Greg Ferro - Work to Live

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Rant: Microsoft Loathing - Nine Ways to Hate Their Products

Over the last twenty years, I’ve become more and more disenchanted with Microsoft as a vendor / supplier, especially Windows.

Loathing 1 - It's still not secure

Frankly, after eight major versions, hundreds of patches, multiple billions of dollars of investment and development (or so they say) we still don't have a secure operating system. Why can I never feel confident that my Windows desktop is safe for my personal data.

Worse: It is effectively compulsory to pay another company to provide with extra software that protects against any security (virus / malware) problems. Why do I have to pay protection money to fix a faulty product ? Why has Microsoft not bothered to develop secure, well written, well maintained software that is not vulnerable ?

Even more maddening, why does the IT Industry continue let this happen ? How can we accept and use an insecure product that hasn’t been fixed in the last decade ? If all Corporate Security take the default view that MS Windows products are inherently insecure, why are we still buying them at all ?

Then we spend even more money to recover from that bad decision.

Loathing 2 - It still crashes

Even when running in an emulator, or a certified desktop, and using mainstream devices my Windows desktops crash. Big stinky, dead stop, complete lockups and BSOD and data loss. I mean really, once a month maybe, once a week even possibly, but couple of times a week or daily (in my case) isn't acceptable.

Loathing 3 - Blaming Device Drivers

Microsoft always blames the device drivers for crashes and lockups. I blame Microsoft for allowing bad software drivers to break their operating system. Surely, it should be possible to write interfaces and APIs that are secure and maintain operational integrity. (See Loathing 1).

Loathing 4 - It has no class

Alright, this is a personal choice. Windows still has no aesthetic sense of use interaction that appeals to me. I still find the interface confusing and always have to go looking for programs and utilities in places that are not obvious. The idea of hiding menu options in recursive and contextual menus is a game I don't want to play.

And those people who say Aero is good…. you have no class either. It makes my eyes bleed.

Loathing 5 - The Microsoft Office Ribbon

The Microsoft ribbon is a huge insult to user intelligence. Obviously, users are incapable of moving beyond some predefined interface, therefore all users are forced to use the ribbon. . I _hate_ the Ribbon. I really, really, really hate the stupid, insulting, not my way of working, changing, irrelevant to my style, cant-find-anything-because-its-always-changing ribbon which uses the badly organised keyboard shortcuts.

I want to set it up MY WAY, give me a customisation option at least. The ribbon is either on or off, and no customisation is possible. Bah, stuff that.

Loathing 6 - Steve Ballmer

One look at this guy presenting and you get creeped out. Him and Eric Schmidt from Google - creepy. Right ? Shivers up the spine kind of creepy. Walk to the other side of the road to avoid creepy.

You don’t want to do business with Steve Ballmer. You don’t want to give him money.

Loathing 7 - Expensive

Windows Server is worth how much ? And Microsoft Office costs as much as typical pay rise for user or employee. Microsoft maintenance contracts - how much value are you getting from Microsoft for support ? When was the last time you called Microsoft and got a worthy, valuable answer to a question ?

Not worth it.

Loathing 8 - Reboot after patch.

I hate that Microsoft requires a reboot for every patch update. I know it's because virus, malware, and applications can lock libraries and thus a reboot is a "just to be safe", but why haven't Microsoft designed the operating system to stop this from happening at least some of the time.

Nine - Cost

And for all this, we pay a seriously overpriced amount of money. With licensing terms that are deeply onerous.


The whole ethic of mediocrity and customer loathing exists in Microsoft other products as well. Sharepoint, HyperV, .Net, IE9, etc are all products afflicted with the same disease. Constant patches and insecurities, poor performance and poor freedom of choices.

I tend to be a user of Apple products because Microsoft is bad, not specifically because Apple is better, that’s what drive me to the change. Even so, I’m hoping that Microsoft can return to prominence. Once they achieved great things in changing the IT industry by introducing PC desktops, producing best in class software such as MS Word 2.0 in its day. But right now, the less I can partner with Microsoft the better my professional life is.