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".
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- MSN Search: A terrible "search engine" that for years has only had usage because www.msn.com 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.