The Ex-MS supremo found Windows "unusable". But which version?
Court cases can be long, expensive and extremely tedious affairs -- just ask Take Two Interactive, or for that matter, SCO. The one thing that they do leave behind (aside from mountains of lawyer's bills) are paper trails, as everything that could possibly be delivered in evidence is delivered, documented, and stored somewhere.
That was exactly the case in Microsoft's Anti-Trust lawsuit in the EU, which saw the company deliver a large quantity of company emails into the realm where journalists could draw their eyes over them. And, most likely, fall asleep. But for those hacks with plenty of patience, there are gems to be found. And that's exactly what SeattlePI's Todd Bishop found when trawling through some of Bill Gates' inter-MS communications from 2003.
He uncovered an email from Gates where he rips apart Windows in rather excruciating detail, for the instability of the experience, and the difficulty in adding on additional Windows software modules. We won't reprint the entire e-mail here -- you can get to SeattlePI's article by clicking here
, which includes the email and Gates' surprising modern day response to it. But we can't resist cherry-picking out a few key quotes:Regarding Microsoft.com "This site is so slow it is unusable."Also regarding Microsoft.com "So they told me that using the download page to download something was not something they anticipated. "On rebooting: "Then it told me to reboot my machine. Why should I do that? I reboot every night -- why should I reboot at that time?"On installing applications (in this case, MovieMaker) "Amazing how slow this thing is."On interface design: "This time I get dialogs saying things like "Open" or "Save". No guidance in the instructions which to do. I have no clue which to do."Post-install: "Someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable?"Bill's final word on MovieMaker: "What an absolute mess."Bill's Final Word:
'"The lack of attention to usability represented by these experiences blows my mind."
While it's somewhat refreshing to see Bill Gates suffering through the same problems that many Windows users face on a day to day basis, it's worth bearing in mind the context of this email, and specifically, which version of Windows Gates is talking about.
He's referencing Windows XP, largely held to be the best overall version of Windows Microsoft ever released, and a version so popular that both consumers and enterprise customers are scrambling right now to get it on their machines, even if they have to pay additional fees to do so.
Which begs the question: If the CEO of your company sends an email that stringent about an operating system that a lot of people love, how exactly do you get from there to Windows Vista?