New Software Trend… Quietly Removing Features

I am not sure what is going on with new releases of software in the last few years, but many companies like Microsoft, Apple and more are doing this more and more. As a user, this is frustrating. As a software engineer, it is making me scratch my head in wonderment and increases my frustrating even more!

Here are some examples

In the last few years, it seems like ALL Microsoft Office products are going this. With every new release of Outlook, PowerPoint, Word and even OneNote, features just disappear from the last release with no warning or explanation. Since like most of the world I use these products every day. Do not even get me started about the lack of duplicate features of the Windows and Mac versions.

Apple quietly removed rating songs on their iPhone app. I REALLY need this since when I’m traveling to speak at a conference I “use” to spend time rating songs on the plane. The only way you can now is by talking to Suri… which does not work on a plane! Plus, I hate Suri… she rides the short buss! She has taking me to the wrong location when driving to a conference too many times. I only use Google maps now.

Last year when I was speaking at the Silicon Valley Code Camp I had a talk with a developer on one of the Apple teams and he told me just how dysfunctional the teams are there. So much so that they let a new version of one of their products with the down key now working. He brought it to their attention and I guess the fix would have delayed the release so they released it anyway. No wonder most Apple software is barely useable (besides the OS).

What goes on during meetings of software teams? For example, what went on in the Outlook team when they sat around and decided that they should remove the ability to create two alerts for a calendar event? Now you can do only one. Shouldn’t I be able to create as many alerts as I can like with Google Calendar?

The Visual Studio team is always removing things before a new release. Many “great” templates are gone. In .NET Core, they have removed:

  • Project settings
  • IntelliTests
  • Changed how Analyze works
  • Code Contracts
  • NET (well they never implemented VB.NET… what a shame)
  • And much more!

Most of the code quality features of Visual Studio do not work in .NET Core! Big fail in my mind. I constantly preach about code quality and .NET Core falls short.

Now I totally get the practice of Agile and continuous deployment, but that should not include removing features from products that have been around a long time like Office and Visual Studio.

Does this happen in your team or software you use? Please let me know via a comment.