Everyone fails at some point in their lives, some more than others, but owning up to that failure is the most difficult part of being human. On Friday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that he will be retiring within the next 12 months and also owned up to one of Microsoft’s biggest failures.
After working as CEO for 13 years, Ballmer oversaw many operating systems, software launches and product releases. Through all the success, he admitted that he particularly regretted the launch of Windows Vista the most. In an interview with Mary Jo Foley, Ballmer states,
“I would say probably the thing I regret most is the, what shall I call it, the loopedy-loo that we did that was sort of Longhorn to Vista. I would say that’s probably the thing I regret most. And, you know, there are side effects of that when you tie up a big team to do something that doesn’t prove out to be as valuable.”
The “loopedy-loo” Ballmer describes was the thing most heavily criticized surrounding its launch. Vista’s high system requirements meant that many people, even those with new PCs, weren’t able to access all of the OS’ features. There were also many issues surrounding compatibility with pre-Vista hardware. User Account Control was also criticized for producing too many prompts, causing many users to simply disable the feature entirely. This caused more of a problem than a benefit for users.
It was not until two years later that Microsoft came up with another operating system, Windows 7, to correct the issues Vista was having and derived a whole new look that Windows users are now at ease with. Windows 8 was the last operating system released under Ballmer’s rein. Come October we will see what Bellmer’s plans are for Windows 8.1 and new management will have in store.
Overall, Ballmer is most proud of the impact Microsoft has had on peoples’ lives over the years. Being a part of “the birth of intelligent personal computing” was a significant part of his career. The future for Ballmer is unknown but he is ready for a change and for someone new to spruce up the Microsoft name for the better.