Linked by snydeq on Mon 14th Jan 2013 18:46 UTC
Windows DOS 4.0, Zune, and Windows 8 are but a few of the landmarks among 25 years of failures Redmond-style, writes InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard in a round-up of Microsoft's 13 worst missteps of all time. 'Over the years, Microsoft's made some incredibly good moves, even if they felt like mistakes at the time: mashing Word and Excel into Office; offering Sabeer Bhatia and cohorts $400 million for a year-old startup; blending Windows 98 and NT to form Windows 2000; sticking a weird Israeli motion sensor on a game box; buying Skype for an unconscionable amount of money. (The jury's still out on the last one.) Along the way, Microsoft has had more than its fair share of bad mistakes; 2012 alone was among the most tumultuous years in Microsoft history I can recall. This year you can bet that Redmond will do everything in its power to prove 2012 naysayers wrong. To do so, Microsoft must learn from the following dirty baker's dozen of its most dreck-laden decisions, the ones that have had the very worst consequences, from a customer's point of view.'
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Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Mon 14th Jan 2013 19:41 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

IE6 was the best browser at release and Microsoft were at the top of their game. The misstep was not following it up and resting for five years.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Comment by Kroc
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 14th Jan 2013 19:51 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

You can't expect these crappy InfoWorld filler pieces to contain any nuance.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by MechaShiva on Mon 14th Jan 2013 20:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
MechaShiva Member since:
2005-07-06

They knocked around the easy stuff fairly well, hit their historic cues pretty well, heck, they even stumbled on something insightful like the senior leadership vacuum and yet they botched the pièce de résistance by listing IE6 as misstep number one.

Maybe someone should compile a list of infoworld botch jobs...

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by JAlexoid on Mon 14th Jan 2013 23:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Easy - just open the archive.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Kroc
by darknexus on Mon 14th Jan 2013 20:10 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

IE6 was the best browser at release and Microsoft were at the top of their game. The misstep was not following it up and resting for five years.

A mistake for them, a lucky break for those of us who appreciate the entire web not being tied to Microsoft. It sure sucks for web developers though, since IE6 still has to be accounted for when developing major websites.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by lucas_maximus on Tue 15th Jan 2013 07:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

It depends what the % of users are visiting. The site have less than 3000 visitors a year that use IE6, so I am told not to waste my time on it.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Kroc
by nej_simon on Mon 14th Jan 2013 22:59 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
nej_simon Member since:
2011-02-11

IE6 was the best browser at release ...


That's debatable. I was using opera at the time. It was faster than IE6, had tabs, rendered most sites perfectly and didn't have the many security issues that plagued IE6. So I wouldn't agree that IE6 was the best browser even back then. It also ran on Linux btw.

Edited 2013-01-14 22:59 UTC

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by phoenix on Tue 15th Jan 2013 16:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

And it could be run off a floppy! I used to carry around a pair of Opera floppies in university to run on the Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 machines. Way better experience than Netscape 2/3 or IE 4/5/6. Even with the ad banner at the top.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Kroc
by Dave_K on Wed 16th Jan 2013 15:40 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

IE6 was the best browser at release and Microsoft were at the top of their game.


Seriously?

I thought IE6 was garbage at the time. No saved sessions, no tabs/multiple documents, and missing quite a few other nice browser features I'd been using for years. It was like a stripped down minimalist browser, only without the speed and low use of resources... What on Earth was so good about it?

To me the idea that it was the best browser at release is about as ridiculous as labelling Windows ME the best OS.

Reply Score: 2

DOS 4.0!
by moondevil on Mon 14th Jan 2013 20:14 UTC
moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

DOS 4.0 was going to have some kind of multi-tasking, but with all the project delays it turned out to be a Vista kind of thing.

Microsoft ended up releasing DOS 4.0 with lots of the refactored code still in place, the end result being a buggy OS with not enough memory space for user applications (these were the 640KB days).

This left most of the people using the 3.3 version while waiting for whatever would come next.

I also only had it for a little while, before going back to 3.3.

Reply Score: 6

RE: DOS 4.0!
by tanzam75 on Tue 15th Jan 2013 07:20 UTC in reply to "DOS 4.0!"
tanzam75 Member since:
2011-05-19

DOS 4.0 was going to have some kind of multi-tasking, but with all the project delays it turned out to be a Vista kind of thing.

