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Ballmer Says Microsoft Wasted Time On Vista

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the developers-developers-developers dept.

Microsoft 375

Stoobalou writes "In a chat with fellow CEOs at Microsoft's 14th annual CEO Summit, Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer came close to admitting Vista was a dog. 'How do you get your product right? How do you help the customer? How do you be patient?' he asked, as if he knew the answer. What he did know was that Microsoft spent too many years building Windows Vista. 'We tried too big a task and in the process wound up losing thousands of man hours of innovation,' he said." You can also watch video of the speech, but 31 minutes of Ballmer is a lot of Ballmer.

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Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (-1, Redundant)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277414)

Obvious futility is obvious.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277434)

To be fair though, Vista laid the groundwork for Windows 7, which I have (almost) nothing but praise for...so maybe it was worth it. Besides, just like XP, as Vista got on in age it became much better.

Unlike XP, people won't be using it 9 years after its release...

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (3, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277522)

To be fair though, Vista laid the groundwork for Windows 7

There were a lot of jokes about Vista being a beta for Windows 7. It turns out that Vista inadvertently filled that role. Windows 7 is much better for having Vista taken the beating it did.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (1, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277640)

However it also did change peoples expectations towards security in Windows, which was an important step. People complained about it first, mainly because of the old poorly designed programs. Now all those programs had time to patch up or new ones came to market, so they finally work with the new security model and people aren't saying that Windows broke their programs.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (5, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277550)

There are many things to like about 7, but it retains all the usability regressions of Vista. Microsoft wasn't willing to admit Vista was a mistake, so they weren't willing to fix these issues.

UAC is still annoying to the point that I disable it completely. It still takes me longer to accomplish the same tasks. Aero is nice, but still a pale imitation of Compiz/Kwin. DirectX 11 has been completely ignored by the game industry.

Windows 7 has barfed on my RAID twice.

Once Microsoft's latest release claims it can now support patching without reboots, but literally every patch Tuesday since the first beta have still required reboots.

I run Windows 7 because it is the latest release, but I wouldn't say I have nothing but praise for it.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (0)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277656)

UAC is still annoying to the point that I disable it completely

Seriously? It's much improved over Vista, and there have been two times where it actually has caught some bad joojoo that otherwise may have caused trouble. I don't mind it at all.

DirectX 11 has been completely ignored by the game industry

Would you consider that Microsoft's fault?

I run Windows 7 because it is the latest release, but I wouldn't say I have nothing but praise for it.

If you noticed in my OP, I said almost :-) It's a great update to XP, and a sizable improvement over Vista.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (3, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278084)

UAC is nearly useless. It tells you something is about to do something exceptional, but it doesn't tell you what it is trying to do, or even the exact executable.

As for the Windows 7 UI, it doesn't speed things up for me. With XP I can close windows faster (right click on task button press C, in contrast windows 7 requires additional mouse movement to close the appropriate thumbnailed window - this is slower). I can easily set things up to launch programs or tools by creating folders[1] and short cuts in the start menu (and using Windows Classic Mode).

I use both Windows 7 and XP daily, and Windows 7 isn't more stable, it's actually a disappointment (not as big a disappointment as Vista).

The advantages of Windows 7 appear to be:
1) The per app volume control
2) Better alignment on 4K boundaries (but it's not really XP's fault that new hardware has such issues)
3) Better sandboxing (not that useful to me, since I don't use IE that much, and I run multiple browsers and some as different accounts).
4) Going to be supported for more years
5) Supports the latest DirectX stuff and graphics goodies.

The rest of the stuff just gets in the way of an "advanced" user willing to learn about how best to use the system - I haven't seen any features which actually help such users (the "god mode folder" is cool but it's more like a workaround to Window's 7 "sorry you need more clicks to do stuff now" UI)

[1] For example in Windows 95/2K/XP (and Classic Mode):

Create a folder called "1 Explore" in the start menu directory.
Create shortcuts in "1 Explore":
Name = Target
1 Explore Desktop = %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe , /e, "%USERPROFILE%\Desktop"
2 Explore Home Directory = %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe , /e, "%userprofile%"
3 Explore My Documents = %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe , /e, "%USERPROFILE%\My Documents"
4 Explore Downloads= %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe , /e, "C:\Documents and Settings\_www_username\My Documents\Downloads"
C Explore C = %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe , /e, c:\
D Explore D = %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe , /e, d:\
E Explore E = %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe , /e, e:\
F Explore F = %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe , /e, f:\
etc

Note: _www_username is the name of the user account which my normal browser runs under (this way I already have my own sandboxing) - so even if my browser is pwned the malware cannot access my documents and other stuff.

Once you do this, you can press winkey, 1, 3 to explore My Documents (and you should set up the folder view so that you see the details and not some useless icons, this way you can sort by date, size etc.

winkey, 1, F will start the explorer to explore the F drive

I've also set winkey, 4 to launch the command prompt.

In contrast on Windows 7, winkey+<number> will just launch/foreground the relevant pinned apps or opened apps. That just limits you to just 9 (or 10?) items, there appears no way to set up your windows system to do what I normally do anymore, without resorting to a 3rd party app. Thus Windows 7 is worse for me.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (2, Interesting)

sarkeizen (106737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278092)

Seriously? It's much improved over Vista, and there have been two times where it actually has caught some bad joojoo that otherwise may have caused trouble. I don't mind it at all.

