It’s a question which came to the fore as we were writing this article with the announcement that after thirty-two years of sterling service Microsoft Paint was to be withdrawn. In the time since its initial development countless drawing and painting apps have come and gone and yet Paint has marched on largely unscathed. Perhaps its appeal is in its simplicity, enabling even those without much creative talent to play with shapes, to colour and to draw on screen. Whatever the reason, the outpouring of love for Microsoft Paint has resulted in Microsoft partially relenting, agreeing that Paint will in future be available for free from the Windows App Store.
The story of Paint being saved from an impending doom is one from which we can draw a number of lessons. The first and most important is probably the fact that if you are looking to change a well loved product then you ignore consumer preference at your peril. Now sometimes there are very good reasons for product development, the removal of harmful micro beads or a reduction in sugar levels spring to mind, but a bald announcement that we are changing this or removing that could simply result in customer alienation.