Microsoft's 13 Worst Missteps of All Time
DOS 4.0, Zune, and Windows 8 are but a few of the landmarks among 25 years of failures Redmond-style
Mon, January 14, 2013
Along the way, Microsoft has had more than its fair share of bad mistakes; 2012 alone was among the most tumultuous years in Microsoft history I can recall. This year you can bet that Redmond will do everything in its power to prove 2012 naysayers wrong. To do so, Microsoft must learn from the following dirty baker's dozen of its most dreck-laden decisions, the ones that have had the very worst consequences, from a customer's point of view.
Microsoft misstep No. 13: DOS 4.0In July 1988, IBM and Microsoft released IBM DOS 4.0, and the wheels fell off with data-eating bugs, corrupted disks, and mismanaged memory. Fingers have been pointing ever since. Microsoft's side says IBM botched the testing; IBM's side says Microsoft shouldn't have expected IBM DOS 4.0 to work on non-IBM hardware.
IBM shipped the partial-fix IBM DOS 4.01 in September, but Microsoft took two more months to ship the clearly identified, and differentiated, MS-DOS 4.01. Many people who bought new computers in late 1988 insisted on DOS 3.3, not 4.0 or 4.01. Customers didn't know what to make of the new versions and largely stuck with the devil they knew, 3.3.
Microsoft misstep No. 12: The evil cuties Bob, Clippy, and RoverSymbolized by a big yellow blob with nerdy glasses, Microsoft Bob -- code-named "Utopia" -- stands as the quintessential Microsoft failure by which all others must be measured. In a departure from the menu-based interface for Windows 95, which was released seven months after Bob, Microsoft Bob's main screen looked like a cartoon living room, with graphic links to a word processor, finance application, calendar, Rolodex, checkbook, and other programs. Click on the grandfather clock's face and the calendar program appeared. Click on the envelope and the email program sprang to life -- Bob cut a special deal with MCI Mail whereby, for just $5 per month, a Bob owner could send up to 15 emails per month, absolutely free.