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He discusses his biggest accomplishment, regrets and what's next

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced this week that he plans to retire sometime over the next year. This is pretty big, considering he's been with the company for 33 years and saw it through many stages of technological growth. So how would he sum up three decades of working with one of the largest tech players in the industry?

ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley was able to talk with Ballmer after the announcement of his retirement, and asked him to reflect on his time with Microsoft as well as what he thinks the future of the company holds. 

Over the course of his career, Ballmer said his biggest accomplishment at Microsoft has been contributing to the rise of personal computing, from PCs to smartphones/tablets and everything in between. 

"I'm proud of being I would say a significant part even of the birth of intelligent personal computing, the notion that people use computing technologies, whether that's phones, PCs," sid Ballmer. "I mean, we kind of birthed that over the course of the '80s and the '90s, and that's had such an unbelievable impact on people's lives. I would say a billion plus people and now more with phones, even if they're not all our phones, I'm very proud of what we've accomplished there.

"If I had to sort of couple it, I'm very proud that we were able to make this incredible impact on the planet and at the same time do a good job for our shareholders."

However, Ballmer's biggest regret over the course of his career was the operating system that many users despised: Windows Vista. 

"Oh, you know, I've actually had a chance to make a lot of mistakes, and probably because, you know, people all want to focus in on period A, period B, but I would say probably the thing I regret most is the, what shall I call it, the loopedy-loo that we did that was sort of Longhorn to Vista," said Ballmer. "I would say that's probably the thing I regret most. And, you know, there are side effects of that when you tie up a big team to do something that doesn't prove out to be as valuable."

Ballmer said he has been thinking about retiring for awhile now, but started taking the idea more seriously over the last few months. The official decision was made only two days ago, he said. 


Over the next year -- leading up to Ballmer's retirement -- Microsoft's board will talk about the company's needs and determine who the next CEO should be. Ballmer didn't give any clues as to who the successor may be, but said that the search could take less than a year.

As for Ballmer's future, he doesn't have any set plans right now. 

"I haven't spent a lot of time -- I don't have time to spend actually even thinking about what comes next. I'm not going to have time to do that until the board gets a successor in place," said Ballmer. "My whole life has been about my family and about Microsoft. And I do relish the idea that I'll have another chapter, a chapter two, if you will, of my life where I'll get to sort of experience other sides of life, learn more about myself, all of that, but it's not like I leave with a specific plan in mind."

Ballmer joined Microsoft on June 11, 1980 as the company's 30th employee and the first business manager hired by Microsoft Chairman and Co-Founder Bill Gates. Even though Ballmer has been a public figure for Microsoft for many years, some believe the company is in need of an executive shake-up -- including a new leader. Mobile technology, such as smartphones and tablets, are taking over as the PC market continues to decline. But Microsoft has had a difficult time stirring up enthusiasm for Windows Phone against competitors like Apple and Samsung, and the Windows maker was late to the tablet game -- releasing its Surface tablet in October 2012 after the iPad had already been out for over two years. To make matters worse, Microsoft's Surface was initially released with the Windows RT operating system (the full Windows 8 Pro-powered Surface wasn't released until February 2013) and it was a major flop. Many say RT isn't a full Windows 8 experience, lacking the ability to run legacy apps.

Microsoft also slipped up recently with its Xbox One announcement. The new console, which is expected to be released this fall, initially had a used games ban and a new "always-on" digital rights management (DRM) system, which posed a problem for many people who are either in rural areas with slow Internet connections, travelling or tend to experience Internet issues with providers. Microsoft later retracted these features after major complaints, but the fiasco still didn't sit well with gamers.

The situation was made worse when its top competitor -- Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 -- was announced without any used game bans or a DRM system, and is also faster and less expensive (by $100) than the Xbox One. 

Perhaps a new CEO and executive shake-up will help Microsoft along. Nevertheless, Ballmer has been an important figure at Microsoft for years and helped make it what it is today.

Source: ZDNet



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Not Windows 8
By Reclaimer77 on 8/24/2013 9:40:28 PM , Rating: 5
Vista was a perfectly fine OS after an update. There's practically no difference between it and Windows 7, a wildly successful OS.

Windows 8 is conceptually broken, was so controversial it had to be practically given away for $30, and has split the Windows community practically in half as it's alienated the power user and professional entirely.

How in the hell is Vista your biggest regret? No wonder you're "resigning", you still don't get it.




RE: Not Windows 8
By ipay on 8/24/2013 9:46:47 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, 8 makes Vista look like a God-send of an OS. The problems with Vista could be fixed with some tweaking and some extra RAM. 8 is a cluster-f taken to the extreme. It didn't last a week on my work laptop before i upgraded it to 7.


RE: Not Windows 8
By StevoLincolnite on 8/25/2013 12:48:25 AM , Rating: 5
To be fair to Vista though, it was released at a time where people were driving "clunkers" with anywhere from 512Mb to 1024Mb of Ram.
Which conversely worked great for the decade+ old Windows XP, just not Vista.

That was compounded by the fact that at launch and even a year or so after launch, OEM's were still selling PC's with 512Mb of Ram, that's just not going to be a pretty user experience, even worse with a laptop's 5400rpm as Vista/7 would page to the hard drive pretty hard.

Lets not forget that manufacturers such as nVidia lagged in the driver updates, heck I recall nVidia being the main culprit for a large percentage of blue screens...

No wonder it copped allot of flack!

Fortunately for Microsoft however and thanks to Vista, Windows 7 was a smoother transition, if Microsoft skipped Vista, Windows 7 would have probably had the exact same teething issues on it's launch.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Breakfast Susej on 8/25/2013 4:07:04 PM , Rating: 2
I worked as a computer tech at the time Vista was released. And I still remember the first Acer laptops we got with Vista. I had been using Vista on my own pc since the release candidate and thought it was fine.

