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A Real Bill Gates Rant 293

lou ibmix XI submitted an email written by Bill Gates a few years ago and turned over to the feds as part of the government's antitrust case. Great quotes like 'Someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable?' and 'The lack of attention to usability represented by these experiences blows my mind.' We like to think of him as an abstract, but I think this is interesting stuff. Also, this might seem familiar. Oops.
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A Real Bill Gates Rant

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  • by Valtor ( 34080 ) on Monday February 23, 2009 @10:42AM (#26957227) Homepage

    I know it's a dupe, but I still love to see Gates say: "But that is just the start of the crap..."

    It says it all right there. At least Microsoft knows about the problems with Windows. It is said that realizing there is an issue is the first step to resolving it :)

  • Like a complete moron who has not even the slightest clue what a computer is never mind how to use it for even the most basic functions.

    So, you've never even heard of usability testing? Note that almost every question he asked was rhetorical. He was putting himself in the position of a non-technical user who wanted to do something that should be simple but who was getting thwarted at every turn.

    But hes a business man not a nerd he gust acts like one so as not to make the employees uncomfortable.

    OK, I like Gates about as much as the next person who doesn't like him, but he's definitely geekier than 90% of Slashdotters. The fact that he can step back and look at things from an outsider's perspective is actually a good thing and something you should give him credit for.

  • Ironic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Monday February 23, 2009 @10:53AM (#26957341)
    So, we have a story which implies Windows would be better if its architects used it more often and were therefore aware of its crappiness. And it's being duped, because Slashdot's editors don't read Slashdot often enough to notice they're reposting a really popular story. There's a lesson there somewhere.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Monday February 23, 2009 @10:56AM (#26957377)

    Bill Gates is the one who, with Steve Balmer, created a Microsoft where it is more important to win by leveraging Windows than competing on quality. He's also overseen them target one software technology after another which were cross platform and therefore threats and had to be eliminated.

    What was once a tiny software company who made a Basic interpreter became a monster threatening anyone and everyone if they did not do things One Microsoft Way. This is Bill Gates' fault as much as it is Steve Balmer. Just look at the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation for more proof. From what I've heard, if any school or library takes funds from them, they are not allowed to use open source software. They just constantly limit choice and that has been Microsoft's business method for over 20 years. IMO


  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Monday February 23, 2009 @10:59AM (#26957413) Journal

    I'm keeping a copy of this and some other beauties. Anytime anyone wants to know why I think they should switch to Linux of OSX, I just show them the emails. Even Bill G is tired of Windows and how it works, why shouldn't joe the pc user be?

  • by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Monday February 23, 2009 @11:05AM (#26957471)

    It's funny that he praises the add/remove programs control panel. Try opening it up when you have a file system mounted that contains a whole lot of files. Apparently this control panel, even though it has a cache of installed programs in some subdirectory, plus roughly the same info in a registry subtree, this sterling piece of software goes off and looks at every file on every device. That's the only explanation I can think of why the disks whir for like two hours before this control panel lists anything.

    And even then all that work was for naught, because the items listed have not been even slightly vetted for correctness. You click on some of them and get an immediate "no uninstaller found" or even more cryptic messages, and no way to remove these useless entries. This control panel is a classic fail, with it doing slow and useless work several times over and still missing the whole point of what it should be doing.

    Bill, you got real problems when you think this really crapalicious control panel is a shining star.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Monday February 23, 2009 @11:14AM (#26957549)

    >>The vision at Microsoft has always been to try and reduce complexity.

    If this was true, then what's more onerous is that they failed, and did so in repeated, dramatically awful ways. The competing divisions, the lack of inter-disciplinary leadership, confused market views, the lie of 'customer-focused' decision making are all what were embodied in Microsoft's decided failure. Add in the mix of tawdry business practices, lack of belief in criticism, and an insular greed-based nature, and it's not a wonder even Gates could see and feel and experience the ultimate dysfunction. And Windows 7 cures none of that, years after this message. Instead, it continues the Microsoft habituation of trailing edge technology, executed poorly as an excuse to the madness of Vista. Ballmer needs to find a real replacement for himself and get the hell out.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arendjr ( 673589 ) on Monday February 23, 2009 @11:36AM (#26957783) Homepage

    Has Microsoft done some not cool stuff? Sure...I guess. At the same time, Bill Gates created an excellent company from the ground up, arguably created an entire industry (which, if you work with computers, you can thank him for your job), and continuously made the company profitable over and over again.

    You already say its arguable that he created an entire industry, and it is. I believe this industry would have existed perfectly without them. And working for a web company I can tell you that Microsoft is actively holding back the industry you claim they created.

    And of course Bill Gates is supporting strong IP. Duh. You would too if you had that kind of money and industry to protect.

    So the richest man in the world is lobbying for laws that will make him even richer at the cost of others. And now you claim we should feel empathy for him?? To me, it's kinda like the definition of greed...

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday February 23, 2009 @12:28PM (#26958367) Homepage Journal

    I don't think anyone was trying to manipulate you. But it does seem that your zeal to hate the great "evil" makes you look like you have a chip on your shoulder.

    The question there has to be whether it's implied or just (incorrectly) inferred. I don't only despise Microsoft and I don't believe that they are inherently immensely worse than their competitors, or J. Random Corporation. What I believe is that they are in a unique position to do damage, and they take advantage. And they must be stopped. I do believe that the rise of the corporation signalled the end of personal rights, and if we want them back we're going to have to do certain things to limit the rights, powers, and abilities of corporations in general. Given a chance to attempt to create my own perfect society (snicker snort) I would propose a model in which all businesses are cooperatives.

    If a government and market allows a business to convince them of certain policies to implement, then we should be blaming those elected to the decision-making positions who go along with it, not the businesses themselves.

    If I hand someone a gun knowing that he will shoot you with it, then both he and I are liable when you get shot, albeit to varying degrees. The ability to do a thing has never been sufficient justification to do it.

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre