Why Has Microsoft Abandoned the Power User?

That's the questions posed by Preston Gralla in this editorial. From the post:
The upcoming final releases of Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7 make one thing exceedingly clear: Microsoft has abandoned the power user, allowing fewer and fewer customizations and tweaks. By doing this, they’re leaving behind a very loyal audience.
Internally, Microsoft has created a mythical typical user it calls “Abby” who knows very little about computers. It now targets the operating system and browser at this imaginary Abby, potentially leaving the rest of us out in the cold.

I've not seen Vista, but after recently using IE7, I can say it's clear that they are trying to dumb things down a bit. Microsoft is in a tough spot in this regard. On the one hand, power users are in the vast minority… but it's a vocal and influential minority. Losing the power user is something I don't think Microsoft can afford to do at this point. They may have lost sight of that. Tim brings up an interesting point too. Has Microsoft thrown in the towel, and admitted that the PC is now furniture, and that the frontier of innovation has moved on? If so, that does bode extremely well for the “web as a platform” meme. I think people will always want some measure of control though, especially the power users. There's an innate desire to tinker in some people, and that's not going away any time soon. Linux maintains the “make easy things easy, and hard things possible” way of thinking and hopefully always will. I wonder how long it will take for the Windows power users to take notice.
–jeremy
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