But the OEM's were highly responsible for the negative image that Vista recieved. These Acers took close to three hours to run through the set up on first boot, the bundled acer crapware gave compatibility warnings and in some cases wouldn't even run. It was as if they tried their hardest to make the worst experience possible.

And then there were the problems with Nvidia drivers, that's a whole other ball of wax.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Souka on 8/26/2013 2:09:25 AM , Rating: 3
Drivers and old hardware peripherals that people ran were a massive issue. People were pretty PO'd that their $300 inkjet or scanner won't work with Vista


RE: Not Windows 8
By spamreader1 on 8/26/2013 9:47:01 AM , Rating: 2
Everyone forget ME? It never had it's driver issues fixed for peripherals.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Samus on 8/27/2013 3:05:26 AM , Rating: 2
I think Vista's problems were mostly performance related. Yes, early on drivers were an issue, but it was a disk thrasher through its lifetime, and horrendously slow on laptops with 5400RPM drives.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Piiman on 8/31/2013 12:52:35 PM , Rating: 2
The reason for the driver issues was that Vista changed the driver model and venders uses it as a way to force consumers to upgrade and thus many didn't upgrade the drivers.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Manch on 8/26/2013 5:41:49 PM , Rating: 2
That was largely the manufacturers attempt to force you to buy "New" hardware. Remember the crap Creative Labs pulled with the sound cards, or HP pulled with the printers. Several vendors tried this crap and got busted for it.

MS didnt help matters when they refused to release Direct X 10 for XP and force an upgrade to Vista to play Halo. Crap like that will not earn you any good will.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Breakfast Susej on 8/27/2013 9:30:06 AM , Rating: 2
See this in my opinion is Microsofts current problem. I think they are still operating under the same mentality that they were when they were able to force people to do whatever they wanted because of their market position. Vista was just the first time they got slapped down on this and they didn't learn from it.

Now admittedly, a lot of the things they were forcing in Vista were good changes, but not all, and likewise with Windows 8. There's a lot of really good things about Windows 8 that I really like. Unfortunately they have grafted this tablet interface on in their attempt to force it's adoption by abusing their market leader position in the PC os space. And While I can disable the metro stuff and have, and never even see it, It of course begs the question, if everyone disables it with third party apps, and noone is buying your tablets, isn't it becoming clear yet?

Then we have the Xbox One. This was such an unbelievable and clear "You'll take what we give you because we've got you locked in now" move on their part, at least to me, that it was just stunning to watch it all unfold. But surprise surprise, there's strong competition in that space, and they played Microsoft like a fiddle. Much like the way it was done with Vista being systematically destroyed by Apples smear campaign combined with all the other factors such as poor OEM performance and third party driver support. And of course flat out greed and willingness to abuse the market lead position.


RE: Not Windows 8
By marvdmartian on 8/26/2013 8:11:33 AM , Rating: 2
Part of it, too, was that Microsoft released ridiculously low "minimum" requirements for Vista, which made it the clunker it started out to be. It wasn't until everyone realized what a resource hog Vista OS was, and the OEM's started upgrading their systems to match the requirements, that many people got anything approaching an enjoyable experience out of it.

I worked on one system (belonging to the friend of a friend), that was a Compaq system, running an Athlon 1.3 GHz cpu, with 512mb of PC133 ram....and Windows Vista Home Premium. That poor thing was so overwhelmed, between the OS and the fact that the operator believed that EVERY program had to have an icon on his task bar (which also ties up resources), that it took nearly 10 minutes to get to a stable desktop configuration, after start up!

I advised him to save anything important, re-install windows, and give the computer away, or sell it, then go out and buy a decent system. NO WAY should Compaq have sold him a system with those specs.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Cheesew1z69 on 8/27/2013 3:14:50 PM , Rating: 2
Huh? I don't even believe PC133 was being SOLD when Vista came out... DDR was out around 2003 and Vista in 2006. What model PC was this?


RE: Not Windows 8
By robinthakur on 8/27/2013 5:23:46 AM , Rating: 2
A lot of people are (unbelievably) still running Vista. My other half has a laptop he occasionally uses that takes 10 mins to boot and be usable due to the amount of paging to a slow hd. I switched my main machines to OSX after Vista, though I still use Windows for work on SharePoint development in a VM.

Have to say I admire MS for what they were trying to achieve in 8, and for shaking up the status quo and it will be interesting to see what OSX Mavericks looks like as a consequence. I think MS should have made the changes more gradual and had an option to go back to the old way, to keep people happy. If they had confidence that the Modern UI was great then what's to lose!


RE: Not Windows 8
By StevoLincolnite on 8/25/13, Rating: -1
RE: Not Windows 8
By ET on 8/25/2013 2:02:20 AM , Rating: 1
The difference between Vista and 8 was that Vista was pretty unusable at release, mostly due to lack of good drivers. It was also a resource hog which was hard on many people's hardware. 8, on the other hand, is technically a (slightly) better OS than 7, just encumbered by a controversial UI.

Anyone who thinks Vista is better than 8 doesn't remember its early days. 8 had start button replacements pretty much at start. Vista took quite a while to become stable and usable.


RE: Not Windows 8
By piroroadkill on 8/25/2013 8:28:47 AM , Rating: 3
Technically slightly better?
Well, 8 can't keep time accurately..


RE: Not Windows 8
By damianrobertjones on 8/25/13, Rating: 0
RE: Not Windows 8
By wallijonn on 8/26/2013 12:32:06 PM , Rating: 1
First thing to do is to replace the mobo battery with a fresh one (check the date code on the package).


