Steve Ballmer names Windows Vista as biggest regret while CEO

By on August 24, 2013, 10:30 AM
microsoft, windows, vista, ceo, ballmer, steve ballmer, windows vista, regret

On Friday, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer announced that he would be retiring from his position as CEO within the next 12 months. The long-standing executive oversaw many operating system, software and product releases as CEO, but speaking to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, he regret one particular product launch the most: Windows Vista.

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.

It's not surprising that Ballmer regrets the "loopedy-loo" of Windows Vista the most, as the operating system was heavily criticized around its launch for a number of reasons. High system requirements meant that many people, even with new PCs, weren't able to access all of the OS' features, and there were 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.

Windows 7, also released under Ballmer's reign, addressed many of the issues with Windows Vista to become one of Microsoft's most successful operating systems. Currently Vista sits on around 4% market share, with the majority of its users swiftly upgrading to Windows 7 after its release.

It's not Windows 7 that Ballmer is most proud of though, but the impact that Microsoft has had on people's lives over the course of his work at the company. He highlights being a significant part of "the birth of intelligent personal computing" throughout the '80s and '90s, and he isn't quite sure where the next chapter of his life might lead him.




User Comments: 52

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1 person liked this | psycros psycros said:

He should star in a sitcom as the whacky dad who thinks he's hip to what's hot with the kids. Either that or he should build a programming team to make a really user-friendly, high-performance and relatively closed OS that supports Windows and Linux programs automagically.

jetkami said:

I guess he cant tell the entire truth like Vista ran rings around windows 8.

stateofjermaine stateofjermaine said:

Is anyone else find it kind of awkward/weird that he's announcing his retirement a year out? Maybe this is a normal thing.

stateofjermaine stateofjermaine said:

Is anyone else finding it kind of awkward/weird that he's announced his retirement a year out? Maybe this is a normal thing.

Gah, typos.

Guest said:

Windows vista is the biggest regret? Not windows 8?

Lurker101 said:

Is anyone else find it kind of awkward/weird that he's announcing his retirement a year out? Maybe this is a normal thing.

I think it's a strategic thing. A CEO just announcing he's stepping down out of the blue can cause an investor panic, while if it's announced well ahead of time and that you're already carefully vetting a successor, the impact can not only be minimized, but hype can be built for the next guy in charge.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

Not sure admitting that your biggest failure is your NEW OS is going to play well anywhere in the M$ cosmos. besides, everyone already knows it is.

Windows vista is the biggest regret? Not windows 8?

2 people like this | BMfan BMfan said:

Just maybe he wants to be a comedian next.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

My system didn't represent the majority at the time, but Vista w/SP1 ran smooth on my 2600+, 1GB RAM and 6600GT. I never looked at XP again after that. Pre SP1, I hated Vista for its software incompatibilities. I never used compatibility mode so much in my life... assuming the programs installed at alll.

I remember the "Vista Ready" PC's debacle that hurt MS a LOT. That was some desperate and obvious damage control on day one.

Vista and W8 are two different beasts with two different problems. W8 is useable, Vista (pre SP1) was not.

TechGamer TechGamer said:

Just maybe he wants to be a comedian next.

^^ u just made my day haha

2 people like this | Scshadow said:

I love how people conveniently forgot how much they hated Vista now that Windows 8 is around. How many have used both? Heck, how many of you have used either? I hate "hate bandwagons". Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of experiencing a problem with either OS. But any unbiased person would see that clearly the incompatibility problems that I personally didn't have to endure with Vista make it, BY FAR, the worst OS. Windows 8, on the other hand, I've gotten more then used to. I think the charms bar is refreshing and actually quite useful. Metro start menu is still kinda meh to me because I don't like ADHD tiles all over my screen but I see how many should actually like it.

PC nerd PC nerd said:

I'd still rather use Vista than Shitdows 8.

EEatGDL said:

Yes, it was released in the Ballmer's era but it was developed and defended by Bill Gates.

tonylukac said:

I would rather, and do, use vista rather than windows 8. Windows 8 destroyed the whole pc industry, and has less features to allow for the tile overhead. Now, rt is going and we don't have the features anyway.

Railman said:

I guess he cant tell the entire truth like Vista ran rings around windows 8.

I did think he might change his mind once he has retired but that would damage his shareholding!

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Windows 7 wouldn't have been made so well without the trial and error of Windows Vista. As much as I hate to admit it, it did have some purpose.

Guest said:

Balmeristhan

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Vista is the reason we have windows 7 lol

Guest said:

Vista was given to India to see if MS could have everything done there (cheaper).

Windows 7 fixed the India debacle. Windows 8 is far superior to Vista, just get Classic shell or from a dozen other start orb replacements. I run 7, and 8 on another machine (not new hardware) and Windows 8 desktop (with Classic Shell) is just fine. I won't get into the tpouch UI on a non-touch screen, that is another story

1 person liked this | Guest said:

His biggest regret isnt that windows xp is STILL better than vista, 7, and 8?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Just maybe he wants to be a comedian next.

I think he would do really well with a plump red nose and a party hat.

