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Microsoft

How Microsoft Has Changed Without Bill Gates 493

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the borg-icon-still-stands dept.
mightysquirrel writes "It's been a year since Bill Gates left Microsoft in his official capacity. At the time many speculated his departure would spark a significant shift in Redmond. But how much has really changed during Microsoft's first year without Gates?"
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How Microsoft Has Changed Without Bill Gates

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  • How soon we forget (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2009 @09:39AM (#28635567)

    Yeah, yeah, I know, I'll be lynched for saying that Bill "I am Satan" Gates should be on par with RMS, ESR and Linus, but think about this for a second.

    Bill founded what is now the largest software company in the world, and wether or not you agree with him, he has made a important contribution to the computing industry: Microsoft brought desktop computing to the home user.

    Now, be honest. How many of us had our first computer experience with MS-DOS or Windows 3.1? Do you think that if computers still consisted on thin-client-server models based on huge VAX mainframes, that Joe and Jane Smith would be able to dial-in to AOL and connect to thousands of people around the world? Would the Internet have blossomed into the vast information network it is today without the aid of easy-to-use software from Microsoft? How about Grandma who wants to set up a webcam so she can chat with her grandchildren? She doesn't want to have to sit and hack kernels for hours. She wants Plug-and-Play, baby.

    Look, disagree all you like, but thanks to things like Windows, Office, and MSN, modern computing has been made easy and affordable to everyone, thanks to pioneers like Bill Gates.

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @09:54AM (#28635757)
      Sure, back before the mid '90s Microsoft was an ok company. Sure, most of their software was unstable, but it kinda got the job done. But you are forgetting the browser wars, you forgot the end product of them which was IE6, the browser that made the web effectively unchanged for many years. The browser that opened the world up to every sort of malware out there. Or what about the pain of Windows 9X that bluescreened for no reason? MS in its early days did a lot to help out the computer industry in some ways, however, they also hurt a lot of computer industries. Today, they are very little helpful and a whole lot more harmful.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        IE6 remained unchanged because all of Microsoft's competitors gave up. It's the same reason that, for example, PowerPoint has been so stagnant in the last few years-- Microsoft doesn't bother committing resources to products that have no competition. (Indeed, why should they?)

        If you want good Microsoft software, *compete* with them.

      • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @11:50AM (#28637625) Homepage Journal

        I think IE6 is more evil for this reason: it pulled a significant part of the web away from being software/OS agnostic and made Windows a requirement. Like Windows or not this has made the web *significantly* less universal and has slowed it down. The web is still a powerful force, but if web pages (and web aps) would actually run anywhere, it would be *even more* significant to our day to day computing than it is now.

        IE8 proves the point... Microsoft really tries to comply with standards and everything breaks. IE6 and non-compliance with standards is going to be a significant negative chapter in Microsoft history and we'll still be feeling the effects a decade from now at least.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GigsVT (208848)

        You are forgetting that Novell is like 100 times better than what MS replaced it with.

        Everyone mostly forgets that one.

      • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:45PM (#28638341) Homepage Journal

        MS in its early days did a lot to help out the computer industry in some ways

        I disagree.

        I remember in 1991, I purchased a NeXTstation. It had a beautiful, usable GUI layered over a powerful multitasking Unix operating system, with development tools that were not rivaled on any platform until at least a decade later. Meanwhile, at work I used Windows for Workgroups 3.11, an ugly, unstable DOS shell. My employer considered NeXTs (and did buy a few), but based on Microsoft's promises for the upcoming OS/2 decided to stick with Windows.

        Then there was the OS/2 debacle. IBM and MS were jointly building a great (for the time) OS, but MS bailed and then killed OS/2 with its promises of "Cairo". What they actually delivered was Windows 95, which was hugely better than WfW, but still fell far, far short of what OS/2 delivered, much less what Cairo promised. None of which held a candle to NeXTstep, of course.

        Along the way, MS stomped lots of innovative products from other companies. Consider DR-DOS, Quarterdesk, Stacker, etc.. There were dozens of small companies doing interesting things that MS squashed or bought, and then shelved their work.

        While at it, Microsoft produced essentially ZERO innovation of their own. Their modus operandi was to wait for others to do interesting things and then buy or copy them. That's fine, but they earned a reputation for playing hardball and forcing unfair, one-sided deals that left the actual innovators out in the cold. I know personally of several potential startups with innovative ideas who decided not to create their products because the potential founders were sure MS would just squash them before they could make a profit. I'm sure that story was repeated hundreds or thousands of times, and the net effect seriously retarded the progress of the software industry.

        Contrast that with Google, or IBM, or any of the other large players. Heck, a common Silicon Valley *business plan* is to create a web startup, develop it to prove out the ideas, then sell out to Google and walk away millionaires (or billionaires). That encourages innovation, because Google makes fair offers for the companies it buys.

        Above all, Microsoft has for years trained users to accept buggy, insecure, crash-prone software as the norm, and acceptable. They have gotten much better of late, and Microsoft's R&D department has produced some great stuff in the last few years, but it will take a long time before they can do enough good to compensate for all of the damage they did in the past. If ever.

        • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @01:22PM (#28638891)

          MS in its early days did a lot to help out the computer industry in some ways

          I disagree.

          I remember in 1991, I purchased a NeXTstation. It had a beautiful, usable GUI layered over a powerful multitasking Unix operating system, with development tools that were not rivaled on any platform until at least a decade later. Meanwhile, at work I used Windows for Workgroups 3.11, an ugly, unstable DOS shell. My employer considered NeXTs (and did buy a few), but based on Microsoft's promises for the upcoming OS/2 decided to stick with Windows.

          The NeXTstation was $5000. The x86 competition was a lot cheaper. If your company and every other company got NeXTstationsm, today we would still have one vendor selling maybe $2000 computers and computing and internet wouldn't have had taken off like they did. Today Apple buys CPUs from Intel and GPUs from Nvidia and ATI alternatively and gets hardware for less. Would those companies even have existed if MS didn't license DOS to Compaq first and the rest later? I doubt it. Open competition in the hardware market would've been squished and computers would have been super expensive.

          • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @01:39PM (#28639163) Homepage Journal
            I wasn't arguing that we'd have been better off if NeXT had ruled the world. I was arguing that we'd have been better off if Microsoft hadn't dominated it, teaching everyone to expect crappy software.
            • by epine (68316)

              I was arguing that we'd have been better off if Microsoft hadn't dominated it, teaching everyone to expect crappy software.

              Interesting, if not particularly insightful. And potentially naive.

              It's quite possible that during the exponential phase of the PC revolution, that "race to the bottom" was the dominant economic paradigm, and the winner, whoever it turned out to be, was the corporation to first or most deeply grasp this central economic fact.

              To make this discussion concrete, IMO the exponential adoption phase concerns the period of time from the early 386 through to a low-end Athlon running Windows 2000.

              Prior to the 386, p

        • by phoenix321 (734987) * on Thursday July 09, 2009 @01:26PM (#28638951)
          Maybe that's the real point where Microsoft is to blame: setting a world-wide standard for low quality software, damaging expectations well beyond the OS market up to the point where no customer is allowed to expect software that works flawlessly. It's in every software-for-hire contract, in every EULA, everywhere: software cannot be expected to work without occasionally but serious bugs. The problem is not that the software industry states that, but that all customers accept that without a second thought, because they never experienced software that did not crash sometimes. Because of this, we have grown accustomed to paying for software at a quality level we would sue the pants and cry havoc, pitchfork and torches for every other manufacturer in every other trade. But for software, even catastrophic blunders, we simply breathe deeply, reboot and curse silently. There were games that on a vanilla standard Windows installation did nothing but crash until a month and well over five emergency patches. Sure, people were clamoring in every forum for a fix, but almost no one returned the product as utterly defective, reclaiming money and compensation for efforts. There are games that NEVER worked but people still tried for months to fix them, producing unofficial patches or similar. No one would ever bother for any other stuff defective from-the-factory and I think that's party the fault of Microsoft.
        • by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @01:34PM (#28639081) Homepage Journal

          ... there was the OS/2 debacle. IBM and MS were jointly building a great (for the time) OS, but MS bailed and then killed OS/2 with its promises of "Cairo". What they actually delivered was Windows 95, which was hugely better than WfW, but still fell far, far short of what OS/2 delivered, much less what Cairo promised. None of which held a candle to NeXTstep, of course.

          This shouldn't remind anyone of Vista, or the promises of Windows 7 or the database driven file-system that doesn't exist yet, or what .NET represents. Not at all :-).

          Along the way, MS stomped lots of innovative products from other companies. Consider DR-DOS, Quarterdesk, Stacker, etc.. There were dozens of small companies doing interesting things that MS squashed or bought, and then shelved their work.

          When people ask me why I dislike Microsoft, the above sums it up -- Microsoft took perfectly good innovations that were designed to work alongside their own products, and quashed them (often illegally or under false pretences). By the time the court system got around to proving this true (such in Caldera's case), it was way too late in this fast-moving industry.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ThousandStars (556222)
          I remember in 1991, I purchased a NeXTstation. It had a beautiful, usable GUI layered over a powerful multitasking Unix operating system, with development tools that were not rivaled on any platform until at least a decade later.

          And that workstation cost vastly more than generic Windows boxes, which is why generic Windows boxes took over and Next's great ideas fizzled until they became OS X a decade later. Part of Microsoft's genius is realizing that normal people can't or won't pay $10,000 for a compute

          • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @02:35PM (#28640059) Homepage Journal

            And that workstation cost vastly more than generic Windows boxes, which is why generic Windows boxes took over and Next's great ideas fizzled until they became OS X a decade later.

            Actually, my NeXTstation cost roughly the same as a comparable 486 at the time. That was with an education discount, granted, but it wouldn't have been hugely more expensive even without that. As I recall, I got the machine and a laser printer for $3300. I think I could have gotten a comparable 486 for around $3100 -- but without the printer.

            Part of Microsoft's genius is realizing that normal people can't or won't pay $10,000 for a computer.

            You mean IBM's genius, right? Or, more accurately, Compaq's, since they started the clone wave. Microsoft had nothing to do with that; they just rode the wave -- and convinced everyone that there were going to produce some great software Real Soon Now, so that everyone would stick with them rather than looking into the much-superior alternatives.

    • by ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @09:56AM (#28635795)
      All this things you mention are a simple evolutionary step of all the technologies, Personal Computers offered. Don't think that if Bill died at his birth we wouldn't have computers as we have them today. Different of course, but many technologies Microsoft have used were created by someone else. No great invention have come out from Redmond in long time.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Dishevel (1105119) *
        and before that the great inventions coming out of redmond were purchased.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        What great invention has come out of Redmond, anyway? As far as I can see, their big invention was to hoover up whatever someone invented, brand it and market it.

        • by interval1066 (668936) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:59AM (#28636861) Homepage Journal

          Gate's & Allen's "innovation" was to (practically) steal an operating system (DOS) from a not very worldly programmer named Tim Patterson, which happened to be appropriate to run on IBM's new (at that time) PC computer. IBM, not being very worldly either, looked toward a bright future selling tons of hardware not realizing that Asia would soon undercut ANYONE making hardware and that the platform was the OS.

          The killer app soon followed, Lotus 1-2-3. One showing of this app to anyone in business made DOS so valuable that pc's became as ubiquitous as water. Everyone started making PC's that could run DOS & Lotus 1-2-3. The price of hardware then drops like a rock as everyone started making it and ultimately farming that work out to Asia driving prices down further. Apple never appealed to business, the needs of which really drive innovation. You can appreciate a personal computer as you would a Stradivarius, but that's not a need. Business had a real need for an electronic spreadsheet.

          TODAY: IBM is for all intents and purposes out of the hardware business, which has moved to Singapore and S. Korea, and Paul Allen and Bill Gates are two of the richest people in the world. If Microsoft has done anything (aside from swindle people and stomped on innovation as much as possible), its made a platform that Business trusts enough to continue to invest in and employ millions of people that only do work on PC's. Jobs, always a dreamer, never really did care about the needs of Business, and instead appealed to people's vanity, which is why Apple never really took off like it might have.