Seriously? You think that security isn't intrusive? Man, talk about naive. When it comes down to it I will always be far, far more surprised at UAC actually stopping something malicious rather than the fact that users complain about it. That's not to say that UAC might still be the RightThing(tm) but that's a completely different argument.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32277740)

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (Score:2, Troll)

who gave sopssa mod points?

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (1)

gaspyy (514539) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277860)

UAC annoying? I can't really believe that.
Commonly, you get the UAC dialog when you install a new program - exactly the way it should be.

Some actions require elevated privileges (like seeing all processes in task manager) but that's it. I hardly see the UAC in Windows 7.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277944)

UAC is still annoying to the point that I disable it completely.

You know, I don't know what you do on a daily basis that UAC is an issue.

I like UAC for the simple reason that 99% of the time I'm not doing anything admin related, and like knowing that I'm not executing in a privileged mode. Occasionally, the UAC thing will pop up because Java or something has decided it wants to update itself and I get to choose when it updates and not it. Without it, I suspect that some bits of software would just update themselves whenever they chose.

Day in and day out, using my machine as a normal desktop, I'm not doing anything that I even bump up against UAC. When I do, I tend to think of it as more like a UNIX su -- I can get the permission if I want it, but I'm not running with that perm at all times, so I'm not potentially dangerous. If I see the prompt, either I just explicitly tried to do something, or something else is trying to do an end-run around me and can't do it without me knowing about it.

Different strokes for different folks, but I've never actually gotten why so many people hate the UAC thing so much -- I only see the prompt about once or twice per week.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278056)

I want to delete a shortcut on MY desktop, which prompts a UAC dialog, which I must address, despite the fact that I'm not changing the desktop for other users. After I confirm that, Windows prompts me yet again, asking if this is something I really want to do.

How can you defend that design?

Unncessary prompts like that just convince people to either turn it off, or just confirm everything.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32278166)

The only (and I mean ONLY) time UAC pops up for doing that on 7 is when the shortcut in question is on the All Users desktop.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32278190)

A lot of installers actually install their desktop icons to the All Users desktop, which is irritating as all fuck. Then you need admin privilege to delete it which invokes UAC. The problem is that the All Users desktop mechanism is opaque to end users, which is just shitty Microsoft standard practice.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (1)

PincushionMan (1312913) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277998)

Windows 7 has barfed on my RAID twice.

What in the world are you feeding your RAID?

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32278040)

So what are you doing wrong with regards to UAC? It does not pop up nearly as much as it did on Vista. in fact, my less tech savvy room mate didn't even notice it was on hardly when he was setting up his gaming rig. Hell, at work we use Windows 7 Enterprise with fairly strict policies and it doesn't get in my way like Vista did. I'm very tempted to believe you haven't actually even used Windows 7 for that statement alone. The fact you've had an issue with your RAID with it reinforces that...

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278144)

I use it daily, and have been using it since the first beta.

I have a hardware RAID that Windows 7 took a crap on. The RAID couldn't repair itself for some crazy reason, and these were brand new hard drives that I had been using less than a month. This is when I discovered that you couldn't do a repair install anymore. This was in the beta days.

I have a copy of Windows 7 Home and Windows 7 Ultimate at home. I run Ultimate on my gaming desktop, and the RAID took a crap once again, which can't repair for some crazy reason. I've replaced the motherboard, and RMAed the hard drive that was supposedly bad. In Linux the two hard drives look the same.

I'm pretty sure the problem is with Windows loading the RAID driver.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (3, Interesting)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277618)

Really the Vista analogue is Win2k. I think that Win2k:XP and Vista:Win7 are very parallel. I don't think people remember how truly awful Win2k was on day one. I installed it the week it was released and it was incompatible with so much of my hardware I was offline for three weeks until I just went back to 98SE (which I used until XP came out).

I also think that XP was just about MS's best OS out of the gate. Yes, it was vulnerable like swiss cheese, but even before SP1 it was otherwise very stable and polished if you could keep the malware at bay.

Vista was utter crap on an unimagined scale. One update screwed my system so bad that every 24-48 hours it would stop handling HTTP, POP, and IMAP, but IRC would still work, as would ICMP. The computer was also being used as a gateway at that time and HTTP requests would work THROUGH it from other computers, but not FROM it. No amount of releasing/renewing the IP, updating drivers/firmware, or bouncing services around had any effect. It had to be restarted a minimum of every two days. This behavior persisted until SP1 came out. Like I said, utter crap.

I still haven't had a chance to try Win7, though from all the positive feedback I definitely will when I get around to my next system overhaul.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (2, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277678)

I still haven't had a chance to try Win7, though from all the positive feedback I definitely will when I get around to my next system overhaul.

As stated above, it certainly has some tweaks that could be used, but overall it's a great operating system.

Amongst many other reasons why, it even boots and runs faster and smoother on my Dell Mini 9 than a stripped down version of XP. Seriously.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (2, Insightful)

rivaldufus (634820) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277726)

I'm not sure I'd classify 2k as the beta for xp. 2000 was definitely the successor to NT 4, and the last version with a distinct workstation variant. I remember being delighted with 2000 server in comparison to NT 4.

Windows ME fills the XP beta position, though. Nearly everyone hated it. It was released after 2000... kind of like how 98 was released after NT 4, which was released after 95. The big difference I see, though, is that it was not NT based. Anyway, people complained about XP for quite a while, too. Not as badly as Vista or ME, though.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277970)

You do realize that Windows 2000 is NT 5.0, and that XP is NT 5.1?