RE: Not Windows 8
By ammaross on 8/26/2013 3:30:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well, 8 can't keep time accurately..


If you're referring to the benchmark time keeping: http://www.extremetech.com/computing/164209-window...
then you missed the point. This only affects overclocked computers that modify their b-clock (Very VERY fringe group there, especially since b-clock modifying is next-to-pointless on gen2+ Intel chips [as it defaults to 100Mhz, and is usually only stable up to 105Mhz]).


RE: Not Windows 8
By damianrobertjones on 8/25/2013 3:07:09 PM , Rating: 1
Resource hog? Yeah, ok, Vista used the available ram for caching instead of letting it sit there.

SUperfetch etc.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/26/2013 10:57:02 AM , Rating: 1
Vista worse than 8?

I used Vista since ti was called "Longhorn" and never had an issue with it. However I am very conscious of keeping my systems up to date and capability so I never noted any lag or resource heaviness in my usage. In short I kept the OS installed & updated on my systems from Beta onwards.

I used Win 8 (got the $30 downgrade from Win 7 ultimate). Immediately noticed that it was much faster starting up and shutting down on my high end hardware (overclocked sandy bridge 'E', 64gb memory, higher-end video card, all running off of multiple SSDs + ramdisks). But then I would expect it to since it had stripped out everything that looked good in Windows in favor of making my desktop look like a collection of web apps.

Nice performance or not Win 8 was uninstalled within 3 weeks and Win 7 put back on. Sorry, but Win 8 is just too butt-ugly for my taste. I don't care how fast it is under the covers, I still have to look at it to use it and I don't like what I see. I also am not all that interested in using third-party enhancements to change it - those cost more money than I paid for Win 8 in the first place!!


RE: Not Windows 8
By damianrobertjones on 8/25/2013 3:05:58 PM , Rating: 1
Ah so you didn't like change. I'm still on 8 now months after its release. No issues. Working just as I did before


RE: Not Windows 8
By neothe0ne on 8/25/2013 7:09:33 PM , Rating: 2
8 probably has a single improvement - easier switching between IMEs.

But 8 has at least one fatal flaw - Metro is mandatory for many things, e.g. Bluetooth devices and changing user passwords.

If you're working just as you were before, your needs are more limited than those complaining.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Flunk on 8/26/2013 8:56:47 AM , Rating: 3
I think it's more about being adaptable vs not than it is about having bigger needs. Sure some stuff is in different places, but it still works.

I think the biggest feature for Windows 8 for me is the greatly improved startup times when using uefi (under 10s on my hardware). The fact that they ditched GDI entirely and it's no longer drawing the screen twice all the time is something I appreciate too.

I do agree with you on one thing. Windows 8 seems like one of those interim releases that most people should skip over because the next version will be far better realized as an OS. Maybe 8.1 fixes that, maybe we need to wait for 9.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Flunk on 8/26/2013 9:06:10 AM , Rating: 2
P.S. Balmer doesn't regret Vista per say, just all the time they wasted building Longhorn. They threw all of that code out and built Vista based on Windows Server 2003 instead.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Mr Perfect on 8/24/2013 9:50:31 PM , Rating: 5
No matter what Ballmer's actual onion is, he wouldn't trash a current product, even if he is leaving shortly. When Windows 9 comes out, ask him again what he thinks of 8 and you'll get a more honest answer.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Motoman on 8/26/2013 10:42:25 AM , Rating: 2
This is it exactly. He's trying to pretend that the current catastrophes aren't that bad to try to maintain an image...and a lot of people are probably stupid enough to believe him.

The main problem with Vista was that they did a horrible job of working with vendors on the new driver model. Once that was sorted out, there's really nothing wrong with Vista.

Win8 as you noted is likely the worst product they've ever released. Although the XBone has to be a serious contender - even though they backtracked on their most abusive announcements regarding the XBone, there's still significant problems with the platform vs. PS4 such that you're really shooting yourself in the foot if you go XBone instead of PS4. Not to mention the simple fact that the tiger has shown it's stripes.

MS is on the public record with exactly how abusive they *want* to be. They backed off for now. But you're nuts if you think you can trust them again in the future.


RE: Not Windows 8
By troysavary on 8/27/2013 6:01:50 PM , Rating: 2
Worse than Win ME or Microsoft Bob? For someone who claims to have such a long experience with the computer industry, you have a remarkably short memory.

As far s consoles go, nothing Sony hs shown remotely interests me. Just more of the same. Project Spark, by itself, holds more interest for me than the entire PS4 ecosystem.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Endafy on 8/24/2013 11:38:25 PM , Rating: 2
What I find absolutely funny is I still run Windows Vista Ultimate SP2 x64 with 16gb of ram, GTX 480, core i3 3220 and it is a wonderful OS. Windows 8 is so much worse, and Windows 8.1 isn't any better, more of a bad thing isn't a good thing...

That being said, I see no difference between Windows 7 and Windows Vista to be completely honest, in fact Vista is better than 7 by leaps and bounds as it does way more...

Their biggest regret should have been communication, they never properly communicated that Vista was not meant to babysit older hardware...


RE: Not Windows 8
By swaaye on 8/25/2013 12:01:30 AM , Rating: 4
Vista really was too demanding for PCs at its launch. You give that OS a modern, fast HDD, recent CPU and a lot of RAM and yes it is great. You couldn't do that in 2006. It of course primarily shipped on slow budget machines that were terribly under-equipped for it.


RE: Not Windows 8
By InsGadget on 8/25/2013 4:58:42 AM , Rating: 5
Uh, what exactly does Vista do that 7 can't?


RE: Not Windows 8
By Motoman on 8/26/2013 10:45:27 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, that's a very odd thing to say. Realistically I don't think there's a fundamental difference between 7 and Vista.