          Redmond's real strength lies in showing people how to be a ruthless company. Innovation is great, but people respect power and those who wield it.

          • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:47PM (#28638383)
            Saying that IBM wasn't very "worldly" seems a bit naive. They had been around for decades at that point and moving into PCs was the natural place for them to go right then, just as it was natural for them to vacate that market when they did. IBM has always been about serving enterprise customer needs. At that time, PCs were an enterprise need. Once PCs became commoditised , PCs were no longer considered primarily an enterprise need. Instead, they were consumer needs. At that point, IBM sold off its remaining PC line (ThinkPad) to Lenovo and refocused on its core business: enterprise needs.

            And to say that IBM is out of the hardware business is rather ill-informed as well. Just look at things like Blue Gene/L or Blue Gene/P, Cell, Roadrunner, Blade, or their other hardware technologies and products that they have to offer to high-end enterprise needs. Just because the average person may no longer be aware of IBM's products does not make them irrelevant or dead to the hardware business. It just means that they're out of your price range by a few hundred thousand or million of your favorite local currency.

            As for Jobs, ever heard of VisiCalc? Even Microsoft Excel ran on Macs first, as did plenty of other software back then. Apple was doing fine in the early 80s, and then he was kicked out, as you'll recall. So, to pin Apple's lack of success on him is a bit iffy. Jobs is definitely a dreamer, but he's always been about shaking things up and changing the world (look up his famous quote when he was trying to recruit John Sculley, who worked at Pepsi at the time), not just appealing to people's aesthetics (though that does play a role, obviously). And if you want to see how Jobs is as a person, just look at what he did after he got kicked out of Apple: he started NeXT and made innovative computers that were aimed at businesses. He may not have been a huge success with NeXT, but to suggest that he doesn't care about business at all is just ignoring the facts of his history.
          • by croddy (659025) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @03:38PM (#28641039)

            The killer app soon followed, Lotus 1-2-3. One showing of this app to anyone in business made DOS so valuable that pc's became as ubiquitous as water. Everyone started making PC's that could run DOS & Lotus 1-2-3. The price of hardware then drops like a rock as everyone started making it and ultimately farming that work out to Asia driving prices down further. Apple never appealed to business, the needs of which really drive innovation. You can appreciate a personal computer as you would a Stradivarius, but that's not a need. Business had a real need for an electronic spreadsheet.

            And now, sadly, we know exactly what happens to an economy when its businessmen make their decisions based on the output of those unsound spreadsheets.

    • by keeboo (724305) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @09:58AM (#28635813)

      Now, be honest. How many of us had our first computer experience with MS-DOS or Windows 3.1?

      I didn't. My first computer was a 8-bit machine.

      Do you think that if computers still consisted on thin-client-server models based on huge VAX mainframes, that Joe and Jane Smith would be able to dial-in to AOL and connect to thousands of people around the world?(...)

      There was Amigas, Macs and other easy-to-use personal computers before Windows even existed.

      • by crontabminusell (995652) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:15AM (#28636063)
        I had a TI-99/4A, then moved to a Commodore 128, then an Amiga 500. It wasn't until I was probably 12 years old before I got my hands on my first IBM-compatible PC (a 4.77MHz machine with a turbo button that cranked it up to 10MHz), and it was a huge step back. HUGE step back. I went from (with the Amiga) a nice GUI interface, great sound and (for the time) great graphics, and moved to a machine that beeped and booped and gave me a text prompt in up to 4 colors. Come to think of it, I'm not entirely sure why I did that...
      • by dmarcov (461598) * on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:49AM (#28636695) Homepage

        I didn't. My first computer was a 8-bit machine.

        My first computer didn't even have 8-bits. It had 2, but you couldn't use both at the same time. You had to go up 7 floors to get the other bit and then swap them out.

    • Now, be honest. How many of us had our first computer experience with MS-DOS or Windows 3.1?

      I bet I am only one of a crowd here how did not have our first experience with either. I started on a Vic-20. The first windows system I used was on a Mac. Bill Gates and Microsoft have, if anything, ensured the monetization of all things computer. Not that it wouldn't have happened anyway sans Gates.

      • My first was an Atari 800XL. First graphical system an Atari 1040ST.

        My first PC came long, long after that (with an Amiga 500 in between for good measure) a (for the time) insanely fast and expensive 486DX2 with lightning fast 66MHz. Good times.

        • I really hate to join this, but my first computer was a kit. 1976. No display, except for LED's. My first programming class had timeshare on computer across town. I programmed on a teletype with acoustic couplers, and saved my program to paper tape.

          From there it was wiring my own serial S100 card from a magazine article. Yes, I used BASIC once it became available. Moved to a TRS80 model I and had a friend take me to task for wasting the money on 16k because I should be able to do everything in 4k. Moved to an Apple II, Sharp MZ80K with Pascal, Kaypro II, and eventually my first "IBM Compatible".

          Microsoft was a common thread through most of that. Love 'em or hate 'em, they shaped the time.

          As for their competitors, what most forget is that in the heat of battle, what allowed MS to win was usually serious mistakes by their competitors.

          Word was inferior to WordPerfect, and possibly WordStar, but both companies shot themselves in the head, and allowed Word to take the lead.

          Lotus 123 was THE spreadsheet for business, Lotus screwed themselves and Excel took the lead.

          Netscape was the end-all-be-all for browsers, but they decided to shift focus and took on stuff that wasn't their core. Where are they now?

          Yes, MS acquires a lot, sometimes by ruthlessly. But, most of the time, their competitors simply screw up and give the advantage to MS.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:19AM (#28636123) Journal
        Pretty much anyone in the UK my age had their first computing experience with a BBC Model B or similar. Anyone a few years younger is likely to have first come across the 32-bit Acorn RiscOS machines like the A3000, which were popular in schools. When I was growing up, I was the only person I knew with an IBM-compatible at home, and that was only because my father ran a software company and I got it when they were upgrading. Everyone else had Ataris or Amigas. Perhaps the grandparent meant 'anyone under 18'.
    • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:06AM (#28635933) Homepage

      "Microsoft brought desktop computing to the home user."