XP is basically 2000 SP5 with a new user interface. That's what makes 2000 the beta run for XP... Windows ME was based on the 9X kernel, meaning that it was really more of a successor to 95/98 than a predecessor to anything that came after it. It can't really be a beta run when it's a completely different UI and kernel...

And like 2000, Vista has gotten a *lot* better with the service packs that've come out since its initial release. It's actually pretty good now, but 7 is significantly better from a user experience/interface standpoint. Just like the 2000/XP difference...

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278120)

2000 was supposed to be XP, everyone was supposed to migrate from 9x to 2000...
That didn't happen, so they released ME which seemed like it's sole purpose was to make the 9x series look as terrible as possible in order to convince people to move to 2000 or xp.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277930)

I was using Windows 2000 in October 1999, months before it was released. I saw several BSOD, but it was still better than Windows 98SE. After Microsoft released IE 5.5, the BSOD disappeared and for the first time I was able to run Windows for weeks at a time with a reboot or crash. Perhaps Windows NT was more stable, but I never used it.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278098)

Some of the beta versions of win2k were really unusable, but i had one of the RC releases and it ran very well on my Thinkpad 600E... When i updated it to the full version, it never seemed to work as well as the RC...

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32277964)

To be fair though, Vista laid the groundwork for Windows 7, which I have (almost) nothing but praise for...so maybe it was worth it.

Windows 7 is an abomination. I actually prefer Vista, since with Vista you can turn off the new display crap and go back to the classic theme.

Both Vista and Windows 7 have the annoying activation technology, which I despise.

Waaaay back in 2001, my company bought some software. Since the IT department is a bunch of packrats, they still have the original CD, the original serial number, and the original purchase receipt. The computer that the software was running on died, so we wanted to install on a new PC.

But the software requires activation. Fortunately the company is still around, but refuses to provide an activation code, even though the company also still has the record of my company buying the software. They want us to buy it again for $1500.

I wanted to sue the bastards, but they offered to reactivate for $100, which was less than the hassle of suing them.

So I refuse software that requires activation.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278228)

Windows 7 is still a bloated pig. Windows 7 only looks "cool" and "sleek" because it was preceded by the hyper-bloated Windows Vista. By any normal comparison, Windows 7 would be called a bloated dog.

Re:Thanks for the insight, Ballmer (1)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278100)

Grind up the video and use it to power 10,000 servers. [slashdot.org]

"Man Hours of Innovation"? Ha. (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277418)

"We tried too big a task and in the process wound up losing thousands of man hours of innovation,"

Boy that word sure doesn't mean jackshit when it just gets thrown around and abused like that, huh? Like watching the word 'fuck' get detoothed in Scorsese's Goodfellas, there's this sort of desensitization toward 'innovation' that leaves me confused as to how I should describe people like Tesla, Turing and Shannon. If Ballmer considers all of his workers as 'innovators' and has "thousands of man hours of innovation" at his disposal then surely there must be some new word to apply to the real innovators. I guess there might be something to the theory that innovation diffuses with time [wikipedia.org] but this is downright ridiculous.

Innovation requires risk and not the kind of risks Microsoft took with their Vista debacle. It requires that you do things entirely differently than everyone else. This is not Microsoft. This is not Windows Vista nor Windows 7 nor IE anything.

Re:"Man Hours of Innovation"? Ha. (5, Funny)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277454)

Boy that word sure doesn't mean jackshit when it just gets thrown around and abused like that, huh? Like watching the word 'fuck' get detoothed in Scorsese's Goodfellas, there's this sort of desensitization toward 'innovation' that leaves me confused as to how I should describe people like Tesla, Turing and Shannon

"Fucking innovative".

You speak as though... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32278034)

"Fucking innovative".

You speak as though "innovation" is a bad thing....

Oh wait! When Balmer says it, it usually is.

Nevermind.

Re:"Man Hours of Innovation"? Ha. (2, Insightful)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277484)

Innovation requires risk and not the kind of risks Microsoft took with their Vista debacle. It requires that you do things entirely differently than everyone else. This is not Microsoft. This is not Windows Vista nor Windows 7 nor IE anything.

Microsoft took a big risk with Longhorn and tried to write pretty much the whole OS in managed code (entirely different to everyone else) and it didn't pay off. Most of the delay came from throwing most of that work away and starting again back in native code.

Re:"Man Hours of Innovation"? Ha. (4, Interesting)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277942)

Longhorn never was a managed code approach, which is still a lofty research goal (and may still be brewing behind the scenes at Microsoft Research through Midori, Barrelfish, and Singularity.)

Longhorn did however try to incorporate a bunch of other research projects right from the get-go, most of which were spun off into individual projects or into existing products. Avalon was supposed to replace winforms, WinFS was supposed to replace NTFS, Palladium was supposed to be incorporated, etc. The development team was spinning their wheels trying to adapt to the latest demand to use the latest research products instead of developing along a stable path. By the time the "reset" came Microsoft had already missed their 3 year OS schedule and it was going to take another 3 to turn Longhorn into a releasable product. While many user applications (Explorer, for example) were partially rewritten in .NET, they represented only a small portion of the total code.