If you're happy with Vista, stay with it.

I'd say the only thing that might prod someone off Vista at this point is maybe if a new version of DirectX doesn't support Vista - and that would only matter to a gamer.


RE: Not Windows 8
By inighthawki on 8/25/2013 5:06:11 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
That being said, I see no difference between Windows 7 and Windows Vista to be completely honest, in fact Vista is better than 7 by leaps and bounds as it does way more...

That makes no sense, 7 is pretty much a an optimized version of vista with some new features. Youll get better performance all around.


RE: Not Windows 8
By MrBungle123 on 8/25/2013 12:57:29 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
That being said, I see no difference between Windows 7 and Windows Vista to be completely honest, in fact Vista is better than 7 by leaps and bounds as it does way more...


Completely updated and running on proper hardware Vista is a good OS, i agree but to say its better than windows 7 is just not true.

At a minimum I would much rather do a Windows 7 install than a Vista install because there isn't 3GB worth of crap (updates) I need to download and install that requires 15 restarts to get it up and running.


RE: Not Windows 8
By damianrobertjones on 8/25/2013 3:08:03 PM , Rating: 3
"Vista is better than 7 by leaps and bounds as it does way more..."

Really... Please list them


RE: Not Windows 8
By Fritzr on 8/28/2013 10:59:47 AM , Rating: 2
I'd like to see that list also.

Win7 is the Vista Service Pack. The rebadging was a necessary marketing change.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Flunk on 8/26/2013 9:05:05 AM , Rating: 2
Windows 7 is a bugfixed version of Vista with an refreshed user interface and a few performance fixes.

There really isn't anything you can do with Vista you can't with 7, and it's a little bit faster. I'm not saying Vista is bad, they're just much more similar than they are different.

The Vista fallout is the entire reason Microsoft now cares about system performance, every one of their last two OSes has run on the same hardware as Vista. At least they learned something.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/26/2013 11:08:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
That being said, I see no difference between Windows 7 and Windows Vista to be completely honest, in fact Vista is better than 7 by leaps and bounds as it does way more...


Can't really agree with that either. Exactly what does Vista do that Windows 7 can't?

Windows 7 is what Microsoft had in mind when they released Vista. The only problem was that because of production deadlines Vista was released in a pretty much unfinished state. It worked well if you had the hardware to handle it, but it was still a little half baked. The release of Windows 7 filled in the blanks left behind from Vista's release.


RE: Not Windows 8
By polishvendetta on 8/26/2013 11:25:31 AM , Rating: 2
Windows 8 is so much worse in what way? Seems to me almost everyone can agree that behind metro is a faster more stable OS.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Motoman on 8/26/2013 12:15:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yes. Behind Metro.

Banish Metro back to the preschool it came from and no one would have an issue with Win8.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/26/2013 6:59:05 PM , Rating: 2
agreed.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Ramon Zarat on 9/1/2013 4:13:03 PM , Rating: 2
Agree


RE: Not Windows 8
By Jeeem on 8/30/2013 1:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'm seeing another negative impact of Win8 in the laptop market. Not sure if it is because of the touch screens or Metro or just being cheap, but screen resolution has taken another nosedive.

I recently bought a new 15" laptop. It was generally a decent laptop with above average specs. I installed Classic Shell to get the Start menu back and boot to the desktop so I didn't have to look at Metro. I thought I was gold. I was wrong.

After a few days of light use I started noticing that I had to scroll a lot more to see everything. I went into my display settings to check the resolution and discovered that 1366x768 was the max. What?!? This was a 15" laptop, not a netbook, ultrabook, or compact model with a small screen. I thought maybe I just made a bad purchase and picked a crippled model. Not so.

I went around to various stores and checked resolutions on Win8 laptops from all sorts of manufacturers including models with and without touchscreens. With only one exception, they were all 1366x768. I only found one 15" model with 1920x1080 resolution. I took the other one back and bought the model with better (but still barely acceptable IMHO), resolution.

A co-worker ran into the same situation with his new laptop and believes it to be a Win8 issue because he is able to get "normal" resolutions when he boots to Linux.

Friends, it doesn't matter whether you otherwise like Win8 or not, this not progress. My 10" Android tablet has 1080p resolution. A 15" laptop should be able to do much, much better.


RE: Not Windows 8
By ammaross on 8/26/2013 3:39:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
, I see no difference between Windows 7 and Windows Vista

Well, to cite one example, Vista (IIRC) can't differentiate between a Hyperthreaded core and a real CPU core. Have fun when your intensive threads get (randomly) dumped on your i3 hyperthreaded cores. :)


RE: Not Windows 8
By Captain Awesome on 8/24/2013 11:57:05 PM , Rating: 2
I want to come out of the Vista closet and say that I like that OS too.


RE: Not Windows 8
By embedded_bill on 8/28/2013 10:18:20 AM , Rating: 2
Well you've come to the right place, say what you need as long as you don't tell us your real name!


RE: Not Windows 8
By CZroe on 8/25/2013 1:39:00 AM , Rating: 3
While I agree that there was very little difference between Vista and 7, there was also very little fixed. Vista was not "perfectly fine." Microsoft went about everything wrong from the start.

They thought adding UAC prompts made the OS more secure when all it did was condition the user to click "Yes" and "OK" on anything if they want to so much as look at the Device Manager or change the date/time. Heck, it probably prompted you when you change the wallpaper.

The invisible Control Box does not function like the real thing and you can't right-click to get the appropriate context menu.

There is no video safe mode shortcut (should have been something like CTRL+ALT+DEL). Countless times I have thought my system was hard-locked until I was able to log in with Remote Desktop.