Microsoft ended up releasing DOS 4.0 with lots of the refactored code still in place, the end result being a buggy OS with not enough memory space for user applications (these were the 640KB days).


This is a point of massive confusion. There were actually two independent DOS 4 projects -- one at Microsoft, and one at IBM.

MS-DOS 4.0 was supposed to be the oft-awaited Multitasking DOS. It never got widely released. Larry Osterman's blog gives the details: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/larryosterman/archive/2004/03/22/94209.aspx

PC-DOS 4.0 was written mostly by IBM to support the larger hard drives of the PS/2. It was developed from the DOS 3.3 codebase -- not Multitasking DOS. Some Microsoft developers were shipped out to IBM to help them work on it, but they formed a minority of the development team.

DOS 4.01 was the bugfix release for PC-DOS 4.0. It is unclear whether IBM or Microsoft was responsible -- I've read conflicting reports. Either way, Microsoft was in the unusual position of releasing a version of MS-DOS that was based on PC-DOS -- the opposite of the usual situation.

MS-DOS 5.0 was once again developed at Microsoft. And then Microsoft and IBM parted ways on DOS 6.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: DOS 4.0!
by moondevil on Tue 15th Jan 2013 10:01 UTC in reply to "RE: DOS 4.0!"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

I just stated my memories of the time.

Eventually I moved into DR-DOS 5.0 when it got available.

Then back to MS-DOS (5.0) for whatever reason I cannot remember anylonger.

Finally when I got my hands on Windows 3.1, DOS became nothing more than a bootloader + gaming environment. Although by those days I was already using Stacker on my hard disk.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: DOS 4.0!
by zima on Sat 19th Jan 2013 22:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: DOS 4.0!"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Stacker? (I remember the name from somewhere; quick search didn't really give results)

Edited 2013-01-19 22:42 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Mon 14th Jan 2013 20:39 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

" blending Windows 98 and NT to form Windows 2000; "

I think you mean blending '98 and NT to form Windows ME?

Windows ME was 98 with the NT network stack.

It also wasn't a bad OS. Most of the problems came with the removal of real mode from the OS (Which some software still expected for some reason), which broke DOS compatibility. And, since Windows XP was right around the corner (Which ended up offering better DOS support than ME), there was no real reason to support it.

Okay. Now, the article:

Misstep #10: It's worth clarifying that the volume of users that said "I'm sticking with '98!" or "I'm sticking with 2000!" when XP came out. I was one of them (2000 for me).

Misstep #8: Despite the hyperbole, you didn't have to "beg Microsoft for forgiveness" if you had to call in for validation. The other points still stand, though.

Misstep #7: Minor point: Metro -> Windows Store Apps is because somebody else's trademark on Metro may be applicable to Windows. This does give Metro Mail app the confusing name of Windows Store Mail. And, yes, it comes pre-installed, but it also updates through the Windows STore, and if you uninstall it, the Windows Store is where you go when you want to reinstall it.

Misstep #6: IE 6 was by far the best browser available when it came out. Active X problems usually popped up when people just installed whatever Active-X control they got prompted to install. While more stringent default settings would have been nicer, before this point the level of mass user ineptitude that exists hadn't been truly demonstrated.

Reply Score: 3

BONUS
by Drumhellar on Mon 14th Jan 2013 20:43 UTC in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

I spent a whole day trying to come up with a worse name than "Windows RT." I couldn't do it.


Well, he's not very imaginative.

Windows Tiddly-Piddle is a worse name.

So is Quantal Quetzal.

Reply Score: 11

RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by pbassjunk on Mon 14th Jan 2013 21:43 UTC in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
pbassjunk Member since:
2009-09-20

Agree.. Windows 2000 is widely considered one of the top Microsoft OS releases.

Stability of NT4 + accessibility and compatibility of 95/98. Everyone has rose tinted glasses w/ XP now due to general consensus of the Vista flop (which wasn't really all that bad).

Everyone's forgotten (or weren't around for) all the derision of cartoonish XP compared to 2K. It was worse than ME bashing, almost worse than eventual G5 vs Pentium trolling.

Reply Score: 6

Outlook 2000
by griffinme on Mon 14th Jan 2013 22:14 UTC
griffinme
Member since:
2005-11-09

Remember how Outlook 2000 would open executables and load pics from the preview window? It was going to make email really pop and let you get so much more done. That was so much fun. Remember the email viruses that would take down corporate netowrks? Kornikova? Those were good times.