Windows 7 by comparison was released with teams focusing on milestones internally and not releasing or demonstrating any not-done-yet feature. Essentially each feature that a team proposed was a patchset on the Windows build and they would test it but if it did not make the cut, they didn't apply the patch to the milestone build. The Engineering Windows 7 blog goes into great detail about the development process that was vastly improved over Windows Vista's.

Re:"Man Hours of Innovation"? Ha. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32278012)

Rewriting your OS in manage code isn't innovative, it's stupid. And even if it wasn't it would be a novelty, maybe, but still not innovative. Innovation means breaking new ground, not just reapplying what you already knew. Operating System + managed code != innovation.

Re:"Man Hours of Innovation"? Ha. (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278114)

Microsoft took a big risk with Longhorn and tried to write pretty much the whole OS in managed code (entirely different to everyone else) and it didn't pay off. Most of the delay came from throwing most of that work away and starting again back in native code.

Or, perhaps more accurately, of throwing away your whole codebase halfway through and restarting, and still expecting to meet your original deadline. If you expected it to take 4 years (for example), and find out your first year did nothing, you're now trying to complete a 4 year project in 3. Is it any wonder Vista had such difficulty?

Re:"Man Hours of Innovation"? Ha. (5, Insightful)

daffmeister (602502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277526)

It's amazing how programmed the top brass at Microsoft are to including this word "innovation" in every speech. I've hardly heard a pronouncement over the last ten years, particularly from Ballmer, and before him Bill Gates, that doesn't feature this word prominently.

I think it all kicked off when they were being hauled over the coals by the EU and threatened with anti-trust action in the US. They then decided that they had to give a better image of actually doing something worthwhile.

Of course, as you note, they are (given their R&D resources) about the most un-innovative company you could imagine.

Re:"Man Hours of Innovation"? Ha. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32278054)

as opposed to "magical", "revolutionary", "great", "awesome", "phenomenal", etc...?

Re:"Man Hours of Innovation"? Ha. (1)

AndersBrownworth (448236) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277638)

The reason there are no "thousands of man hours of innovation" within Microsoft is because the culture is not conducive to innovation so the innovators don't show up in the first place. I'd work there if Ballmer could guarantee me cover when innovation actually happens.

Re:"Man Hours of Innovation"? Ha. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32277792)

You're thinking of invention, or inventiveness.
Something is inventive when it is new and has not been done before, as opposed to something being innovative when it is an improvement over something that previously exists - An incremental upgrade can be innovative, while not inventive, something that is inventive, however, is by definition, also innovative.

It requires that you do things entirely differently than everyone else.

No, that would be inventiveness.

nor IE anything.

I would say that introducing XMLhttpRequest something like 10 years before anyone else (circa IE 4-5), you know the thing that's at the heart of this whole ajax/web2.0 nonsense can be considered inventive.

But hey, very few people are inventive, innovation on the other handf isn't all that uncommon. Then again, there are those non-innovative/non-inventive people who cry bloody murder over how pantens supposedly cripple innovation (by which they usually mean inventiveness) because patents prevent them from using somebody else's idea (you'd think a mechanism which forces someone to conceive a new method for something would actually, by definition, encourage innovation, but I digress).

Yeah, it's fun and trendy to rag on Microsoft, but few in the oss/slashdot/linux circle seem to even know what the word means.

Re:"Man Hours of Innovation"? Ha. (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277960)

Semantics

Re:"Man Hours of Innovation"? Ha. (2, Insightful)

eagee (1308589) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278124)

But it was Windows - remember when everyone thought it was just a fad?

Microsoft is still way behind (2, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277448)

windows 7 is nice, but the cool things now are cell phones and tablets. for that you need a mobile OS with a footprint of under 1GB. Windows Phone 7 is still months away and a few years behind iPhone OS and Android.

Re:Microsoft is still way behind (4, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277568)

Supposedly they designed Windows 7 with tablets in mind and added multi-touch support. However the only company I know that was working on a Windows 7 tablet (HP) has since dropped Windows 7, and instead bought out Palm so they could get WebOS.

Re:Microsoft is still way behind (3, Informative)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277588)

how big was the footprint? even if they got it down to 5GB - 10GB it's still too much when iphone OS is 500MB or less and does most things people want in a tablet

Re:Microsoft is still way behind (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277918)

Why do you expect Windows Mobile 7 to have a 10GB footprint?

Re:Microsoft is still way behind (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277650)

windows 7 is nice, but the cool things now are cell phones and tablets. for that you need a mobile OS with a footprint of under 1GB.

Or a bigger phone.

Like, sleve sized, phone.

A one foot wide phone, attached to your arm. running W7.

Carefully directing the exhaust from the cooling system, it could double as a jet pack.

Re:Microsoft is still way behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32277772)

condom sized would be neat.

Re:Microsoft is still way behind (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277702)

windows 7 is nice, but the cool things now are cell phones and tablets. for that you need a mobile OS with a footprint of under 1GB. Windows Phone 7 is still months away and a few years behind iPhone OS and Android.

Are you saying they should stop making Windows 7 and PC's just because cell phones and tablets are somehow "cool" things now? I'd like to keep my computer, if you don't mind.

Re:Microsoft is still way behind (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277764)

microsoft became big by starting in the cheapo PC market and working their way up. PC's were cheap crap in the 1980's compared to the cool workstations and mainframes. same thing with tablets and phones. for now they don't do as much but in 10-15 years the technologies will improve and who ever gains the marketshare today will rule in the future. I personally prefer Apple's fat client over Google's cloud model, but they are way ahead of MS in the mobile space

Re:Microsoft is still way behind (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278196)

microsoft became big by starting in the cheapo PC market

If you're referring to DOS/Windows, I'm pretty sure it was just the IBM-compatible PC market back there... as opposed to the Mac (that they developed Multiplan/Excel for), mainframes, and minicomputers. Their OSes work just fine on the i686 PCs of today, too.