      Yet another "M$ is an innovator" myth. Before MS-DOS,there was the Commodore VIC-20, C-64, and Amiga. Before MS-DOS there was the Apple I, II, IIc,IIe, and III. Also there was the Kaypro luggables, etc. Microsoft has yet to innovate anything, ever. I challenge anyone to cite an innovation from M$, but be 100% prepared to discover that someone was doing it first and you just didn'tknow about it. Every single "Microsoft Innovation" involved M$ acquiring innovative companies and technologies who got there first, simply stealing the idea outright, or perpetuating non-truths (you'd be surprised howmany people think Gates/M$ invented the Internet. M$ probably didn't start the rumour, but they sure in the hell aren't going out of their way to stop it.)

      "Would the Internet have blossomed into the vast information network it is today without the aid of easy-to-use software from Microsoft?"

      It not only has, it did. (It is a retromyth that Windows is/was easy to use) If a car crashed constantly you wouldn't say it is easy to use would you?

    • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:11AM (#28635991)

      I can see where you're coming from - that the 'standard' of Windows was required in order to move the business world of desktop computing forward to the point where it is today. Fair enough on that, I won't argue.

      I will argue that Microsoft has been a force for good in the world past the point where Windows seemed to have a monopoly. The browser wars, bad. Office, bad (yes, there was Wordperfect and Lotus 123 well before Word and Excel came along and was 'aggressively' marketed and enforced on us by using Windows as leverage to gain customers), and all the others - I'd be here all day typing if I had to list every dodgy practice Microsoft has done.

      In short then, MS was good for us in the beginning, once it started to get big I think it should have come to the attention of the authorities (oh it did!) and be broken up into NanoSofts (well, they had the chance) which would have continued the benefits of ubiquitous desktop computing without most of the predatory and abusive business practices the big MS engaged in.

      (as for Grandma, if she just wants her webcam to 'just work', she will be disappointed when she installs Vista and finds that drivers are no longer available for that model - unless she wants to spend $$$ on a brand new one. Or install modern Linux which does just work with more hardware than Windows nowadays!)

      PS. I started computing with an Acorn Atom, moved to an Amstrad than an Amiga while I used the mainframe and Sun Unix workstations at university. PCs running Windows in those days were considered toys. It was NT4 that made the big difference, before that, Windows was a joke.

    • by pauljlucas (529435) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:17AM (#28636093) Homepage Journal

      Bill founded what is now the largest software company in the world, and wether [sic] or not you agree with him, he has made a important contribution to the computing industry: Microsoft brought desktop computing to the home user.

      No, companies like Apple and Commodore did that since they actually manufactured cheap computers. VisiCalc (the first killer-app, and not from MS) ran on the Apple ][. MS-DOS was more-or-less a repacked CP/M that Bill was lucky enough to license to IBM. Windows stagnated for many years with the infamous Blue Screens of Death while *nix showed that you could have operating systems without crashes. Then it was Apple with the introduction of Mac OS X that forced MS to finally get off their asses and release Vista -- and we all know how that turned out.

      MS retarded the entire computer industry by about a decade. Apple doesn't get a free pass here either since Mac OS 1-9 was crash-prone too. But MS, being the 800 lb gorilla, could have done so much more with their resources to propel the industry forward.

    • by Insanity Defense (1232008) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:24AM (#28636201)

      Microsoft brought desktop computing to the home user.

      I have to disagree there. Apple brought desktop computing to the home user. IBM brought it to the business user and took Microsoft along for the ride.

      Apple lost the home with the Mac which was a totally closed system where the Apple II was an open system. IBM on the other hand brought an OPEN system to businesses along with the IBM name, people introduced to the computer at work then bought the same for home use. Microsoft just rode into the home on the back of IBM when IBM replaced Apple in the home.

      My first access to a microcomputer was to a Heathkit H11 that I helped build.

    • by mcgrew (92797) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:28AM (#28636267) Homepage Journal

      Microsoft brought desktop computing to the home user.

      No, it did not. If IBM had opted for a different OS than DOS you would have never heard of Microsoft.

      How many of us had our first computer experience with MS-DOS or Windows 3.1?

      I had a TS-1000, then a TRS-80. The IBM-PC was office-use only, as the damned things cost about five grand (and money was worth more then). There were many home computers before IBM's expensive dinasaur; the Commodore PET was out before 1980, the TS-1000 and many others were out before IBM decided to get into the PC business.

      If Bill gates had never been born we would still have PCs, and it's possible they might even follow standards.

      How about Grandma who wants to set up a webcam so she can chat with her grandchildren? She doesn't want to have to sit and hack kernels for hours. She wants Plug-and-Play, baby.

      Your ignorance is astounding.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Whelkman (58482)

        If IBM had opted for a different OS than DOS you would have never heard of Microsoft.

        I doubt that. Contrary to popular myth, which seems to think Paul Allen and Bill Gates were running business out of a garage and DOS was their first product, Microsoft was already a successful company with its BASIC and XENIX products. In addition to providing DOS to IBM, Microsoft hedged their bets and produced flavors for nearly everything. So, whichever hardware vendor won out, Microsoft fully intended to be the software

    • Indeed. Bill Gates had a vision; A computer in every home, and his companies software running on them. Moreover, a major part of his vision was that people were going to pay for that software. Remember that letter? [blinkenlights.com].

      It sounds silly now, but back in 1976, the idea that people were going to pay for the software on their home PCs was not a settled issue. If GNU programs, warez, freeware, we applications, and the Linuz kernel have shown one thing, it's that this is still not a settled issue. Software is not viewed in the same way as hardware. When it's so cheap and easy to copy bits, its understandable that people pay so little heed to their supposed worth.

      Nevertheless, Bill Gates built an empire, probably the largest and most influential company in history, entirely around the concept of selling numbers to people with computers. You may not like the way he did it, but the fact is that his long term goals and ambitions have shaped the computer industry and indeed the world for the last 30 years. We would not have had a usable, cheap and pervasive home desktop OS in the 90s without Microsoft. We paid the price in security woes and lock in, but we got our desktops.

