Print 14 comment(s) - last by Diesel Donkey.. on Jun 30 at 12:29 PM

New emails show that even Bill Gates got mad at Windows now and then

Sometimes you have to let it all out.  That's just what Bill Gates, who retires today, was shown doing in an email expressing his frustration over Windows usability in the XP era.  The emails largely complain of confusing aspect of Microsoft's update process, and the company’s incoherent online front.

The email was part of a series of internal emails turned over by Microsoft as part of its antitrust suits.  It is making quite a stir in the internet blogging community.  The email shows how Gates behaved as a rabble-rouser at Microsoft, not accepting below average work.  Gates advocated the "magic of software", and if the magic wasn't there, he would be angry.

In the email Gates states:

I am quite disappointed at how Windows Usability has been going backwards and the program management groups don't drive usability issues.

Let me give you my experience from yesterday.

I decided to download (Moviemaker) and buy the Digital Plus pack ... so I went to They have a download place so I went there.

The first 5 times I used the site it timed out while trying to bring up the download page. Then after an 8 second delay I got it to come up.

This site is so slow it is unusable.


In fact it is more like a puzzle that you get to solve. It told me to go to Windows Update and do a bunch of incantations.


So now I think I am going to have Moviemaker. I go to my add/remove programs place to make sure it is there.

It is not there.

What is there? The following garbage is there. Microsoft Autoupdate Exclusive test package, Microsoft Autoupdate Reboot test package, Microsoft Autoupdate testpackage1. Microsoft AUtoupdate testpackage2, Microsoft Autoupdate Test package3.

Someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable? The file system is no longer usable. The registry is not usable. This program listing was one sane place but now it is all crapped up.

The email shows Gates to be his own worst critic.  He's not afraid to call his coworkers out on hard to use systems.  For Gates such exchanges were everyday events.  He stated, "There's not a day that I don't send a piece of e-mail ... like that piece of e-mail. That's my job."

Does the email provide any Earth shaking revelations?  Of course not.  Is it several years old?  Of course.  But it does provide an interesting list of one of the world's largest tech company's self perception and self critique.

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XP email
By Rebargod on 6/27/2008 4:07:45 PM , Rating: 5
Good for Gates. Thats what the head guy should do. He has visions of a product in his head, expects people to do a good job, and when they dont, he calls them on it.

People need to get off microsoft and Gates case, and realize what hey have done for her personal computer.

RE: XP email
By bldckstark on 6/27/2008 5:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
If Gates is not communicating the vision he has in his head for the teams to execute, then he is more than useless, he is damaging the morale of his teams.

My point is that he has some culpability. It's not like he didn't get to test the software before it was released.

RE: XP email
By someguy123 on 6/27/2008 7:00:28 PM , Rating: 2
i'm sure this is just one of the many emails he sent with feedback. he does say in this email the program listing was the one sane thing left, which would mean he had tested other aspects of the OS and probably sent similar emails with comments about them.

remember, bill gates may have been the founder but that does not necessarily mean he has complete control of launch dates and quality of OS's microsoft releases.

RE: XP email
By allajunaki on 6/30/2008 2:59:38 AM , Rating: 2
so, was that the reason he switched to Fedora Distributions? :p

Gates secretly uses Linux for his laptop ( Modded, and cleverly disguised as a HP laptop), complete with Windows XP theme...

And he uses an Apple at his home...

Damn, I forgot my medication.. :P

RE: XP email
By thartist on 6/28/2008 10:04:32 PM , Rating: 4
You need no vision of anything to recognize when something is sh*t.

Untechnical Jargon
By Reclaimer77 on 6/28/2008 1:41:04 AM , Rating: 3
The wording of this email surprises me. You always think of Bill Gates as a super geek, but hes describing his experience as if hes a regular PC user.

I have no doubt he could have sat there at his home and dug into the problem himself and provided error codes, coding bugs, etc etc. But he didn't.

And I think thats kinda... cool ! Hes describing his experience using laymans terms because thats the target of his products. The end user. They expect things to work and don't have the knowledge or skills to dig the problems out themselves.

RE: Untechnical Jargon
By Brandon Hill on 6/28/2008 1:08:18 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, I thought that was the most interesting thing of the email. Explaining his frustrations through the eyes of a typical user.

Very interesting.
By KaiserCSS on 6/27/2008 4:07:16 PM , Rating: 5
I understand it's an old email, but hopefully this proves Bill Gates isn't exactly the "evil corporate bad guy" most Microsoft hater's make him out to be. I for one am glad to see evidence that Gate's still cared about quality and usability. A lot of people seem to forget that Mr. Gates doesn't exactly create new versions of Windows in person. :/

RE: Very interesting.
By FITCamaro on 6/29/2008 9:43:07 AM , Rating: 2
The email where he orders the slaughter of a dozen puppies in sacrifice to the code gods to fix these transgressions is coming. ;)

Critical Error
By GaryJohnson on 6/28/2008 1:44:57 AM , Rating: 1
Isn't he blasting Moviemaker's usability and not XP's? And not Moviemaker itself, but the process a user goes through to download/install Moviemaker.
The email shows Gates to be his own worst critic.

It sounds more like he's being critical of someone else's work, rather than himself. Besides, I thought you were his worst critic.

RE: Critical Error
By Diesel Donkey on 6/30/2008 12:29:09 PM , Rating: 3
I think Gates was complaining about the downloads section at the website, saying that it was so slow as to be unusable. He was also criticizing how the installed programs list had been altered to show details that the end user should not see cluttering their display.

Bill Gate, eh?
By Bremen7000 on 6/27/08, Rating: 0
RE: Bill Gate, eh?
By FaceMaster on 6/28/2008 1:02:06 PM , Rating: 1

RE: Bill Gate, eh?
By BladeVenom on 6/28/2008 2:41:43 PM , Rating: 2
I don't care if it's a blog, learn to proofread, for the love of all that is holy.

Isn't that a run on sentence?

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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