However, embedded devices are an entirely different class of device, one that MS doesn't have much market penetration in.

Re:Microsoft is still way behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32278006)

I disagree. With internal memory being so cheap these days, footprint isn't a huge deal. A few years behind iPhone and Android? Are you talking about features or are you talking about years actually on the market? WebOS has iPhone and Android beat out on features, and it's only been to the market for a year. If you want to think like that, OSX is SOO far behind Windows 3.1....why even try? I won't even talk about DOS...

Windows 7 honestly isn't much of a slouch either. The new interface just makes sense and the software isn't a slouch either.

"31 minutes of Ballmer is a lot of Ballmer" (5, Funny)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277476)

Way too much Ballmer, I'd say.

I'd contend that they wasted everyone's time on it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32277482)

And they only sort of cleaned things up with 7. Keep solidly in mind that 7 is nothing more than what Vista probably ought to have shipped with in the first place. Keep solidly in mind that it's NOT any more secure than XP (if you tell yourself that it is, keep deluding yourself...helps all the botnets...). If Ballmer was honestly interested in "innovation", he should have risked quite a bit more than he did with Vista- for all the issues, etc. they had, they could have gotten further along by taking a *BSD or Linux core and slapping a WINE-like application layer composed of the app framework that everyone calls "Windows" and would have gotten further and better as a result. Strangely, I think it'd taken less time than Vista took as well- but that's just a personal observation, and nothing more...

Change for the sake of change (5, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277494)

Innovation? Part of the big problem was that there weren't killer features worth upgrading for. You could cite Aero, but it was a massive resource hog and is chasing the tail of Mac OS X and Linux. It wasn't innovation.

In so many areas Vista made needless changes that weren't improvments or innovations. It seems like they had no direction and needed to shuffle things around enough to convince people this was a new Windows release.

Windows Repair Install is gone with no apparent reason.

Every major ocnfiguration dialog is moved to another location. You need more clicks to accomplish the same tasks. This was a major usability regression with no apparent reason.

Vista's failure was because Microsoft had no idea what it wanted Vista to be. It is a failing of leadership. Leadership also failed in not reaching out to hardware manufacturers and working closer with them. ATI and NVidia had trouble working with the new Vista driver API (which was a mess). OEMs had trouble figuring out what exactly constituted "Vista capable" hardware.

It isn't because you spent too much innovating. It is because you spent too much time running around in circles.

Re:Change for the sake of change (5, Insightful)

gclef (96311) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277606)

Vista's failure was because Microsoft had no idea what it wanted Vista to be.

I disagree. They knew exactly what they wanted Vista to be: Longhorn. They just couldn't pull it off, so we got Vista instead.

Re:Change for the sake of change (4, Insightful)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277788)

I was just about to reply with the same comment. There were clear goals expounded throughout almost a decade of vaporware announcements of NT, Chicago, and then Longhorn. The problem was that they couldn't get most of it to work properly, while the landscape of real innovation kept changing around them. To "adapt", they kept adding more and more items to their extensive promised features list, and it all came crumbling down eventually when they realized that six years have gone by from their last major release and the world was not holding its breath anymore.

Then Vista was put together by salvaging some parts and adding some shiny chrome, just to fill up the gaping void in their product line. No wonder it seems inconsistent and lacking of a coherent vision or direction--it barely had any of either.

      -dZ.

Re:Change for the sake of change (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277628)

That's pretty much the problem Vista had: No reason to use it.

Win95 was a leap ahead. From DOS and Win3.11. Sure, it was still kinda-sorta DOS-with-some-GUI under the hood, but it was the first time that the whole "DOS stuff" was neatly tucked away, not to be seen by the average user.

Win98 was the next big leap, a stable Win95, plus a few goodies, better networking, more out-of-the-box support for more hardware, more of everything.

W2k was the fusion of the NT line with the 9x line, the combination of the "office" and "game" areas, stability and compatibility. Plus USB support for the NT line.

XP was ... well, mostly flashy and gadget-y, but also much easier networking, better (and out of the box) WiFi support, smoother installation and better security (no, really. Not perfect, but certainly better).

Vista was ... well, new. And ... well, slower. And ... well, why the heck would I wanna use it? Even if I'm just in for the eye candy, Aero is not the big leap ahead in that area (and only available in the more expensive variants no Joe Randomuser ever buys).

Re:Change for the sake of change (1)

Exitar (809068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277782)

What is Seven?

Re:Change for the sake of change (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278112)

Seven is Vista with a small part of bugs fixed. There's no compelling reason to use it over XP, if you really need to use Windows.

And you forgot about Vista's main new features: DRM, Protected Media Path, trusted computing.

Re:Change for the sake of change (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32277828)

Aero was available in every version of Vista except Starter (and starter could only be purchased in "emerging markets"). Home, Home Premium, etc. all had Aero. Vista when it shipped at RTM (SP0) was awful enough without revisionist history. By the time it got to SP2, it was (and is) fine. We've now got Vista deployed on 75,000 of our 90,000 machines and it is doing very well. But we couldn't deploy it at RTM because of all the issues.

