behind the development of the Chromebook represented the best idea of where the Internet is headed.  Accessing cloud-based services via low-requirement apps on inexpensive hardware is a good idea in itself.

The problem with that approach?  Over the last year and a half, Microsoft has once again (for the first time in a long time) started thinking about how they can actually create a positive user experience for their customers.  And it's working -- whereas your product developments are not.  A few examples:

1.)  Gmail used to be the best email client out there.  By far.  For years now, I've been in love with three main features:  Tagging, Archiving and automatic indexing.  But since you revolutionized things, Microsoft has more than caught up to you.  Outlook's current double-whammy of Categories plus good-ol'-fashioned folders created functional versatility that you later had to try to match (but only in an unenthusiastic, reactionary way).  And in the meantime, Outlook's indexing & search options have become at least as good as yours -- and it took me two minutes two years ago to set up an Archive folder in Outlook... Suddenly, Gmail's Archiving feature was no longer essential.

Further, even you must realize that Outlook's Task and Calendar features have always been far superior to yours, and probably always will be.  And new Office features like the entire Suite's integration (but especially Outlook's integration) with OneNote mean that my daily life looking through Windows is easier than ever.

2.)  Another example of your former ability to innovate?  Google Docs.  Wow -- darling, when you first told me that I could do my word processing and create spreadsheets online, and then access those files from any computer in the world, I really thought I was in love.  No, you weren't able to give me all the features Word and Excel gave me, but I could tell that you were really trying to make me happy.  And I'll always remember that first web-conference when I used Google Docs to collaborate on project-management materials in real time with colleagues in Bulgaria, Georgia and Armenia.  They all told me that I had found a keeper in you.

But in the meantime, MS came up with Skydrive and its perfectly seamless integration with Office.  "Skydrive" was, of course, not the most original name, but you know what I can do with it, right?  I can collaborate in real time with anyone anywhere -- directly in Word or Excel.  We see the files as we're used to seeing them and have the option at any time to store them locally or in the cloud.  Adding the option of Office 365 was just the icing on the cake.

And with Word's formatting options (we all know that Word is still the superior word-processing choice), when I try to create something in Google Docs, I feel like I'm using OpenOffice again.  And it hurts.

What did you do in response to Skydrive?  You changed the name "Google Docs" to "Google Drive" and updated the look.  That's it.  I never knew you could be so... superficial.

3.)  Let's talk about online searches.  You're still really good at this, and when I first heard about Bing -- Microsoft teaming up with Yahoo!(?!) -- I shook my head and laughed.  Yes, she's prettier than you, but I never thought she could make me happy.  But I have to confess something:  I've been spending quality time with her for a while now and... I come away satisfied every time.

So I'm sorry, Google, but I have to let you go.  You and I had some good times together.  I was willing to let you stalk me all these years, watching and documenting my every word and every move, because in return you gave me what seemed to be such valuable, pretty presents for free.  But you've seen that what you've given me no longer meets my needs.  And not only have you stopped trying to take care of me... now you're dropping Active Sync support.  You're thinking only of yourself and telling me that I have to do away with a really, really important part of my life.  I can't take it anymore.

And in the meantime, the spirit of Bill Gates has been there all the time, patiently waiting with open arms, oversized glasses and a nerdy smile.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not fooling myself:  Microsoft is still Microsoft.  The features I described above require local software installations, so I'll have to sacrifice hard drive space whenever she moves new furniture into our place.  And we all know she can be high-maintenance:  I'll have to put money and effort into keeping her happy as we grow together.  But every rewarding relationship takes patience and work.  I'm willing to dig in, because she's giving me full functionality for daily tasks across platforms -- whether I'm using my PC, a Surface tablet, or the Windows Phone I love.  And her system requirements?  You of all people should know that my hardware is more than capable of handling them.  ;-)

You thrilled me for a while, but until you prove that you're really going to take care of me, I know who really loves me.  Goodbye, darling...

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I'm obviously on another break from work at the moment.

Good news about Qantas groundings: "Aircraft currently in the air will complete their flights." :-D

This is fascinating to me. Your spot in the timeline of the world's population: I'm no.79,138,953,801. No wonder I was downsized! :-D

"Plastic", by Erisa Rei (with me on electric guitars!), featured on the Washington Blues Weekly: Direct song link (available to download for a limited time):

Personnel: Trey Gray (drums & production), Dow Tomlin (bass), Mike Kyle (piano), Neil Kyle (production), Erik Tepley-Ferguson (electric guitars) :-D

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Great quick overview of info-silo problems associated with traditional project management - and what to do:
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