      People talk about the internet, but people needed computers in their homes before they could go online. And that's where Bill Gates and Microsoft came in. Unfortunately, that's not where they intend to bow out.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @11:24AM (#28637261) Journal
      I'll consider through the eye of a SF reader : before the 80s computers worked. "Every computer glitch as a human origin" HAL taught us. (spoiler) it took a politician to make its perfect logic go amok. To say it in a nutshell, computers were deterministic.

      Now fast-forward a few years. Cyberpunk. Computers fail, a skillful hacker can enter any system. Bugs cause catastrophes, virus take epic proportions. Microsoft changed the IT landscape and I think it made it lose at least 10 years (I would say 20). Now IT specialists waste their times reinventing the wheel for every version of Windows, correct the same problems over and over, put hacked patches on security holes that should not exist. Microsoft did not bring the desktop into the home. Apple did. Internet blossomed despite Microsoft attempts at controlling it (The first plans for MSN, "Microsoft Network" was to concurrence Internet itself, to be a separate network). Plug and play's most common nickname was "plug and pray" because when it didn't work (50% of the time) you had no way to make it work, even if you were an IT engineer. The long sessions of kernel hacking that were necessary a few years ago (try Ubuntu if you think this is still the case) to make a webcam work was mostly due to the culture of proprietary drivers that Microsoft helped foster. Linux drivers were written from reverse-engineered information. The fact that it could work was by itself a miracle that happened despite Microsoft efforts.

      Honestly, we don't call Microsoft evil out of spite for its wealth, we have technical reasons for this. And Google did not choose "Don't be evil" as a motto without thinking of a certain Redmond company and the damages they did to the IT world.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jcr (53032)

      Microsoft brought desktop computing to the home user.

      That's a major contender for the overstatement of the decade. Desktop computing came to the home user from Apple, Atari, Commodore, IBM, Texas Instruments, Tandy, HP, and many, many other vendors. Microsoft was the OS vendor left standing after the big shakeout, and they gained their current position by catching IBM's fumble. Crediting them with creating the market is a bit of a stretch.

      -jcr

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @09:39AM (#28635573) Journal
    I found this assessment to be adequate when looking at Microsoft as a marketing company that makes the operating system. But what about Bing and Natal? These have been two very important developments to different worlds following the departure of Gates. I read an article from ITPro UK [itpro.co.uk] that I think did a better job describing change (or lack thereof) and there's certainly others [internetnews.com] with their own 1-year-on take.

    Personally, it's the small things that Microsoft has done differently that I see as real change. The recent ECMA standardization and community promise surrounding CLI and C# for one. While not perfect, it's an important step. Supporting more community standards (albeit questionable) in IE8 has also been a tremendous step in my mind. I'm not embracing IE8 yet out of sheer caution but these are certainly progressive moves however small. Has Ballmer toned down his wild intensity now that he heads Microsoft and is the unquestionable leader? I don't think so in the operating system world but maybe in smaller subsections of software development. The pricing and marketing strategies they've used for their OS have been just as questionable and (in the case of the OLPC) as ridiculous as ever.

    I hate to say it as I thought it was the end of the world when Ballmer took over Microsoft and that everything was going to grind to a halt around them but things don't look so bad. Honestly, I'm more concerned with other companies buying up everyone and everything around them in their quest to own a full stack of software or dominate one cash cow field--Google included. Two or three years ago, had I rubbed--to have everything in the world that was made by them blink out of existence. Now, I'd probably have better things to spend that wish on. I hate to sound like an apologist because I still despise a lot of their marketing tactics and things they do. But I'm glad they're starting to show some improvement and at least a little bit of innovation. I think things had really stagnated under Gates and though Ballmer looked like the big bad wolf, he's obviously taking more risks now that he's in charge.
    • once more you are spot on. kudos.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by guruevi (827432)

      - Bing is just a rename of MSN Search or Live Search or whatever it was called before. Microsoft products have gone through name changes just for the sake of it under BG too.
      - Natal can be seen as an extension or spinoff of the Surface project. It's similar technology. Microsoft has their fingers in all types of technology and will develop some type of interface for developers to it. If you've ever been subscribed to MSDN (back when they used to send you a package of all possible CD's) you should know that

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by VGPowerlord (621254)

        Bing is just a rename of MSN Search or Live Search or whatever it was called before. Microsoft products have gone through name changes just for the sake of it under BG too.

        No they haven't! Now, stop distracting me; I'm trying to finish this month's budget in Multiplan!

    • Bing is really just another MSN/Live search engine with a few extra features. If their past is anything to go by, MS just can't make search engines and so Bing will go the way that MSN and Live search are today. Natal is really just MS's way of jumping on the "lets attempt to emulate the Wii" bandwagon.
    • by k8to (9046)

      The community promise regarding C# is classic microsoft. It's a PR move with no substance. Only the language features themselves are covered, which were already in the ECMA spec, so it offers theoretical coverage to people reimplementing C# without implementing *any* of the .net framework.

      People who actually write programs in C# aren't being protected at all.

  • It may have been announced October 2008, but it was available in alpha back in June 2008 and earlier. I used it in July while on vacation.

    Set it up on my desktop and laptop. I would take pictures, put the SD card into my laptop and copy them to the shared folder on my laptop and they would automatically copy to my desktop which was 2000 miles away. This way i always had room on my SD card for my digital cameral and there was always a second copy in case my laptop crashed.

    and the web TS is very nice. i would

  • Not much... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ringthane (415537) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @09:47AM (#28635675) Homepage

    Judging by the pricing of Windows 7 Ultimate, it's business as usual at Microsoft.