On that note, installation and startup have black screens with no animation even when everything is normal, completely ignoring why prior iterations had animated startups: Now you can't tell a long first-time boot from a hard-lock.

It's sometimes almost impossible to get a full directory path now that you can't put it in the address bar of an Explorer window and it likes to consider Desktop or Document a top-level directory. This happens even with file searches where that may have been the entire reason you were searching for the file.

The default selection color is HORRIBLE and causes tons of confusing UI issues on LCDs (particularly laptop TN displays with inconsistent viewing angles) in the Details folder view.

You often cannot selects specific files and see the total file size. For example, I will keep adding selections of certain files until I get 4.3GB when I am burning multiple DVDs to fir them all but somewhere around half-way it begins hiding those details without me clicking an ellipses to see the new total between each and every additionally-selected file. Because I am doing the selection with the keyboard (CTRL + SPACE or SHIFT + ARROW) this drastically disrupts my workflow.

In details view I could always right-click the control box to manage the directory I am in while avoiding clicking on a file in it when the files fill the entire viewable area (often need to maintain my selected files).

Now I can't even select the files I want when I click on their line and I have to drag onto a file or folder *name* to drag and drop instead.

I also can't select a folder and paste into it using the keyboard (have to open the folder first).

Even Solitaire is broken (allows certain game-breaking undo operations... cheating!).

And don't even get me started on the "Games" launcher!

No matter how few people each of these affect, the UI should be *more* refined but instead it took a huge step backwards in usability. Even basic user testing should have revealed all of these flaws in plenty of time to fix them before launch. To see Vista and then 7 come and go with no progress is maddening. There is no excuse for any of these glaring UI problems that were never fixed.

This is only a tiny bit of what has nagged me but I noticed every one while it was still in beta. I sure wish MS would have tried their "Project Mojave" on me because they would have gotten an earful even if I fell for it!

Vista would have mostly "worked fine" with every one of those fixed. Because even 7 didn't fix them, neither really "worked fine."


RE: Not Windows 8
By ET on 8/25/2013 2:06:18 AM , Rating: 3
I really don't know what to think about someone who cares enough about cheating in Solitaire to mention it as a problem with Vista.


RE: Not Windows 8
By CZroe on 8/26/2013 1:06:05 AM , Rating: 3
Well, they finally fixed a long-standing bug in MSPAINT that my brother and I discovered (existed since Win95; forums anandtech com showthread.php?p=3428022). :D

I'm just sayin' how sloppy every aspect of it was. It was the very opposite of "refined."

If you want more substantial criticisms, well: I have more of those too.

The new hardware-accelerated UI was the perfect opportunity to eliminate UI problems with particular applications when you change your DPI settings. Vector graphics! All legacy apps that didn't use the new APIs and libraries had to do was get textured onto a window and scaled or new compatible UI objects and libraries could be created that were compatible with references from old applications. Instead it has every DPI issue ever, nothing is fixed, and a user still cannot simply change the DPI for an HTPC without running into a multitude of application compatibility problems. Inexcusable. There was no better opportunity to do it right.

Instead of fixing all their own lazily hard-coded references to the existing Program Files directory in their ONE operating system and making a new one for 64-bit apps, they changed the old one for 32-bit apps to "Program Files (X86)" and blamed the authors of thousands of broken apps for having hard-coded references to "Program Files." Yes, it was poor programming practice on the part of thousands of devs, but *who's* laziness created more work?! If you regularly read your readme files and update changelogs you will see that it is a very common bug. Heck, even id Software released one Quake III Arena update that had a problem if you installed somewhere other than Program Files, and their lead programmer is an *actual* rocket scientist. The problems were expected but MS didn't care because they could blame someone else and get out of having to actually audit the legacy stuff in their "new" OS. Shouldn't maximum reverse compatibility be a major concern for any new OS release?! What's more is that it didn't actually enforce separate 32 & 64 bit applications and you now have to check both folders for anything you may need to find! Thanks for nothing, Microsoft.

To think that the "notification area" (system tray) still didn't log past notifications for later review even though you may not have been looking before they disappeared is an unforgivable flaw that has existed since the advent of the Windows Explorer Desktop. Yeah, each app can do whatever they want, but it was Microsoft's job to provide the proper framework and guidelines for them to utilize and they never did that! Windows 7 is as bad as ever. An example: I installed Scrybe from Symantec to get multi-touch on my Win7-equipped Alienware M11x and one of the notices is a balloon tha pops up and says "Did you know you can go to Yahoo?" with no clue what app is saying that. "WOW! Somehow I knew what Yahoo was but had no idea I could go there!" [/sarcasm] What they meant was "Did you know that you can launch Yahoo with a gesture?" Yes, the terrible wording was the dev's fault but there was no registered application name or icon presented with the bubble or a log of what notice came from where. THAT is Microsoft's fault.

I love my modern machines with Vista, 7, and 8. I'm not one of those ignorant people who complained about Vista and stubbornly continued running XP on all my systems. Even so, I will not blissfully pretend that Vista was not several steps backwards in exchange for few steps forward greased with a little blackmail (proper 64-bit driver support, newer DirectX, etc). Hell, I always wondered what the big deal was about WinME, considering that anyone could still boot to real-mode DOS with a disk or set up a dual-boot and it came with vastly improved support for WDM drivers, uPnP, System Restore, and (my favorite) Hibernate support (much faster than the custom 98SE installs with Hibernate). I did complain that MS never fixed the issue with it blue-screening if you pressed ESC at the wrong time during boot up (normally dismisses the animated loading screen to see startup info behind it) and requiring much more memory than it should have needed. For most it was pointless if you already had 98SE which brought some of that but it did ease the transition to NT Kernel with WinXP and force device makers to stop making incompatible VxD drivers. Without WinME enforcing cross-compatible WDM drivers for Hibernate hardly anything that needed a driver to work in 9x would have worked with XP at launch. That's because manufacturers would have continued making 9x-only drivers like they always had.

