Microsoft at 40: 5 Successes, 5 Failures - InformationWeek

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4/9/2015
05:05 PM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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Microsoft at 40: 5 Successes, 5 Failures

In honor of Microsoft's 40th birthday, InformationWeek reflects on the successes, failures, and lessons learned that built the company as it stands today.
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Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
4/10/2015 | 11:28:54 AM
Re: A couple of hardware products
@pablo great point, Xbox was another big hit from Microsoft. The ergonomic keyboard is also worthy of inclusion among its best products... I smell a follow-up list in the making.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
4/10/2015 | 10:52:50 AM
Re: Tough Critic
@JerryRioux if I had chosen to spotlight all of Microsoft's highlights in 40 years, I'd be writing throughout the next week! Though with that kind of time, I would have chosen to include Win 3.1, 7 and Xbox among Microsoft's other big successes. I remember using WordPerfect when I was younger and liked it, but it was no competition for Word combined with the rest of the Office suite.
rjones2818
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rjones2818,
User Rank: Strategist
4/10/2015 | 10:22:08 AM
What? No Windows ME?
You have to have some serious flops not to include Windows ME as a top five flop.

 

And...now that I think of it, Steve probably should have been listed as a top five flop as well.  Windows 10 is a coin flip at this time.
mpineda78501
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mpineda78501,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/10/2015 | 10:05:28 AM
where do you leave Enterprise IT tools?
MS has consistently delivered great products for IT and enterprise for decades.  Among them: Windows Server, Exchange, WSUS, SCE, SQL Server, Lync.  We should give the company more credit than just 5 successes in 40 years.  Perhaps its largest contribution to the technology industry was the standardization of platforms for developers and users in general.
Pablo Valerio
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Pablo Valerio,
User Rank: Ninja
4/10/2015 | 9:36:22 AM
A couple of hardware products
Kelly, 

I belive that Microsoft deserves some praise for a couple of hardware products:

1. The Ergonomic Keyboard: Introduced in 1994 was designed to help people type more naturally. It became very popular and other manufacturers started to offer similar products.

2. The X-Box: Although the console market is quite competitive MS has been sucessful in making the X-Box one of the top gaming platforms. The Xbox + Kinect combo is one of the most powerful systems you can connect to your TV.

 

 
scooper612
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scooper612,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/10/2015 | 9:27:27 AM
Missing the biggest Misses
What about BOB?  No, not the movie.....the ......well, I guess you could call it an OS.  Or, maybe not.  Either way this "front-end" geared mainly for kids completely missed the mark that others like Leapfrog have made a killing at.

But at the absolute top of my worst (and hated) list has to be Windows ME.  After they hurried the release of 98 riddled with bugs and then redeamed themselves with 98se (it was good), they then took all that was solid in 95 and 98se and completely through it out the windows (yes, pun intended) and put out the abomination they called the "Millenium Edition."  The only thing millenial about that piece of crap were the bugs and BSODs.

Great column Kelly!
JerryRioux
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JerryRioux,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/9/2015 | 5:53:14 PM
Tough Critic
Boy, you're a tough critic, Kelly.  Only five successes in 40 years???  IMHO, Microsoft had far more successes than failures over the decades.  Windows 3.1 was definitely a success - especially for those of us who'd used earlier versions of the product.  Word and Excel were clearly individual successes longer before Office arrived.  They handily toppled WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 from their thrones.  (Though, I still miss a few of WordPerfect's superior features.)  Outlook and FrontPage were also winners, though FrontPage's heydays are long gone. 

I'm also surprised that you didn't include RT on the failures list.  Though I personally love using RT, it was quite a commercial flop.
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