Windows 7 wouldn't have been made so well without the trial and error of Windows Vista. As much as I hate to admit it, it did have some purpose.
As much as it pains me to say this, so does Windows 8.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

Vista was a true disgrace, and sadly helped Apple and it's Mac reach new heights...which is both bad and good. Competition is the best thing for the consumers. The worst part of this is how it resulted in the catastrophe that is the Tablet home PC OS (Windows 8) good god, kill it with FIREEE!!!!!!!

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Windows 7 wouldn't have been made so well without the trial and error of Windows Vista. As much as I hate to admit it, it did have some purpose.
It's probably worse when you realize that Vista's beta test was in the form of retail copies.That was fairly obnoxious on the part of M$

I still think XP is the best version of Windows ever released. It doesn't do as much as Win 7, but it does a whole lot more with less, and less competent hardware, than either Vista or 7.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If we critique Vista vs. Windows ME, I think that he did ok.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

"...he isn't quite sure where the next chapter of his life might lead him."

That should be sailing on a yacht! He's earned some R&R, and I hope that he enjoys his next adventure.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

If we critique Vista vs. Windows ME, I think that he did ok.
Yeah well, like I was saying above, M$ likes to use the buying public as their beta testers, and the "Mistake Edition" was certainly no exception.

It also makes a great deal of sense that Ballmer would cite Vista as, "his greatest regret". After all, he can "share the fail" with Bill Gates. Window 8" however, is a turd all his own. I wonder if retiring in this case, could be likened to walking away without flushing the toilet.....:oops:

...[ ]....That should be sailing on a yacht! He's earned some R&R, and I hope that he enjoys his next adventure.
Since he's going to bail and not, "go down with the "SS Windows 8", many of us look forward to him going down for real with his next ship.

1 person liked this | TheBigFatClown said:

I love how people conveniently forgot how much they hated Vista now that Windows 8 is around. How many have used both? Heck, how many of you have used either? I hate "hate bandwagons". Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of experiencing a problem with either OS. But any unbiased person would see that clearly the incompatibility problems that I personally didn't have to endure with Vista make it, BY FAR, the worst OS. Windows 8, on the other hand, I've gotten more then used to. I think the charms bar is refreshing and actually quite useful. Metro start menu is still kinda meh to me because I don't like ADHD tiles all over my screen but I see how many should actually like it.

I like the way you say that you "got used to it". LMFAO. That tells the whole story right there. You never heard anybody saying that about any previous operating system. "Yeah, after 6 weeks I am finally getting used to Windows 7".

Bugs can be fixed. Operating System UI design choices made on purpose cannot be fixed. I would rather use an operating system with bugs versus an operating system that I have no interest in at all. Enjoy your "dumbed" down operating system. Nothing wrong with a chimpanzee interface. I just don't happen to be a chimpanzee. Enjoy.

TheBigFatClown said:

"...he isn't quite sure where the next chapter of his life might lead him."

That should be sailing on a yacht! He's earned some R&R, and I hope that he enjoys his next adventure.

That's funny. I was thinking more of a conviction for perpetrating a fraud on the american public, trying to pass off Windows 8 as an actual desktop operating system. Good thing I am not in charge of his retirement benefits.

Guest said:

"Windows vista is the biggest regret? Not windows 8?"

Hahaha :D my thoughts exactly. Hopefully this fiasco Windows 8 brings for them results in a much more appealing Windows 9 :)

1 person liked this | BMfan BMfan said:

I was one of the few people that liked Vista 64bit,never had problems running it,probably because I didn't believe the recommended spec's.I started running it just after it became RTM,was never really a fan of XP.

I started trying 7 when it was still beta and I stuck with it since. Since 8 has come out I have tried it 3 different times in the hope that the updates will make it better but they did nothing and from what I've seen of 8,1 it's not getting any better.

1 person liked this | Nobina Nobina said:

I still think of Windows XP as the best OS released. And I hate both Vista and 8, but will still use Vista over 8 any day.

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You never heard anybody saying that about any previous operating system. "Yeah, after 6 weeks I am finally getting used to Windows 7".
Every OS has a learning curve that requires them to get used to it. I was growing tired of XP during the last part of 2008. I started dual booting Windows XP and Vista. During a month or so while I was still learning Vista, I discovered Windows 7 was in Beta and could be downloaded. I then started dual booting Windows XP and Windows 7. There was less of a learning curve with Windows 7 than for XP, in my opinion. But there was still a learning curve, that required getting used to. The only difference with Windows 8, I don't want to get used to it.

Guest said:

Windows ME was bad. Windows Vista was bad. Windows 8 is worse than bad.

Guest said:

Xp ? Are you serious ?

Come on ... evolve.. learn.. you'll see win 8 is your friend... win 7 was your friend all along..

don't be shy, don't live under the xp rock...

Guest said:

Ballmer was the CEO when MS made the most quality operating system, the Windows XP. Before Windows XP Microsoft didn't had prestige as a company. The Windows 95 was very unstable for the role of the global computers operating system.

I don't think that Microsoft will go better without Ballmer as CEO.

JC713 JC713 said:

Vista wasnt that bad. It was just the issues with compatibility that broke the OS.