Did I just defend WinME? Sorta. Really, I only justified it and complained about the usual deliberate bump in memory requirements to prove my objectivity. Have fun being blissfully ignorant and taking hardline positions for/against things without being able to back things up with examples and facts, Internet fanboys. ;)


RE: Not Windows 8
By ShaolinSoccer on 8/25/13, Rating: 0
RE: Not Windows 8
By InsGadget on 8/25/13, Rating: 0
RE: Not Windows 8
By inighthawki on 8/25/2013 5:25:07 AM , Rating: 2
I think it's fair to say that even for those without much issue with the OS, that metro is fundamentally flawed on desktops using mouse and keyboard. The controls are less than intuitive. It's also the first OS where there was no real transition between an old and new version fo a big feature change. Vista had things like the classic start menu and control panel, and the old stuff got phased out over time. 8 had no option for the start menu, and forced users to the start screen. Personally I have no issue with it, but it just seems odd they'd remove this.

I'm also completely shocked as to why they didn't support windowed-mode metro apps, which would've actually made most of them semi useful on a desktop. Even 8.1 doesn't address this, despite being one of the most requested features by users. Hopefully they'll be smarter in 8.2 :P


RE: Not Windows 8
By domboy on 8/26/2013 11:24:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
'm also completely shocked as to why they didn't support windowed-mode metro apps, which would've actually made most of them semi useful on a desktop.


That right there is an excellent point. The WinRT api really needs to be able to target the desktop ui as well.

My main gripe with modern ui is that it you have swipe to see time, connection status, battery level, etc. It's exactly like the desktop taskbar set to auto hide, which I also really dislike. I'd like a way to be able to see the desktop taskbar from within most metro apps (except for the ones that should be full screen like games, netflix, etc).


RE: Not Windows 8
By damianrobertjones on 8/25/2013 3:09:42 PM , Rating: 2
Or right click the app in the top right and click close


RE: Not Windows 8
By Jeffk464 on 8/25/2013 9:58:02 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The only thing bad about Windows 8 is there are too many stupid people like you who can't figure out how to use it.


Nope its problem is that its a hybrid UI trying to be a tablet OS and a desktop OS. This pretty much means its the best at neither. I absolutely can't stand programs that launch into Metro mode on my desktop. I pretty much use it as win 7, only with a start screen.


RE: Not Windows 8
By bug77 on 8/25/2013 9:00:45 AM , Rating: 3
Microsoft won't/can't accept the failure of Windows 8. At least not just yet. Win8 is their way forward, a way to milk each and every developer and create an app store. Metro is essential to that effort, because it's late to lock MFC behind licenses now. Sure Win8 sucks donkey's balls on current PCs, but Microsoft hope the world will move to mobile, where Metro should be ok.
That's why they can't say anything bad about it. That and the general rule that you don't badmouth your current offering no matter what.


RE: Not Windows 8
By inighthawki on 8/25/2013 3:13:42 PM , Rating: 2
I think they only really need to do two things

1) Make metro apps run in a window
2) Make the metro apps look and feel more like desktop apps (them resources and such).

There's no reason I shouldn't be able to make a desktop app that is indistinguishable from something made using Win32 and/or MFC but use the new WinRT runtime libraries and XAML for my UI and also be able to sell it on the store.


RE: Not Windows 8
By tayb on 8/25/13, Rating: 0
RE: Not Windows 8
By name99 on 8/25/2013 12:41:25 PM , Rating: 3
I think the point is the gap between what Longhorn was supposed to be and what Vista was.

There is a famous MS-internal rant given after, I guess OSX 10.5 was released, where Ballmer was asking how come Apple, with a comparatively tiny team, was able to build things like smart backup (ie no full disk scanning) and Spotlight search into its OS, whereas Longhorn had been at it for years and never managed to get those to work.
(The answer, I'm guessing, is to a large extent precisely that Apple DID have a small team. This meant that Apple was forced to figure out solutions that could easily be added onto the existing file system, rather than MS' boil-the-ocean solution which involved ripping up most of the existing OS and completely replacing it.

This same discipline was extended to iOS, where, even though the user-facing part of the OS started off as very different, and Apple had carte-blanche to redo everything with no backward compatibility requirements, they were actually remarkably limited in how much of the base OS they modified. Some changes for security, some changes for power, but basically they kept the Darwin kernel as is.

You see similar discipline as they reused the A5 CPU in slightly different forms across the product line, from iPhone to iPads to iPod Touch to Apple TV. Compare with most companies (like say Samsung or HTC) which have different teams on different products, and each team would try to get their own customized HW in there, either to include something they really wanted, or to save money --- so Samsung or HTC will have different CPUs even in different country versions of what are supposed to be the same phone.

We can all imagine bad things that could ruin Apple, but one of them would be "Matrix-sequel disease" --- the insanity that infects you when you have too much money available, and you forget all the thought and care that you were FORCED to employ when you were poorer, to make your initial products.

I don't know how common the undoing of this process is --- yes we spent money stupidly, but now times are tough and we need to cutback, so we will do so through intelligent engineering and product restructuring (rather than layoffs and the rest of it). It doesn't seem to be --- Apple is really the only case I can think of, and that required Jobs to come in with a hatchet, and to have the rest of the company willing to believe in his vision.
Which suggests a gloomy future for MS. Maybe if Bill G returned and pulled a Steve J there's a chance, but I don't see that happening. I think their future is more like IBM --- descent into the irrelevance of enterprise, twenty years or so of extracting money from people who have no choice in the matter, then eventual demise as all those companies you were extracting from gradually manage to move to alternatives.)