  • No not really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @09:47AM (#28635679)
    No, I don't think MS has changed, but the world has. The iPhone has changed the smartphone market to where even with the best hardware Windows Mobile just isn't wanted much anymore. The 360 is still falling behind the Wii despite MS's attempts to beat it with the "New Xbox Experience" and with the development of the Natal controller. MS though has finally realized that unless Windows 7 is a hit, Linux/OS X/Now ChromeOS is going to kill them in the OS market. Office has stagnated and has had a popular revolt going on because of the "ribbon" UI that a lot of people hate, and I don't see a new version remedying that in the future. MS as a whole has remained the same, however the world is changing and they don't seem to realize that.
    • Re:No not really (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:08AM (#28635961)

      What would you like to change? Windows XP was essentially what most of their users wanted. A nice looking interface (ok, with a teletubby standard background, but that's the least worry), good stability, good support for pretty much any hardware they had. Nothing they could be missing or hoping for in the next gen OS. And that's why Vista failed, basically. It's not the "must have" all the other MS OSs before were. Win95 was a must have, if anything ever was. It was the next best thing. Win98 was Win95 on crack, it was so much more stable, with far better support for internet and all the other new "must have" things.

      (we'll politely ignore ME here now. Instead, we present some fluffy kitties to distract you)

      Then, 2k. Stability of NT meets usability and compatibility of 98. IMO still one of their diamonds, and maybe the biggest leap they took in their stride. It was THE "must have" system, even "more must have" than 95 maybe was.

      XP already had a harder time getting a "must have" badge. What does XP have that 2k doesn't? Out of the box WiFi support. Ok. You could install a driver for that. It's not really much more stable than 2k. It's also not really any more user friendly than 2k. There isn't really anything that I could put my finger on that the average user would want out of XP compared to 2k. But at least it was a bit more pleasing to the eye than the rather sterile 2k (a look that I loved, but I'm weird).

      Vista was the first system that caused more of a "why the fuck should I?" rather than a "must have". While XP was eventually more than just "nice to have", Vista still doesn't convince. There's no compelling reason to switch (other than artificially introduced incompatibilities like the refusal to offer DirectX 10 on a system before Vista, which in turn led developers to cling to DX9 so they don't lose the XP user market). The system sells with new machines, ok, but mainly because of a lack of alternatives (since XP is no longer offered, and if, at higher price). If XP was offered at the same or lower price of Vista, the sales would look even more grim than they do.

      And people using XP do not storm the stores and buy the upgrade, something that hasn't happened before. All the other upgrades were a hot seller, Vista upgrades sit like lead on the shelves.

      So where should they develop to? Windows is "as good as it gets". What should they include in the system to have another "must have" seller? I can't see anything the average user could want.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      No offense (really), but this sounds like projecting a whole lot of your own biases on to the population at large. The iPhone found a base in the consumer market, where smartphones hadn't been strong to begin with. To my knowledge, it's stayed there. iPhone won, but Windows Mobile didn't exactly lose either (except in *potential* profit, which no one but the RIAA considers legitimate).

      The 360 is doing substantially better than the PS3 (which is the closest direct competition), while trying to lure in a f

    • by linumax (910946)

      The 360 is still falling behind the Wii despite MS's attempts to beat it with the "New Xbox Experience" and with the development of the Natal controller.

      Yes, Natal, an as of yet unreleased product has had a huge role in Wii beating 360 in sales in the past few years. By the way Natal is a controller free experience, not some sort of controller.

      360 is arguably doing well, at least it has beaten Sony and Wii seems to be on a land of it's own. Once Project Natal comes to a release we'll see how the Wii vs

    • by alen (225700)

      i don't have a WinMo phone but I think the big problem with them is the same as with Android phones. MS sells the the OS to HTC and a few other brand X makers who customize it and resell it. Each phone seems a bit different and most people don't know it's a WinMo phone. Some phones are good, others are cheapo phones and there is a separate "Enterprise" version. if you get a cheapo phone you might think the OS is bad. Same with Android, there is very little control of what the consumer sees.

      RiM has followed

    • I believe the thing to criticize about the 360 would be the still unresolved RROD problem, rather than its inability to appeal to all the people the Wii apparently does... Nintendo's gamble of using inferior processing muscle,but an innovative control scheme couldn't really have been predicted to be so successful beforehand, and many people think of the Wii as a totally separate kind of product from the PS3 or 360.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oahazmatt (868057)

      The iPhone has changed the smartphone market to where even with the best hardware Windows Mobile just isn't wanted much anymore.

      I'm as much of a brand-loving consumer whore as the next person, but I just don't believe that. While the iPhone is extremely popular (despite the development of phones from HTC that had similar functions) it offered the casual customer base a smart phone alternative to the Blackberry and the like. To say Windows Mobile phones aren't wanted (or needed) is a great assumption. There is still a lot of enterprise level software that will only work with Windows Mobile components, and Blackberries are still quite

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)

      The iPhone has changed the smartphone market to where even with the best hardware Windows Mobile just isn't wanted much anymore.

      Simply untrue. It is true that the iPhone has springboarded into the corporate market extremely quickly, adding in full Exchange compatibility is pretty much the best strategic move they've ever made. However, both Blackberry and Windows Mobile are still doing quite well on their own. It is true, however, that Apple's influence has gotten both RIM and Microsoft to crash-course some

    • by westlake (615356) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:59AM (#28636867)
      MS though has finally realized that unless Windows 7 is a hit, Linux/OS X/Now ChromeOS is going to kill them in the OS market. Office has stagnated and has had a popular revolt going on because of the "ribbon" UI that a lot of people hate

      Amazon Best Sellers in Software [amazon.com] Updated hourly.

      1 Win 7 Premium Upgrade
      2 Win 7 Professional Upgrade
      3 MS Office Home and Student 2007
      5 MS Office Home and Student 2008 - Mac
      12 Outlook 2007
      17 Street & Trips 2009
      18 Win 7 Ultimate Upgrade
      30 XP Home Full Version
      31 MS Office Standard 2007 Full Version
      35 Street & Trips with GPS 2009
      36 MS Office Small Business 2007 Upgrade
      38 XP Pro SP3 System Builders
      40 MS Office Small Business 2007 Full Version
      41 MS Office Pro 2007 Full Version
      45 MS Works 9.0
      50 Windows Live One Care
      56 Windows XP Pro SP2 Full Version
      79 MS Vista Premium Full Version
      95 XP Home SP2 Upgrade
      97 Vista Home Premium Upgrade
      98 Publisher 2007
      99 Access 2007

      At any given moment about 1 in 4 of the software bestsellers in software will be Microsoft products for the Windows market. Office 2007/8 has had an extraordinarily successful run.

