What's With Non-Configurable Interfaces?

Why has Microsoft decided we can no longer be trusted to configure our own interfaces? I was willing to consider using Office, now that I’m using Windows anyway, but the lack of the ability to configure the ribbon or to use a standard menu and toolbar was a non-starter for me.

But it didn’t stop there. Since I was using windows anyway, why not try using Internet Explorer? But can I configure its menus as I wish? No. I must use them as Microsoft wishes.

What do I mean specifically? Glad you asked? Here’s how I want my menu’s :

  1. File Menu across the top of the window, like God himself ordained.
  2. Next down a location bar with a forward, back, stop, refresh and print buttons to the left of the text entry box and a search box to the far right.
  3. Then a link bar.
  4. Last, but not least, tabs, in a bar that only appears when more than one tab is open.

But can you achieve this? Well I found information on putting the file menu at the top, but then the links bar insists on being over the location bar. I can find no information that suggests any of the other stuff is possible.

You might ask why these things are important to me. They are not so important in and of themselves, what is important, and curious to me, is why Microsoft does not give me options that would make this software more usable for me?

So, like everything else, if it does not do what I want, I’ll find something that does. Firefox allows me to do exactly what I want and skin it to look like IE 7 so it fits in well with Vista.

Failing to meet customer expectations (I expect interfaces to allow me a high degree of configurability) is what causes companies to loose market share.