RE: Not Windows 8
By FaaR on 8/25/2013 2:01:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How in the hell is Vista your biggest regret? No wonder you're "resigning", you still don't get it.

Oh he gets it alright, don't worry. It's just that Ballmer's PR spinning here; Vista is comfortably far back in the past to be a safe target to lay blame on. He can't poop on win8, because that's the crap his company is currently foisting on people right now, and all they have to offer as well. If he said that win8 was his greatest regret, MS stock would plummet within the hour and he wouldn't have time to retire, he'd get fired first... :D


RE: Not Windows 8
By damianrobertjones on 8/25/2013 3:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
I recall oems shipping Vista with 256Mb ram. MS got the blame for that.


RE: Not Windows 8
By GTVic on 8/25/2013 9:56:26 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe in hindsight but not in reality at the time. Vista 32-bit was a huge bottleneck on the computers of the day.

The transition from XP to Vista was a huge problem for corporate users who saw a significant decrease in performance. You don't get do-overs in the corporate world, once that computer arrives on your desk it stays there for 3-5 years.

Conversely, Windows 7 arrived with proper hardware and 64-bit and the difference was night and day.

Also, lets see how willing you would be to switch from Windows 7 64 down to Vista 32. I didn't think so.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Silver2k7 on 8/29/2013 6:35:30 AM , Rating: 2
"Also, lets see how willing you would be to switch from Windows 7 64 down to Vista 32. I didn't think so."

Why would you ever use Vista 32-bit ??
Got Vista 64-bit with 4GB RAM, was thinking of getting 8GB from the start, but back in 2006 it was kind of overkill.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Donkey2008 on 8/25/2013 11:27:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How in the hell is Vista your biggest regret? No wonder you're "resigning", you still don't get it.

Vista was the birth of Windows 7. It needed a little tuning of superfetch, UAC and third-party drivers, but after that Microsoft had the best OS it has ever produced. Not to mention that Vista also helped make the the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit almost flawless by the time 7 arrived (e.g. gave third-parties time to perfect their 64-bit drivers and applications).

Vista, you did the heavy pulling that made life easier for 7 and 8. Most tech users should appreciate that even if idiot Balmer thinks of you as a bastard child.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Aloonatic on 8/26/2013 4:10:45 AM , Rating: 2
There was a big difference between Vista and Windows 7, a couple of years.

What I never get about people on here is that you just can't get your head around the difference between IT professions/tech junkies and the general public. There are comments on here about how Vista works fine on the 16GB machine. In the vernacular of the unwashed masses. LOL.

Vista was the bringer of change though, and softened the ground/lead the way for Windows 7. I don't think that Windows 7 would have been the success that it was/is if it had followed on directly after Win XP. MS just made a few, but fundamental, mistakes with Vista and the timing wasn't quite right, but I'm sure that it's an OK OS on current machines. Win 7 just looks prettier, and we're all conditioned to prefer pretty.

As for windows 8, I've never used it, so maybe I'm way off base here but I don't know why MS didn't release it as Windows 7.1 Touch or something along those lines as that seems the be the main reason why anyone would want it. Calling it Windows 8 raises expectations high and from what I can tell, it's not really a direct replacement for Windows 7 for all scenarios (i.e. general office PC use) where a lot of people spend most of their time in contact with Windows anyway.


RE: Not Windows 8
By 91TTZ on 8/26/2013 11:02:26 AM , Rating: 2
The only reason he's saying that is because Windows 8 is a current product and he doesn't want to further hurt its reception. But I'm sure after he leaves he'll admit it.


RE: Not Windows 8
By crispbp04 on 8/26/2013 11:04:50 AM , Rating: 2
There is a big difference between a true power user and a wannabe. The average "IT Specialist" hates windows 8 because they likely still look at their keyboard to type, don't know how to use the start key commands, and grossly over-estimate their skill level.

People who "get it" welcome windows 8 for it's performance and feature adds.

I think you're the one who will NEVER "get it".. but that's the reality, the clueless people drive the market.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Chaser on 8/26/2013 10:28:32 PM , Rating: 2
Gotta love all the gloating self-appointed braniacs that believe the liking of Windows 8 is a reflection of their brain power.

Try not over estimating this: Believing Metro suits any level of beneficial use for desktop has nothing to do with your sanctimonious "get it" not get it psychobabble. Its unwanted by most, unnecessary change only for the sake of it, and a worse joke than Vista ever was.



RE: Not Windows 8
By Fritzr on 8/28/2013 11:28:22 AM , Rating: 2
Win8 supports all the legacy keyboard commands from XP, Vista and 7. If there are missing commands it is due to the tied function also being missing...very few.

Like Emac, once you learn the commands you can use them seamlessly across OSes ... though the new shortcuts added to later versions will obviously be missing from older ones :P

Power Users who use the keyboard shortcuts have the easiest time as they don't need to spend as much time learning the new mouse methods.

The "True Power User" using keyboard shortcuts is happy. The people who skipped learning the keyboard shortcuts whether they be Power User or floppy bunnies are the ones complaining the loudest about the interface change due to the need to learn all the new mouse menus.


RE: Not Windows 8
By jayfang on 8/27/2013 5:22:48 AM , Rating: 2
You are right. Vista patched is just about Windows 7, but it was delivered as a dogs breakfast; unfocussed and unfinished.

Windows 8 is at least a tightly delivered concept.

Ballmer values execution over the having the right idea. AFAICT he's always been a manager, not a technical visionary.