Re:Change for the sake of change (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278074)

A lot of "Vista ready" PCs didn't support Aero. It was a bit of a debacle, because in most people's eyes Vista=Aero. The common person has no idea what other differences there are, just that everything was clear black instead of bright blue.

Re:Change for the sake of change (2, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278246)

Aero was available in every version of Vista except Starter (and starter could only be purchased in "emerging markets"). Home, Home Premium, etc. all had Aero.

Actually, Home Basic didn't have Aero. That was the major difference between Home Basic and Home Premium.

Re:Change for the sake of change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32277674)

You could cite Aero, but it was a massive resource hog and is chasing the tail of Mac OS X and Linux.

PLEASE put down the crack pipe if you think MS was "chasing the tail" of Linux in the UI category. Linux generally beats MS in the server arena, but OS X was the driver for Aero, nothing in the Linux world. There's some flashy stuff in the Linux UI world, but let's be serious, lots (not all, but lots) of THAT is based on Apple's work.

Re:Change for the sake of change (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277758)

Not exactly.

Initially, Microsoft had a grand vision of a new operating system, built on managed technologies, declarative UI, semantic filesystem, transparent integration of different services, etc. It was a grand plan and quite innovative. Unfortunately, technology just wasn't there. .NET was in its infancy and the staggering amount of completely new interdependent modules was just too much to swallow.

So MS had to scale back everything, and quite quickly. So Vista came out very unpolished and raw. Windows 7 is really what Vista should have been if MS hadn't diverted three years to pie-in-the-sky projects.

Innovation (5, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277496)

We tried too big a task and in the process wound up losing thousands of man hours of innovation

You wasted thousands of man-hours of innovation, but not for the reasons you think. You run a company with a long history and well-known culture of quashing real innovation (because, let's all be honest, Microsoft is big enough with enough smart people working there that real good ideas do see development - they just never seem to see release...). The development teams are so political (with the Office team at the top of the heap, as I understand it) resulting in corporate politics determining what ideas actually make it to market rather than the merits of the actual idea. How many innovative ideas have been canned by internal policy and infighting?

Vista was a dog but let's not blame Vista for lost man-hours of innovation - look at your corporate culture and you'll find the problem.

Re:Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32277820)

Ballmer runs the company. It is his fault it was delayed. It was his fault not developers at Microsoft. He needs to take ownership of the Vista fiasco. They replaced developers, reworked the same code multiple times, and it was a mess. They had no plan after their first idea didn't work. They weren't given time to finish it. They were rushed.

I feel bad for the developers at Microsoft. That seems wrong.

Re:Innovation (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277830)

Vista was a dog but let's not blame Vista for lost man-hours of innovation - look at your corporate culture and you'll find the problem.

Not a chance without major upheaval in Redmond.

As long as Microsoft is still seen as a good investment (in other words: the stock is either growing or remaining fairly static but returning a good dividend), the investors won't make any serious effort to get Ballmer kicked out - and when was the last time you saw the incumbent CEO who presided over corporate culture going to hell making a serious effort to re-appraise something as fundamental as that? It'd mean admitting that everything he'd stood for for the last 20 years was a load of garbage.

Re:Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32277950)

God, no. You're talking about the wrong problem. Ballmer isn't talking about the final product of Vista so much as the disaster that was early Longhorn. Due to bad internal communication mechanisms, the coders went all over the place and turned it into a gigantic heap of swiss cheese because they didn't have proper repositories back then. That's why there was such a long gap between XP and Vista. It's true that Microsoft is severely hampered by politics and in-fighting, but this isn't a case where that was the primary issue.

Uuuuh it wouldnt be as such if (5, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277502)

you havent whored yourselves out to music and media cartels to accommodate them with their draconian DRM wishes and user control schemes maybe ?

Re:Uuuuh it wouldnt be as such if (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278030)

So how do reconcile such nuttery with the fact that drm-free mp3s and programs like VLC work just fine on Windows 7?

It doesn't seem all that draconian.

Takes microsoft years to realize (2, Insightful)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277510)

What everyone else knew in minutes

Waste? (0, Redundant)

Parker Lewis (999165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277512)

I'm not a Microsoft employee, but Win 7 is hardly based on Vista, and 7 is a success (in the market). So, maybe Vista was not a success on the market, but provided the common base for 7.

Re:Waste? (1)

mrpacmanjel (38218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277608)

"..Win 7 is hardly based on Vista.."

What the hell is it based on then?

Linux, freeBSD, DOS 3.31?

Re:Waste? (1)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277626)

What criteria are you using to label Vista's performance in the market as successful? I'm not implying otherwise, just requesting clarification.

Its not just Microsoft (5, Funny)

rolfc (842110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277536)

I have wasted a lot of time on Vista as well.

Re:Its not just Microsoft (1)

leonardofelin (1211778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277720)

I have wasted a lot of time on Slashdot as well.

Worse is... I'll waste a lot more time on Slashdot as well.

How do you be patient? (4, Funny)

Alien1024 (1742918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277578)

How do you be patient?

I can has patience? I had a patience but grammar eated it.

Re:How do you be patient? (1)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278104)

No, me doctor, you patient, she nurse.

Waste of time yes.. but of good ol' money? (3, Insightful)

cpscotti (1032676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277580)

Ok.. that sure was a "waste of time" but microsoft DID get huge loads of money from people buying the SAME software twice!
For lame windows users that was a waste of their money indeed!

