Lets just face the facts, Microsoft NEVER does anything right the first time. Here is a list of their top five botched product launches.
Exhibit A -- Windows 1.01:
There was never officially a version 1.0 of Windows released to the general public. Due to rumored keyboard issues, version 1.01 was released in fall of 1985. Most consumers didn't actually buy into the Windows phenomenon until version 3.1 Keep in mind this is not version 1.0 or even 2.0. Bill Gates and his clan of minions had to go back to the drawing board three times before they got it right.
Exhibit B -- Microsoft Bob:
Who thought this was a good idea... honestly? The pitch was simple, take the successful Windows interface and scrap it completely. Now replace the menu system with a cartoon version of your home, complete with creepy cartoon pets that like to talk to you.
This concept was half-baked pipe dream that proved to be abortion from very the start. Bob was so bad that Microsoft offered all users vouchers for a free copy of Windows 95. Just one look at the creepy Urkel equivalent of the Wal-Mart logo, would have been enough to make me say, "Hell no..."
Exhibit C -- Windows 98:
It was obvious from the very beginning that there were issues with this operating system. The video evidence is below, as you see an embarrassed Bill Gates trying to cover up the fact that he encountered a "Blue Screen of Death" during the FIRST PUBLIC DEMO! In true Microsoft fashion, Windows 98 Second Edition was quietly released a year later.
Exhibit D -- Windows XP:
While a commercial success, Windows XP created IT nightmares for business owners worldwide. Once again Microsoft neglected to consider the needs of the consumers, removing all support for legacy DOS based applications. Huge corporations were left in limbo waiting to have their applications ported to an XP capable platform.
Another launch issue was the reformatted GUI interface, that required so much memory that most machines were incapable of upgrading. Windows XP also saw the rise of computer viruses in an Internet Age. Sadly, it has taken Microsoft seven years, three Service Packs, and an infinite number of patches to get the stability and security we experience today.
Exhibit E -- Windows Vista:
I don't even know where to begin... The development of Vista was originally slated to be an update to Windows XP that would completed in under two years. As time went on, the scope of the project expanded to the point that it was far more then an update.
Vista promised to address many of the shortcomings of prior Windows releases, but has yet to deliver on the hype. As a result, the adoption rate has been mediocre at best. Businesses that went through the difficult transition to Windows XP have thought twice about Vista, instead opting to stick with XP.
What is Microsoft's Problem?
As Internet access became more widespread, the idea of patching a broken product seemed like a good idea. But instead of a solution to lingering problems, Microsoft has used this as a crutch for lazy programming practices. Software development cycles have shifted from shipping a finished product, to instead shipping a buggy, unfinished product, with the intention of patching it later.
When Microsoft adopted this development process, it destroyed what was once a very lucrative business model. Part of the reason that Vista adoption has been so poor is the fact that the public no longer trusts their products.Many IT professionals say that you should never buy a Microsoft operating system before Service Pack 1.
This is a corporate culture issue that needs to be changed, before they alienate their entire install base. Microsoft should follow these 3 guidelines when developing a product:
- Admit past mistakes and learn from them.
- Avoid the patch mentality.
- Only release products you will be proud of.
Hopefully the guys in Redmond get the memo, because their future depends on it.