RE: Not Windows 8
By Silver2k7 on 8/29/2013 6:46:07 AM , Rating: 2
Vista might have been bad pre-SP1,
but so was 98 pre-98SE, or XP pre-SP1.

8 SP1 (8.1) doesn't fix what most users want.
a way to disable metro and reintroduce the start menu.

If Microsoft would stop being too arrogant to listen to it's customer base.. that would be a good start.


RE: Not Windows 8
By arkov on 8/27/2013 6:11:33 AM , Rating: 2
vista was rushed to the market because ms flushed release of longhorn (follow up to windows xp) is bad timing issues since it was much more of a bigger picture issue rather than just a product standpoint. ms came out with windows xp service pack 2 as a free update instead of releasing longhorn. and from what i understand the problem was follow up to xp was getting overbloated with trying to make a more bloated version of windows xp and going to be another windows me (too bloated, resulting in trying to maintain compatibility with too much stuff, getting securtiy issues and too many crashes), microsoft was too generous and decided to flush the longhorn release and go straight to vista, instead of trying to fix longhorn. this resulted in a huge gap between xp and vista in terms of technology where vista was too ahead of its time targeted for much more powerful hardware and should have been a windows 7 release time window. windows xp sp2 should have been a separate os release (longhorn) with a few features added like media center. ms was just too generous with customers releasing xp sp2 (basically a stripped version of never-released windows longhorn) as a free update, it was quite big update that fixed many many security and stability issues with xp, it lacked new programs but i still think if it was its own separate os relese, ms wasnt in a bad position to rush vista to market because they were draining revenue. its not particular product but the lack of longer term vision that ruined micrsoft. now they try to go mobile, same issues, mobile is just a bad market for microsoft, for a huge company like microsoft they are trying to move it to be more like google, they sacrifice too much of their good potential to make a better operating system instead they try to appeal to another hip, mobile phone crowd, microsofts top priority should be growing their operating system in productive ways, desktop isnt going anywhere its still huge market and remain that way. for me whats the most exiting thing isnt in mobile android and ios, but if i could run full version of windows on those mobile devices, compatiblity with huge library of games and software that came out on windows and dos is the only thing that keeps me from using these tablet and mobile devices. most of those apple store apps are just garbage that clearly just that was made to make some quick money. i think longet term if miscrosoft sticked to its huge library of software and remains firm to be the biggest platform with biggest software library (not breaking older software to have some questionable cosmetic os changes)


RE: Not Windows 8
By arkov on 8/27/2013 6:47:54 AM , Rating: 2
a good move would be to realase windows xp update to try to stick on the mobile devices with lower footprint (retooling windows xp, making it secure), huge amount of people using xp shouldnt be abandoned. they shoot themselves in the foot by not supporting windows xp anymore.


RE: Not Windows 8
By arkov on 8/27/2013 6:58:33 AM , Rating: 2
vista looks like the pinnacle of os evolution since processors are capped at this point until they start making 3d sctructured processors with huge amount of cores, operating system isnt going to evolve much. windows xp is still in huge numbers, there might be some security scares but if so much people still use it its not that bad, what is ms sticked to even updating for example something like win98 to be as secure as possible for mobile phone use instead of cramming vista on those tiny devices and then breaking com[patibility yet again with something like windows rt.


RE: Not Windows 8
By arkov on 8/27/2013 7:00:59 AM , Rating: 2
what i am saying is microsoft isnt using its muscle as much as it could trying to follow other were it could try to stick to its core princioples of app compatiblity


RE: Not Windows 8
By arkov on 8/27/2013 7:11:49 AM , Rating: 2
revenue should be made froom transitioning windows from product to a service instead of having separate os releases.


RE: Not Windows 8
By arkov on 8/27/2013 7:38:17 AM , Rating: 2
linux of course might overtake windows in that case, but i doubt it since so much of software is closed in and linux isnt really going to make it more perople oriented with regards to ease of use. but all in all if windows foer xample turned into some minimal os that you are greeted with a web interface to buy additional services, secuirity wise and just as a longer term viosion is much more productive than having thousands of poeple spending their time on a product with features that gets tossed out the door on the next realese, windows should reamin a core operating system that basically lets you choose which features you want and downloding latest components from the web, less security issues.


RE: Not Windows 8
By arkov on 8/27/2013 7:46:49 AM , Rating: 2
i can only imagine how much headache it takes to review all the software for security issues, herego we have so much updates with windows update.


RE: Not Windows 8
By arkov on 8/27/2013 8:05:17 AM , Rating: 2
of course there is just an issue do we really need so much people working on the next version of something like even media center or wmp or ie, its all free just like vlc so what does it do its not very essential at this point no one is going to use it offline off the bat just to use pc to browse some movies, so even something like windows media player will probably at least gets updated with windows update on first use, and even if its missing, worst case scenario, i still dont really see a point in having so much components that arent core part of os, its less secure, not used by vast majority of people and just all around bad design, dont forget there are still people dedicated to develop all these component that could instead do something more productive like web 2.0 integration of windows. so if we never see another version of windows media player, i highly doubt that it will be the end for all, its just overbloated design from the past where internet never existed. restructure windows to be part of web 2.0, more secure more integrated with internet, move all the people working on offline features like windows media player and other non essential components like that. i bet even if they have no skills in web 2.0 integration, at this point it would still be more productive to get rid of things like windows media player out of the os.


RE: Not Windows 8
By arkov on 8/27/2013 8:14:51 AM , Rating: 2
again its all about moving those people working ion archaic legfacy features and giving the proper time to intergarete windows into web 2.0. not firing them. a team has its limit and with thousands of pople working on windows, all those legacy archaic pre web 2.0 components are dragging the whole team down instead of competing with other companies like google that have all their services highly uptodate and integrated with the web. offline features are dead.


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