1 person liked this | soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

It should be Windows 8 then Vista.

Camikazi said:

Windows ME was bad. Windows Vista was bad. Windows 8 is worse than bad.

I can't take you seriously when you say that Windows 8 (a different yet fully usable OS) is worse than Windows ME (and OS that would literally crash for no reason). Your opinion means nothing until you learn to think and speak rationally and not emotionally.

1 person liked this | MrBungle said:

Vista was given to India to see if MS could have everything done there (cheaper).

Windows 7 fixed the India debacle. Windows 8 is far superior to Vista, just get Classic shell or from a dozen other start orb replacements. I run 7, and 8 on another machine (not new hardware) and Windows 8 desktop (with Classic Shell) is just fine. I won't get into the tpouch UI on a non-touch screen, that is another story

Products should be judged by how they work out of the box, not how they work after they are modified by 3rd party add ons.

MrBungle said:

I think one of Vista's biggest issues was that people were buying computers that were just too slow... Vista really needed a minimum of a dual core CPU and 3GB of memory and at the time many people were buying budget boxes with single core CPUs and 512MB/1GB of RAM and it ran like crap.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Good riddance, Ballmer, and don't let the door hit your fat butt on your way out. Also, I hope MS itself doesn't take too long to follow you out of History's door.

Psycho CEO of a dishonest company selling crappy products, no one will be sad to see any of you go (except perhaps the suckers that invested in your stock).

Guest said:

@ Camikazi: Actually I was one of the lucky ME users, I didn't have severe crashing. I did however return to 98 SE as my computer was extra slow with ME (similar to Vista when it came out).

Windows 8 is essentially Windows 7 with minor improvements but touch screen features forced onto desktop users. It may be a good tablet OS, but on a desktop computer, Windows 7 is the obvious choice.

I am not even using Windows at all any more. I've switched to Ubuntu. The whole Microsoft leaking exploits ahead of patching them kind of activated my tinfoil hat mode.

EEatGDL said:

I was one of the few people that liked Vista 64bit,never had problems running it,probably because I didn't believe the recommended spec's.I started running it just after it became RTM,was never really a fan of XP.

I started trying 7 when it was still beta and I stuck with it since. Since 8 has come out I have tried it 3 different times in the hope that the updates will make it better but they did nothing and from what I've seen of 8,1 it's not getting any better.

Wow, that's pretty much my own experience. The only issue I had with Vista 64-bit was that I couldn't ever get to work a TV card I bought for it even when there were drivers for my system, updated .NET framework and tryed for almost a year to get it to work and it just worked without problems when I migrated to 7 on the first try. Other than that... the other hardware, games (from Age 2 to World in Conflict), software ran well.

For the time I bought a comfortable system to use it with (4 GB of RAM and a Core 2 Duo), problem is when you tryed to run that with 1 GB of RAM and low/mid processor like my father's laptop (1 GB of RAM, Pentium Dual-Core @1.73 GHz and Windows Vista Business 32-bit), Windows updates were a headache on that thing.

Guest said:

Windows Vista Version = 6.0

Windows 7 version = 6.1

and yes, these are almost the same thing.

Best windows you can get at this moment: Windows XP Mode under Windows Virtual PC

and yes, this is almost as good as Windows XP native.

Guest said:

People are misunderstanding this comment. Windows Vista wasn't a failure the way the Vista-haters think it was - it was a much needed overhaul and laid the foundation for Windows 7 (which is 99% identical to Vista). What Ballmer is referring to is that Longhorn was meant to be much, much more than what Vista ended up being (essentially playing catchup with the rest of the OS world). A huge amount of resources were committed to it, whilst XP stagnated and looked increasingly dated in comparison to OS X, and even Linux, and ultimately their designs for a ground-up redesign of the entire OS fell through.

Guest said:

God still so many babies crying about Windows 8. Learn to work with the new tools presented to you. It's a very nice os.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

God still so many babies crying about Windows 8. Learn to work with the new tools presented to you. It's a very nice os.

Why does everyone assume it is trouble adapting that is the issue? For the record I wouldn't have trouble adapting. I don't want to look at the shit called Windows 8.

Raoul Duke Raoul Duke said:

Microsoft customers name Steve Ballmer as biggest regret while CEO

How Win7 snuck in there, I'll never know....

mojorisin23 mojorisin23 said:

Every time I hear something about microsoft, I just think, what have they done lately? and by lately I mean the last decade?? other than xbox, they haven't done squat. their hayday was the 90s. but after the internet bubble burst in 2000, they have become irrelevant as far as innovation goes.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

He should have left when Bill did..Can't think the old ways of doing business. Microsoft was too busy going after Apple now look where they're. Surface RT should have been made more affordable feature full access to wide range of apps. Even made it to support x86 instead of ARM processor. The thinking from this CEO is odd one.

Windows when it first come out wasn't too costly but look at it today. Windows 7 is better than what they have right now. But if you really need touch then Windows 7 can deliver it but it does require CTS pen base (same use on Android/iPad) if a digitalizer pen won't do.

Windows 8 needs a Desktop version without the tiles like Windows 7 is.

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