Vista scrapped a lot (4, Interesting)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277598)

Longhorn as it was called during its development scrapped some functionality during its development cycle. (It even got so much redefined that it was renamed from blackcomb to longhorn)

One very noteworthy is that everything was supposed to run on top of winFS, a database instead of a file system. On a lot of tools this was never completed. Also there would be more diversification between server and client versions. But as you know server and client diversification OS versions in vista/server 2008 are the same as XP/server 2003 edition.

But this just seems normal in any development process. In Unbunto you also see software tools that are no longer in the main package after a couple of years. If you knew what would be important in 4 or 5 years you could do optimal development, but the reality is that nobody can see that much in the future.

short memories (4, Informative)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277602)

For those who've forgotten, the project that resulted in the Vista release was reset at least once. Remember Longhorn? From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

Faced with ongoing delays and concerns about feature creep, Microsoft announced on August 27, 2004 that it was making significant changes. "Longhorn" development basically started afresh, building on the Windows Server 2003 codebase, and re-incorporating only the features that would be intended for an actual operating system release.

Windows 7 is still a dog. (3, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277610)

I dont think Windows 7 is any better than Windows Vista. Marginally faster compared to Vista but being faster than Vista is like winning special olympics, youre still a retard.

Microsoft has no connection whatsoever with their users and thats where their real problem lies. Their users wants their OS to run their applications as good as possible and make managing the computer easy. Microsoft wants the OS to be the users primary application. Jumping up and down in your users face screaming for attention when their primary goal is using their apps arent productive.

Until Microsofts leadership realizes their customers are their end users Windows will continue to suck as bad as ever.

Re:Windows 7 is still a dog. (1)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277824)

I'm not sure what your definition of "easy" is of course.
But pressing the winkey, start typing a name or command and pressing enter to launch about anything you can think of in Win7 is "easy" in my book.

Yes there are shitloads of configuration options but for most users Win7 is ready to go right out of the box. They've done a really good job with that.

Re:Windows 7 is still a dog. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278108)

"But pressing the winkey, start typing a name or command and pressing enter to launch about anything you can think of in Win7 is "easy" in my book."

If you know exactly what app you want yes, but its really not any better than opening up a terminal window and writing the app name.

Windows 7 is not any easier to use for a newbie than windows 3.11. Ive been along since Windows 3.11 and i think some things are really much harder to do in Windows 7. Its different, not better.

"Yes there are shitloads of configuration options but for most users Win7 is ready to go right out of the box. They've done a really good job with that."

Thats not my perception, most users come to me and want a boatload of help getting even basic stuff working as they are used to them. Newbies seems most put off by the dice arranged interface.

Re:Windows 7 is still a dog. (1)

MrTripps (1306469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277948)

I wouldn't say Windows 7 is a dog. It does still have its flaws. For example, why in the name of Zeus's butthole can an administrator not open C:\Documents and Settings through explorer? Yes, its easy enough to get around, but FFS...

Re:Windows 7 is still a dog. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32278162)

Because user profiles are in C:\Users\ and not C:\Documents and Settings\

Troll harder next time.

Re:Windows 7 is still a dog. (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278008)

Microsoft wants the OS to be the users primary application. Jumping up and down in your users face screaming for attention when their primary goal is using their apps arent productive.

Alas I've already commented in this thread or I'd mod you insightful. But this is exactly the point - it's something Apple fully understands, something that Linux vendors don't seem too sure about and something that Microsoft completely fails to understand.

The job of the operating system is to set everything up so it works then get the hell out of the way so the user can get on with doing what they want. As soon as the OS gets in the way, it's Doing It Wrong.

Somehow or other Microsoft's Office team does seem to have broadly figured that one out - while the new interface to Office does tend to engender feelings of "love it or hate it", at least it was developed with an understanding that people don't buy software in order to spend all day wrestling with the user interface. I would say Win7 is heading in that direction (I actually think there are quite a few significant improvements over XP, though they still haven't grasped the idea that if you can't be sure that everything will JFW, about the worst thing you can do is pretend it JFW and provide no hint anywhere as to why it patently doesn't), but still has a way to go.

Re:Windows 7 is still a dog. (1)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278052)

Microsoft is faced with the necessity of branding their OS as 'new' and 'sexy', in the face of Appl's OS which is heavily advertised as 'new' and 'sexy'. Usability wise, the Apple desktop is actually a step backward from the Windows interface (but at least it has unix underneath for gearheads). Windows 7 removes some of the more egregious intrusions, but Slashdot isn't the primary customer of Windows -- the 100 million+ retail consumers deciding between a macintosh or a PC are the primary focus of the bells and whistles.

Re:Windows 7 is still a dog. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32278146)

I think Vista is pretty ok, in particular when you compare it to the current Wine implementation of the Windows API [winehq.org] or the early KDE 4 [kde.org] . E.g. the VISTA panel never crashes while it occasionally happens to Plasma [kde.org] .

Re:Windows 7 is still a dog. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32278218)

The only "man hours" Microsoft wasted on Vista were marketing man-hours. The primary "victory" of Windows 7 is primarily in marketing. THIS time the cheque reached the trade rags on time so they could produce their gushing, glowing reviews about how great Windows 7 is. Vista, by contrast, was probably the FIRST Windows since pre-3.1 that caused the incredibly biased trade rags to say "Uuuuh...this kind of sucks."

