Even Bill Gates Hates Microsoft!

4 comments June 26th, 2008at 11:39am Posted by Eli

This is great.  The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Microsoft blogger found an e-mail from Bill Gates to the rest of Microsoft senior management from 2003, complaining about the awful design and total unusability of Windows and the Microsoft website.  Some highlights:

I am quite disappointed at how Windows Usability has been going backwards and the program management groups don’t drive usability issues.


I decided to download (Moviemaker) and buy the Digital Plus pack … so I went to Microsoft.com. They have a download place so I went there.

The first 5 times I used the site it timed out while trying to bring up the download page. Then after an 8 second delay I got it to come up.

This site is so slow it is unusable.


I tried scoping to Media stuff. Still no moviemaker. I typed in movie. Nothing. I typed in movie maker. Nothing.

So I gave up and sent mail to Amir saying – where is this Moviemaker download? Does it exist?

So they told me that using the download page to download something was not something they anticipated.


I thought for sure now I would see a button to just go do the download.

In fact it is more like a puzzle that you get to solve. It told me to go to Windows Update and do a bunch of incantations.

This struck me as completely odd. Why should I have to go somewhere else and do a scan to download moviemaker?


Then it told me to reboot my machine. Why should I do that? I reboot every night — why should I reboot at that time?

So I did the reboot because it INSISTED on it. Of course that meant completely getting rid of all my Outlook state.


So now I think I am going to have Moviemaker. I go to my add/remove programs place to make sure it is there.

It is not there.

What is there? The following garbage is there. Microsoft Autoupdate Exclusive test package, Microsoft Autoupdate Reboot test package, Microsoft Autoupdate testpackage1. Microsoft AUtoupdate testpackage2, Microsoft Autoupdate Test package3.

Someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable? The file system is no longer usable. The registry is not usable. This program listing was one sane place but now it is all crapped up.

But that is just the start of the crap. Later I have listed things like Windows XP Hotfix see Q329048 for more information. What is Q329048? Why are these series of patches listed here? Some of the patches just things like Q810655 instead of saying see Q329048 for more information.

What an absolute mess.


I enter it all in and because it decides I have mistyped something I have to try again. Of course it has cleared out most of what I typed.

I try (typing) the right stuff in 5 times and it just keeps clearing things out for me to type them in again.

So after more than an hour of craziness and making my programs list garbage and being scared and seeing that Microsoft.com is a terrible website I haven’t run Moviemaker and I haven’t got the plus package.

The lack of attention to usability represented by these experiences blows my mind. I thought we had reached a low with Windows Network places or the messages I get when I try to use 802.11. (don’t you just love that root certificate message?)

On the one hand, I think it’s great that Bill Gates has the same kind of awful, frustrating experiences with Microsoft that the rest of us Windows users do (shut it, Mac & Linux people).  On the other hand, it’s pretty pathetic that five years later hardly anything has changed.

(h/t Engadget)

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Technology


  • 1. spork_incident  |  June 26th, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    If Gates had a Mac he wouldn’t have these problems.


  • 2. Cujo359  |  June 26th, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    If Gates could buy a Linux computer from Dell (oh wait, how do you do that?), he wouldn’t have these problems.

    shut it, Mac & Linux people

    Oh, sorry. Actually, for years, my philosophy about what I’d choose to use has been “anything but Windows”. Macs, Linux, Unix, Solaris, they’re all good. And frankly, if it weren’t for Visio’s still proprietary and utterly unfathomable file format, I’d never have a reason to go anywhere near a Window box.

  • 3. Cujo359  |  June 26th, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Oh, and BTW, I agree with Gates about the decline in Windows. Windows 2000 was the height of usability and reliability, as far as I’m concerned. It’s been downhill ever since.

    Note that this e-mail pre-dates Vista by four years. Nothing’s changed.

  • 4. Eli  |  June 27th, 2008 at 9:53 am

    My two biggest problems with Macs are the premium pricing and the difficulty of customizing. I like to be able to get into both the hardware and software guts and change things around, and that’s a lot easier with a PC.

    My two biggest problems with Linux (and they’ve probably both improved considerably in the 8-10 years since I last dabbled with it) are the incompleteness of the interface, making it necessary to locate and hack various obscure configuration files to make changes, and the lack of application compatibility, especially games.

    I know WINE has made some great strides on the latter, but the applications it’s compatible with mostly look to be about 5-10 years old. At a bare minimum, I need my Adobe Lightroom and my Madden NFL Football.

    I tried messing around with one of those Ubuntu distros that you can run right off the CD, but it revved my fan alarmingly (it sounded like an airplane taking off, and possibly contributed to the premature degredation of my fan and eventual heat death of my laptop) and it wouldn’t mount my existing partitions. I didn’t have the space or the patience to do an install, so the experiment ended there.

    Windows is far from perfect, but it’s pretty stable for me (I had six months of continuous uptime on it at one point) and it does everything that I need it to do. Well, XP does, at least. Vista has some serious issues with public wifi and Treos, and has also disabled one of my favorite videocard capabilities, that of detecting video content and sending it full-screen to the TV-out port. MS hilariously claims that they did this to somehow protect our PCs from uncertified televisions.

Contact Eli



Most Recent Posts




June 2008
« May   Jul »

Thinking Blogger

Pittsburgh Webloggers

Site Meter

View My Stats *