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  1. Seth, I really enjoy your blog, as well as SLD. But I have to point out that the cheap shot at Gates is unwarranted, and just plain wrong. There are many like me, a successful entrepreneur and product developer, who feel that Microsoft has developed dozens of great products. We appreciate the non-closed system, unlike Apple. We sometimes need additional capabilities not available in slicker, but dumbed-down, software, particularly so in engineering. Sales numbers may not tell everything, but they can’t be ignored.

    Seth: Here are two examples. Word is okay now. For a long time, it struck me as worse than WordPerfect, which it supplanted. I would never call Word a good product, given that it was a step backward. WordPerfect showed how to do it, they couldn’t even be bothered to copy it. Likewise, Windows used to crash a lot. It never seemed like a good product. I agree about the non-closed system. I think the sales numbers can be attributed to near-monopoly status, not great engineering.

  2. Agree; disappointed to see microsoft-bashing here. Saying that microsoft is “unable to make good products” is at best totally false, and at worst, an oversimplification that doesn’t give the company the benefit of the doubt, by failing to consider all the factors that go into determining whether a product is “good” or not.

    Seth: Yes, not very charitable of me. I persist in believing that Microsoft products — the ones I used heavily, including Word and Windows — could have been much better. I like PowerPoint. No complaints there.

  3. @ Sam,

    Those are measures of “sales success”, which is quite different from a “good product”

    Measures of a good product include performance, reliability, and user preference compared to competing products. How do you think Microsoft compares to Linux or Apple on those?

    Microsoft succeeded because they were the first to come out with a platform that all PC’s could use. Once they had the market cornered, it became that much harder for others to break into it, no matter how good their products were.

    Microsoft was not the best, just the biggest – something quite different.

  4. What I know of Bill Gates I don’t like, and I don’t like Microsoft. I personally use Linux for almost all of my work. Personal feelings aside however, there is no denying Bill Gates was both a computer genius and a business genius. While Microsoft products may not have been perfect judged against a zero defect policy they were the best in class at the time when all things were considered. What makes more sense for a Fortune 500 company – a Wang word processor or MS Word? Can you do a spreadsheet on HP-UX or Solaris? The ecosystem matters and no matter how much better Multimate or WordStar or ?? were compared to MS Word (and I don’t think they were better ) they did not have an ecosystem and did not adapt to the GUI world.

  5. It’s awesome that Gates no longer spends his time ripping off other people’s innovations.

    But Microsoft products are a disgrace. I can’t believe anyone is actually criticizing Seth for pointing out the obvious.

    Microsoft has been putting profits first and customers last for over a decade. They don’t upgrade products; they hobble them, forcing trapped customers to update to keep functionality that they’ve already paid for.

    This year alone they killed Mesh to force movement to the crippled SkyDrive, plus if you want the same functionality, they recommend paying for both Cubby and LogMeIn Pro. They are shutting down Messenger to force movement to Skype. They are shutting down Hotmail to force the move to Outlook.com; they have not announced it but it is obvious that they will be destroying Live Mail (their free email client) to force payment for Outlook, either in the cloud or locally.

    But they jumped the shark when in Win 8 they destroyed the desktop interface they stole in 1990 just to try to force their customers onto an interface they hoped would kill iOS. In their hubris, it looks like they have mortally wounded themselves.

    I understand that Ballmer sees the writing on the wall with the coming decline of WinOS and Office, and that this is his plan to keep revenues high. However, there is nothing in this plan for me, the lowly customer.

    I love that Win 8, Windows Phone and the Surface tablets are all catastrophic failures. It’s a triad of too little, too late tone-deaf mistakes that will leave this company a pale shadow of its former self. I’m looking forward to Microsoft’s demise, and resent that in America incompetent CEOs only fail upwards.

  6. My two cents:

    Visual Studio seems to beat Eclipse in capabilities, by far.

    In 2013 it appears to me that Windows crashes less than Ubuntu and in fact all NT derivatives seem very reliable and they seem to have been commonplace for anybody that cared since about 1998.

    C Sharp and it’s ecosystem of objects cannot help but be better than the previous general purpose “best” that was Java and it’s own ecosystem of objects because it’s kind of hard not to be better when you have something immensely useful/great to start with and then you set out not to innovate radically but just incrementally improve.

    A local disk installed copy of Excel seems far more polished than anything else.

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