      OS Platform Statistics For June [w3schools.com]

      XP 67%
      Vista 18%
      Mac 6%
      Linux 4%
      W2003 2%
      Win 7 2%
      W2K 1%

      The OS stats are from a pro's development-oriented site that shows a 50% share for Firefox. It is not preposterous to imagine Win 7 overtaking Linux before its official launch in October.

    • Re:No not really (Score:5, Informative)

      by gad_zuki! (70830) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @11:34AM (#28637391)

      Every month or so someone writes up a post like yours on the imminent failure of MS, and it never happens.

      I dont see the 360 doing poorly, in fact, its cleaning the PS3s clock. Office 2007 isnt the failure you want it to be and as someone with an interest in UIs its a shame so many geeks are afraid of change. Imagine if Apple was still using OS9's UI today. Or if we were using Win3.11 UI in Vista. Ugh.

      Vista, for all its faults, sells and is in used by millions. SP1 Vista is comparable to XP, at least to me. The complaints Im seeing nowadays are of 3rd party software like Zone Alarm and Trend Micro breaking things.

      Conversely, we're seeing a lot of returns on linux netbooks because people simply dont understand what it means when a computer doesnt come with windows. We're seeing Firefox lag behind on splitting tabs into processes. We're seeing Chrome barely make a dent in the web. We're seeing stronger offerings from MS with Server 2008. etc etc. But we are also seeing more Linux in homes and embedded devices. We're seeing an acceptance of OSS in corporate that seems stronger than in the past.

      The point here is that you cant just look at all these markets and niches and come to one conclusion. In some places MS is doing well and in other places its doing poorly. Its still damn profitable and geeks should really understand that despite the hype, MS is still a 800lbs gorilla we need to be careful around. If anything, all this competition is forcing MS to up its game, which is good for everyone.

  • From the perspective of a GNU/Linux person, there seems to be less innovation, and more chairs. Less innovation in that we've not had much that was new since Gates left. Yes there is Vista and xbox and zune stuff, but what is new about these things? Nothing. I think Balmer throws chairs.
    • by Jugalator (259273)

      With the general opinion of Windows 7, I doubt it.

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        Windows 7 is pretty much Vista with a few more unnecessary UI changes (open control panel and feel the corporate helpdesk's pain), and a load of slow, crufty code taken out to make it a bit more efficient, and less resource hungry. There's very little you can consider 'innovatingly new'.

  • Knowing Microsoft, they see it as the new term for Vaporware, without the negative meaning.

    • Knowing Microsoft, they see it as the new term for Vaporware, without the negative meaning.

      Yup, Microsoft clearly has no interest in launching a cloud computing service.

      Oh, wait... [microsoft.com]

  • More mature? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cryophallion (1129715) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @09:55AM (#28635779)

    Well, let's see, the OpenXML was definitely in the pipeline before Bill left, and the take no prisoners tactics that he loves is what got it pushed through the standards committee.

    Next is ODF translators... which don't work, and in fact delete formulas [robweir.com]. Not to mention there Smear Campaign [robweir.com]. So we are saying maturity is going back to their ruthless kill-them-subversively methods that got them in trouble in the EU?

    Oh, wait, maturity is killing declining products... which Bill did often

    Sorry, I don't see a real change listed in at least that section

  • by Skiron (735617) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:02AM (#28635869) Homepage
    I guess a few chairs have been moved around a bit...
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:04AM (#28635899) Homepage
    Fuggedaboutit! [msdn.com] Never in a million years would Gates have had made peace with such a potentially damaging open source group.
  • with products such as Open XML." That was enough to convince me this article was full of shit. It also reminded me how those asshole haven't changed a bit.

  • by koreaman (835838) <uman@umanwizard.com> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:06AM (#28635927)

    Has anyone else realized that since about the beginning of this decade, Microsoft has slowly begun a transition to competing on quality, rather than simply leveraging their monopoly and sitting on their laurels? Take a look at some improvements in Microsoft products over the past few years:
      * Windows XP. There is simply no comparing XP to previous "home" versions of Windows in terms of quality. Yes, I know it's largely Windows 2000 with a new skin, but the important thing here is that they discontinued their crufty, broken, DOS-based line that didn't even have true multitasking and replaced it with something stable and mature (in comparison).
      * Visual Studio: As for the IDE itself, I never used versions prior to 2003, but I loved 2003 and have seen it getting nicer and nicer since. As for programming languages, their current implementation of C++ is actually quite close to standards-compliant, on the level of G++. They've got a ways to go with C, but it's less of a priority for them. The biggest change is in their flagship RAD offerings. C# and VB.NET are now mature object-oriented languages in the tradition of Java. No comparison with VB6.
      * Internet Explorer: 6 was simply a joke, the laughingstock of the web. No tabs, an extremely buggy rendering engine, not extensible, unpredictable for web developers, and largely at odds with every published standard ever. IE7 was a big step in the right direction, and IE8 has entered the playing field as a serious competitor.
      * Search: MSN search was useless abandonware; now they are really trying with Bing.
      * User interface: Vista brought in a modern, powerful shell complete with modern, powerful command-line utilities. No comparison to the shell (with bundled terminal emulator) that has been outdated since it was released as part of DOS 1.0. Windows 7 has made several improvements on the GUI side.

    Yes they're still behind, but they've covered a huge amount of ground. Yes I'd much prefer coding in Emacs using GNU Screen and XMonad for window management than in Visual Studio on Windows 7. Yes I'd much rather use Firefox, Opera, or Chrome than IE8, when given the choice. Yes, Apple has hands down the best GUI of all. But in, say, 2000, who'd have thought Microsoft would have come so far? I'm excited to see where their products will go and whether someday they will be as good as what comes from Apple, Google, and open-source hackers. I don't know whether they will, but it'll certainly be interesting.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by digitalhermit (113459)

      :)

      Windows XP. There is simply no comparing XP to previous "home" versions of Windows in terms of quality.

