Top 5 Microsoft FAILs

Sometimes, learning from past mistakes gives us the best tools to prepare for the future.

This post might be taken as a flame against MS, but I would love to see similar ones related to Linux, Apple and other major companies like IBM. I would write them (because they all have fails, some of them big too), but I lack the knowledge as I have been most of my life in a "Microsoft ecosystem".

  1. MSN Network: Microsoft's attempt to conquer the online world by creating "their own internet" (much like AOL but with greater ambitions). It came with Windows 95 and on CDs.
  2. Windows ME: The bastard Windows son. Everybody hated it, nobody can remember anything good about it without cheating and looking at the Wikipedia. Half-way between Windows 98 and Windows 2000, was quickly killed with Windows XP.
  3. Internet Explorer 1-6: We've needed 7 versions of IE to start to have a decent browser. Always late (or directly the last) implementing all standards and browser features (like tabs). IE6 has particulary created "the way of the hacks" related to CSS and Javascript, hurting web development even as of today (but hopefully finally dying).
  4. XBox 360 RRoD: Probably the best actual-generation gaming console and at the same time the most hardware failures-prone one in history. During years, almost 100% of built consoles could potentially "achieve" the Red Ring of Death, so MS had to extend the warranty period, change the motherboard and even create a specific motherboard to fix old console models without a chance of having problems again in the future. Fortunately the problem seems to be perfectly solved now and all consoles in stores work without problems.
  5. Live for Windows: After the success of XBox Live, Microsoft got greedy and tried to charge PC users for something they always had for free: online multiplayer. It got so bad acceptance that they switched to just provide PC achievements, DLC and since recently a small online distribution store (as Steam).

As mentions that didn't promoted to the final list, I had two more candidates:

  1. J++/J#: Nobody knows anybody that has actually used J++ or more recently J#. It was a failed attempt to bring Java developers to the Visual Studio world and do a lock-in on the Windows platform. Finally Microsoft decided to "retire" J# after Visual Studio 2005.
  2. MSN Search: A terrible "search engine" that for years has only had usage because was the homepage of Internet Explorer. After a long number of versions, they have renamed it to Bing to celebrate a brand new search engine, and seems that it is finally being worth a try and actually providing at least decent results.

As usual, this is my personal opinion. I've lived almost all the Windows lifecycle (since Windows 3.11) and despite of this list, I still prefer Microsoft products on some areas (like the operating system or the development tools).

Note: Although many will claim that Windows Vista should be on this list, I particulary don't see it as a Windows ME 2. While Windows 7 is for sure "the real Windows Vista", Vista itself was not bad, only slow, and included a bunch of great features (like the great security enhancements). It just lacked a proper polishing.

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