If anything, Vista is an example of how Windows would be seen without the astroturfing and payola in the media.

NT3.1 was crap, 98 was crap, 2000 was crap... (0, Troll)

Tomsk70 (984457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277662)

MS always take two goes to make a new OS - but apparently, this is somehow news

Right, silverlight. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32277698)

I refuse to install moonlight to watch Ballmer.

Watching Balmer (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32278138)

I refuse to install moonlight to watch Ballmer.

I find myself needing to "install" some moonshine before I can handle watching Ballmer.

According to Linus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32277716)

Operating system innovation basically stopped in the 70s. Today, its just a tuning of features and applications outside of the operating system realm. So long as an operating system today can do things like mount industry standard local and remote filesystems (things like iso images, NFS, etc), can get on the internet (preferably w/o the necessity of 3rd party applications to keep your computer working), have a fairly consistent and usable UI and extensibility via scripting and programming, and of course play games!!! Then your OS is ready for 2010.

I've heard that Windows is great at playing games.

I think it worked perfectly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32277754)

Vista worked perfectly - to get people to buy 7, just like New Coke got people to buy Classic Coke.

Disclaimer: I just installed Vista 2 weeks ago after having the free upgrade discs sitting around for years. After 2 days worth of non-stop updating I have to say it works almost as well as the RC 7 I'd been using previsouly.

Well, DUH (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277768)

Through all the marketing hype around Vista, you heard the voice of the few reviewers that MS forgot to buy: Vista? Why bother?

Vista was, next to Win95, the maybe most hyped OS ever. Even Apple, in all its ability to hype and market their products, could not hold a candle to the amount of time and money pumped into advertising Vista. But while the hype of Win95 came from the users, from people who never used or owned a computer but still just "had to have it", and where Apple manages to motivate its die hard users to work as their mouthpiece, Vista's hype was a lonely cry from MS alone. Partly, of course, this is due to MS being held in fairly low esteem by geeks around the globe (compared to Apple, who do have a fair amount of fans in the geek community, especially the very outspoken geek community, who fill blogs and review pages with their experience and joy they have from their latest Apple tool), but mostly it is simply due to Vista not performing well.

First, it did not offer anything really genuinely "new". There was no "wow, look at that! Never seen that before!" part of Vista. Every piece of Apple hard- or software so far always came with something "new". Some trick, some gadget, or maybe just some neat toy that was something to talk about in your review. Even if you never used it again after the novelty factor wore off. But it was something you could talk about. Something you could write about. Something you could review and say "hey, they invented something again". No such thing for Vista. You could basically just say "Well... it looks different ... and some of the menues are different ... oh, and hey, you can now simply search for your program instead of having to look for it in the program manag... oh, wait, no, Apple did that first... Umm.. yeah, but it's new on Windows!"

That doesn't pull people in. That's not attractive. And neither is offering the only eye candy feature (i.e. Aero) only to the upper price segments. Eye candy is what could have convinced Joe Randomuser, but he WILL NOT buy an "Enterprise" or "ultimate" edition! Talking about segmented systems, how many were there? 10 different versions? More? I don't remember, to be honest, but how should anyone but the most interested enthusiast know what version he needs? People, there's a reason why a car manufacturer only offers a handful of models per year and some extras to tack on (just to get a car analogy into the diatribe here). Because people do not want to spend hours trying to figure out what version they wanna buy! It's nice of MS to offer its users that choice, but the users don't even WANT that many choices. Even most Linux distros noticed that by now and offer a standard package that fits most users who don't want to bother sifting through the hundreds of options. Take a standard package, tack a few things you might want additionally to it and off you go!

Vista was more a marketing blunder than a "bad" OS. Ok, granted, it wasn't the best OS or the most "expected" OS MS ever built. No, it was not the worst, that spot is still occupied by ME. If MS should learn anything from Vista, then that it's not enough to pump a few million bucks into the PR and marketing machine to make people want an OS.

Vista tightened rules against bad drivers (1)

GreenPlantAtWork (1804854) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277794)

I didn't like Windows Vista because it was bloated and heavy, but I remember (back then)that we had to update our in-house kernel driver because it was so badly written. The driver SDK that came with Vista complained a lot more about bad driver code programming and, I think, helped elevate the drivers quality overall. You also had to have your driver signed on 64 bit editions. I think that's a plus for Vista, and helped pave the road for better drivers (from 3rd party hardware developers) for the release of Windows 7.

How do you get your product right? (4, Funny)

oldmeddler (1614805) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277802)

Maybe Ballmer should ask Mark Shuttleworth.

Vista was a joke (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32277856)

Vista was one of the biggest pieces of crap I ever used. The worst part about it is that it was shoved down your throat in all new PC purchases. Thankfully I built my own desktop, but when I purchased a laptop I didnt have a choice and got stuck with Vista. That being said, Windows 7 is a pretty good OS, but I don't know if it forgives Vista.

%s/Vista/Windows/g (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32278048)

:)

Innovation? (5, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 4 years ago | (#32278150)

"We tried too big a task and in the process wound up losing thousands of man hours of innovation,"

.

Since when has Microsoft started to innovate? Outside of innovation in pushing the legalities of leveraging its monopoly, that is.

Everytime I read Ballmer talking about Microsoft innovation, I come away with the opinion that he is trying more to convince himself that Microsoft actually innovates (it doesn't), than he is trying to convince others.

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