      Looks like they stopped there. Vista is a piece of crap and the frustration experience is as bad as WindowsME. Sure, it's much better than WindowsME, but so are the alternatives. Sometimes it's not Vista's fault. For example, when I play Fallout3 the game will crash if anything pops up on the desktop. I can't save screenshots in Vista. On Vista64, I can't get VMWare Server to work properly. Just last

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sootman (158191)

      Has anyone else realized that since about the beginning of this decade, Microsoft has slowly begun a transition to competing on quality, rather than simply leveraging their monopoly and sitting on their laurels?

      No.

      Windows XP. There is simply no comparing XP to previous "home" versions of Windows in terms of quality. Yes, I know it's largely Windows 2000 with a new skin, but the important thing here is that they discontinued their crufty, broken, DOS-based line that didn't even have true multitasking and rep

  • by javacowboy (222023) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:11AM (#28635995)

    Under Gates, Microsoft grew to the empire that it is today. Gates strategic moves were critical to the success of the company:

    1) The DOS deal with IBM.
    2) The MS Office deal with Apple, and using that contract to gain GUI engineering knowledge from Apple.
    3) Porting MS Office to DOS and using it to sell WIndows (ex: buy Excel and get Windows for free)
    4) Outsmarting IBM in the OS/2 deal while continuing development of Windows/Promising Windows 95 vapourware to fend off OS/2 Warp, which was superior.
    5) Pricing Windows MS Office ridiculously cheaply, pushing out Word Perfect, Lotus 123, etc that were trying to come up with Windows 95 versions.
    6) Windows NT to push out Novell in the enterprise.
    7) MS Exchange which is still the back-end collaboration framework of choice
    8) The sneaky deal with Sun over licensing Java
    9) InternetExplorer + ISS + ASP to gain a foothold on the internet despite starting late

    Ballmer hasn't had nearly the same impact. So far MSN hasn't really gone anywhere, the high-end console wars are a draw with the Wii way on top at the low-end, Windows server hasn't unseated Linux, .NET has its niche but isn't unseating Java, Google is still dominating search, and Windows Mobile is losing ground.

  • In an interview Steve Jobs said of msft, that msft is a company with no original ideas. I think it is the same even today, but there is one difference. We had Bill Gate who always looks calm and composed, although in reality he is supposed to be really annoying person, and we have SteveO who runs up and down a stage screaming, and had to have throat surgery after screaming "developers developers developers", he is really on some kind of crack. I think in few years msft will turn into a litigation house, lik
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pauljlucas (529435)

      In an interview Steve Jobs said of msft, that msft is a company with no original ideas.

      This [youtube.com] is the interview to which you refer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Slothrup (73029)

      I wouldn't be surprised if Steve Jobs actually believes that Apple invented GUIs, MP3 players and smart phones. In general, no big company has truly original ideas -- or if they do, it's in a research arm like PARC or MSR and the ideas are never properly monetized.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by alen (225700)

      What did Apple invent? i like my iphone but it's nothing that didn't exist in cell phones before it came out. some features have been around for a decade. the only thing the iphone did is take the features and put them in one unit rather than have them split across 10 different cell phones. Blackberries had app stores for years before the iphone came out, only difference you had to hunt around different stores for your app.

      OS X is just FreeBSD with a better GUI. I remember a few years ago Steve Jobs hyping

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mario_grgic (515333)

        OS X is not free BSD with better GUI, not even close. And MobileMe is not based on ActiveSync in any way either. As part of MobileMe apple has licensed ActiveSync so that its devices could sync with Exchange server (because reverse engineering proprietary Microsoft protocols is not reliable or legal probably). You really need to research things a bit before posting.

  • by actionbastard (1206160) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:23AM (#28636183)
    "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious."
  • by gtall (79522) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:24AM (#28636207)

    I got the general impression that MS got so big and unwieldy that it is difficult to assign direction to Gates or Ballmer. They seem to have spent most of the time since 2000 reacting, not leading. Gates didn't so much leave as he simply faded into insignificance. If he'd stayed, it wouldn't have changed the company which seems to lurch into markets solely because growth in their mature markets has stopped. They aren't leading advances in their mature markets either. They have nothing seemingly to offer to new markets, namely because the old strategy of letting others develop them before marching in and stealing customers won't work in the current environment. The new markets are fast moving, by the time MS decides to jump, the market isn't where they thought it was. If Gates had been on the ball from 2000 onward, he still didn't have the organization that could move quickly, decisively, and accurately with a product that could capture the market.

    Apple would be in a similar position had they not the current management which is looking to define new markets or show how a staid market can be rejuvenated with a sharp line of products. The U.S. based auto industry lapsed into similar unconsciousness.

  • More chairs have been tossed since Gates left.

  • Windows 7 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by VGPowerlord (621254) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:25AM (#28636227)

    Like it or not, Windows 7 is just Vista with a new Taskbar, a major video display bugfix [msdn.com], a few new control panel applets (at least one of which (ClearType Tuner) used to be a Windows XP PowerToy [microsoft.com]), some new fonts and the first upgrade to the Font Control Panel Applet in 15 years, and some other misc bugfixes.

    Seriously, you're still using the same Vista you all decided to hate on before; you've just fallen victim to the marketing hype.

  • It's been a year since Bill Gates left Microsoft in his official capacity

    Wrong. Bill Gates is still with Microsoft in his official capacity as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

    Its been more than a year since he stopped working full-time at Microsoft, which isn't the same thing.

  • by syousef (465911) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:56AM (#28636803) Journal

    Bill Gates was a champion of MS Flight Simulator - a franchise that ran for decades. The last version FSX was complete ass and took 3 goes to get right....which culuminated in the sacking of the entire programming staff at Aces Studios (the guys that wrote the sim).

    FS2004 included a kiosk mode so any library or museum could demonstrate a flight simulation of an existing or historic plane. FSX killed that feature and tried to sell a monstrosity of a commerical system called ESP for big dollars to do the same. FSX also added activation and all it's headaches.

    Bill Gates was a nasty piece of work but under his leadership there was some good stuff done. Now there's nothing.

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