Interestingly the next version dropped preview by default and running things automagically.

Reply Score: 3

Windows 8
by WereCatf on Mon 14th Jan 2013 23:04 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

I don't know if I'd even include Windows 8 in that list. Sure, it's too dumbed-down and it totally fails to take into account and accommodate more experienced users, power-users and a whole boatload of work-related environments, but at the same time it accomplishes quite a few things.

For one, Windows 8 now lays out the path for a unified look and feel across many of their products, granting them the distinct feeling of a brand that they've been lacking. Even if the platform really matures in a future version of Windows the steps in-between are still important. Secondly, a curated app store as the default will eventually lead to fewer malware and virus outbreaks, and by extension to fewer computers available for botnet administrators to use. Thirdly, it gave Microsoft the excuse they've been looking for to start manufacturing their own computers and by extension force OEMs to either start working on a competing platform or on improving their own product-lines.

Now, Windows RT should be on that list; it provides absolutely zero advantage over Windows 8, it is completely, fully, wholly capable of everything Windows 8 is, but has been artificially crippled in order to squeeze more money out of fallible people.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Windows 8
by fran on Mon 14th Jan 2013 23:45 UTC in reply to "Windows 8"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06



Now, Windows RT should be on that list; it provides absolutely zero advantage over Windows 8, it is completely, fully, wholly capable of everything Windows 8 is, but has been artificially crippled in order to squeeze more money out of fallible people.


It cannot run x86 programs. And for the ordinary person out there the OS is just a tool to get your programs running.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Windows 8
by WereCatf on Mon 14th Jan 2013 23:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Windows 8"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

It cannot run x86 programs.


That's not an OS-inherent restriction, that's only because of the platform it was compiled for. Windows RT can perfectly well run desktop programs. Ergo, my point stands.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Windows 8
by fran on Mon 14th Jan 2013 23:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Windows 8"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

Probably right. I mean MS will be able to virtualize it.
If Intel did not come and spoil the party.

Reply Score: 2

He missed one or two or three
by tuaris on Mon 14th Jan 2013 23:14 UTC
tuaris
Member since:
2007-08-05

Probably just two since he worked Windows product activation in there with Genuine Advantage.

Another is: alienating your most faithful customers. Constantly changing stuff for the sake of change with no real advantage. Example: Office 2007 can't be deployed and managed with software group policies, you need to purchase Microsoft System Center or what ever they call it today.

However, I'm used to that. The biggest misstep that I can't get over is .NET. It's a bigger mistake than IE6, and IE6 is pretty bad.

Edited 2013-01-14 23:14 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: He missed one or two or three
by boxy on Mon 14th Jan 2013 23:46 UTC in reply to "He missed one or two or three"
boxy Member since:
2011-06-20

Probably just two since he worked Windows product activation in there with Genuine Advantage. Another is: alienating your most faithful customers. Constantly changing stuff for the sake of change with no real advantage. Example: Office 2007 can't be deployed and managed with software group policies, you need to purchase Microsoft System Center or what ever they call it today. However, I'm used to that. The biggest misstep that I can't get over is .NET. It's a bigger mistake than IE6, and IE6 is pretty bad.


What specific issues do you have with .NET that could back up your claim that it is a misstep?

Reply Score: 4

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

What specific issues do you have with .NET that could back up your claim that it is a misstep?


I think the perception that .NET is a "bad" platform comes from the same place as Java's bad rep: It attracts substandard coders because it's an easy and fun language to jump into. I've seen some stellar .NET apps that were fast, functional and beautiful. And I've seen some real stinkers too.

I've always felt that a program can be functional and elegant no matter the language it was written in, given a coder who knows her stuff.

Reply Score: 4

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

I used to think like that as well.

But when you see how bad off-shoring C projects can be, you see that the language really does not matter.

On the other hand there are a few off-shoring companies doing cool Scala projects.

Bad developers are easy to get everywhere in the world, regardless of the programming language.

Reply Score: 4

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Bad developers are easy to get everywhere in the world, regardless of the programming language.


Isn't that what I was saying? yet it seems like you are contradicting me.

Not trying to argue, just really confused...

Reply Score: 2

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Sorry about that, I do agree with you.

I was disagreeing that Java and .NET alone foster dumb programmers.

