Maybe Microsoft should hire Forstall?

In the hope that this will have an instant meme value, I just came across this nice little clip of somebody demoing saving a document in Microsoft Word Preview on the Surface RT tablet. Go past the break to join the discussion in the comments…

Here we see Brent Ozar (via LoopInsight) attempting to save a Microsoft Word document when a bug strikes which just keeps popping up a Windows Live authentication dialog box.

Disclosure: he may have forgotten his password, per YouTube description:

Had lots of questions about the password – I changed my password for these videos, then changed it to something else. It wasn’t the password I was used to typing.

This doesn’t change the fact that software on this device can be convoluted and difficult to use. For starters, he’s repeatedly trying to tap an impossibly small arrow, adding up to his frustration. That’s poor software design in my book.

And as he justifiably points out at the end of the clip, the dialog box doesn’t have a Cancel button so there’s no way to dismiss it – another favorite geeky trick in Microsoft’s book.

“I sure hope you didn’t have anything back there in the background that you wanted to keep because you can’t get back to it”, this guy quips.

All in, that’s what happens when you release a brand spanking new mobile operating system that carries lots of baggage from the past.

Don’t read too much into this – I posted the clip here purely for entertainment purposes and for the sake of discussion. To be fair, saving a document directly to the SkyDrive online service from Word 2013 does work as advertised.

At any rate, Office experience on Microsoft’s tablet looks like it could use a little bit of Apple magic and simplification. So my advice to Microsoft should be to hire Apple’s outgoing iOS head Scott Forstall and charge him with leading their mobile efforts and operating system teams.

With one condition: have Steven Sinofsky oversee Forstall to make sure he doesn’t resort to skeuomorphism in UI work.

Old habits die hard.

Anyway, I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the top clip.