Reply Score: 2

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Okay, that makes sense. But I wasn't singling out those two, I was just using Java as an example to compare to .NET which we were already discussing. ;) There are good and bad programmers in any language, those two (along with VB, Python and a few others) just seem to attract the bad ones in droves, I believe because they are easy to pick up.

Reply Score: 2

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Yes, but on the hand of experts they are equally dangerous.

Since they are easy to use, some enterprise architects end up with too much free time on their hands, which leads to the creation of crazy architectures.

Reply Score: 3

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

.NET gets a bad reputation from version 1.0 and 1.1 which were both quite awful. Also WebForms is pretty evil for Web Development especially if you haven't come from a Swing/WinForms/VB6 background.

VS 2003 isn't much better it takes about a day to install (I am not joking).
I also remember that on a particular CMS project, that attaching the debugger usually required surrounding your workstation in a pentagram made of red biros, while chanting demonic passages out of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. If it wouldn't attach, only a reboot seemed to do the trick.

Anything after .NET 2.0 is quite nice to work with in comparison.

Edited 2013-01-15 20:29 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I also remember that on a particular CMS project, that attaching the debugger usually required surrounding your workstation in a pentagram made of red biros, while chanting demonic passages out of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. If it wouldn't attach, only a reboot seemed to do the trick.


Sounds like some of the stuff I had to do to tame VB6 back in the day! ;)

Reply Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I never had to deal with it thankfully, I send that over to the UK ... they can deal with that.

Reply Score: 2

RE: He missed one or two or three
by moondevil on Tue 15th Jan 2013 13:02 UTC in reply to "He missed one or two or three"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

The only misstep with .NET was not to follow the development model later adopted by Android, AS/400 mainframes or Oberon systems.

Lets see what happens to WinRT.

Reply Score: 2

RE: He missed one or two or three
by novad on Wed 16th Jan 2013 11:03 UTC in reply to "He missed one or two or three"
novad Member since:
2010-06-10

Example: Office 2007 can't be deployed and managed with software group policies, you need to purchase Microsoft System Center or what ever they call it today.


Hum... Sorry but that's wrong. I do it on a daily basis since Jan 2008

You can deploy it through a standard GPO and manage it once you've installed the correct ADMX

Reply Score: 2

start bar
by fran on Mon 14th Jan 2013 23:55 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

I've been using Window's 8 now for a day. (a bit late to the party).
I can for the life of me not understand why the start menu was omitted in desktop mode.
Luckily there are third parties that offer plugins to fill the gap like start8 and classic shell.
The former which i installed and now i am very happy with windows 8. The desktop mode is gorgeous.

Edited 2013-01-14 23:58 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: start bar
by wigry on Tue 15th Jan 2013 07:32 UTC in reply to "start bar"
wigry Member since:
2008-10-09

Start8 and Classic Shell seems to get all the attention while nice little thing called Pokki remains totally out of sight for most users... Another perfect example of branding and marketing. No one will relate a thing named as Pokki to Windows 8 start menu, do they?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: start bar
by fran on Tue 15th Jan 2013 15:18 UTC in reply to "RE: start bar"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

Start8 and Classic Shell seems to get all the attention while nice little thing called Pokki remains totally out of sight for most users... Another perfect example of branding and marketing. No one will relate a thing named as Pokki to Windows 8 start menu, do they?


It has now been duly noted thanks.
I did a quick search and i found them to be on page one of google search. That is if you search "Windows start plugin". So their marketing seems A1 and it's probably not so obscure like we think.

I visited their page and i really like the layout of their start menu plugin.
https://www.pokki.com/windows-8-start-menu

You know we have so many options for start menu now that the omission of it and the choice of third party plugins that arose as a result of it .....is actually great....in a sense.

Edited 2013-01-15 15:19 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: start bar
by cjmuk on Wed 16th Jan 2013 10:07 UTC in reply to "RE: start bar"
cjmuk Member since:
2013-01-16

Pokki is everything I want to avoid. The styling is nice/modern, but it's bloated and tries to be all things to all people. Plus it's heavily invested in pimping it's own app store.

Some people might appreciate its approach and extra features, but it's not simply a Start Menu replacement like the other two.

Personally, I'm open to the eveolution (but not removal) of the Start Menu, but app stores and yet-more-social media integration doesn't float my boat. YMMV.

Reply Score: 2