Recently, Bill Gates made a major admission. No, he's not donating some of his fortune to you.
During an interview at a Harvard fundraising campaign, Gates said requiring early Windows users to execute the difficult Control-Alt-Delete button combination to log on to early PCs was a mistake. The IBM keyboard designers didn't want to give Microsoft the "single button" it asked for, and Gates acquiesced.
"It was a mistake," Gates said.
But is this really the greatest sin of Gates, Microsoft and the PC? We can think of a few more:
Living to "help" PC owners while they used Microsoft Office, googly-eyed Clippy instead became an excessive bugaboo with good intentions and terrible execution. "It looks like you're writing a letter," Clippy would pop up and ask. No thanks, Clippy, we can handle this one.
Clippy showed up automatically in Microsoft Office starting in 1997. By 2001, Clippy was no longer a default function in the software and Microsoft even released commercials making fun of it. But we will admit that this picture of Bill Gates giving (a person dressed as) Clippy a T-shirt as a retirement gift in 2001 does break our hearts just a little bit.
Clippy was eradicated complete from Microsoft Office in a 2007 update.
2. The Blue Screen of Death
You're pleasantly browsing along on your PC when all of the sudden your screen turns blue, rapidly flashes line upon line of error code and restarts. Sorry, you just saw the Blue Screen of Death.
Each time a blue screen occurred, Microsoft creates a file that saves information about the crash to your disk. Chances are your old computer had a lot of these files. BSODs are primarily caused by problems with the computer's hardware.
Microsoft has reportedly worked tirelessly over the past few years to ensure Blue Screens of Death are scarce to non-existent in the newest generations of Windows.
3. Windows Vista
"For an operating system that took five years to create, Windows Vista’s reputation went down in flames amazingly quickly," the New York Times' David Pogue wrote in 2009. "Not every company lives to see the day when its customers beg, plead and sign petitions to bring back the previous version of its flagship product."
He's absolutely right. Microsoft's followup to Windows XP was met with immediate and nearly universal scorn. It was the cause of slower computer speeds, shorter battery life and a confusing interface.
"I would say that's [Vista] probably the thing I regret most," exiting Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told CNET in August.
"iPod killer?" Ha, OK.
Launched in 2006, Microsoft saw Zune as a challenger to the iPod. “Zune is a big investment for us," Gates said upon the Zune's introduction. "And it’s a vision that will carry us forward for years.”
But Microsoft was too late to the game. The Zune, and 2009's Zune HD, failed to take down Apple's established mp3 player. By 2012, Microsoft quietly phased out the Zune by redirecting Zune owners to Xbox Music, a service for the Xbox 360.
"The Zune is quite a compelling product, but it shows a strange schizophrenia of spirit," Ars Technica's Nate Anderson wrote in a 2006 review. "The detail work on the device is elegant and illustrates the thoughtful care lavished on the product, but basic functionality is crippled or poorly implemented."
5. Internet Explorer
Long before it became a punchline, Internet Explorer was nearly everyone's web browser of choice, racking up 95 percent of the market at its peak in 2003.
Internet Explorer slowly became the browser used to download the browser you actually wanted. A wave of faster and more customizable browsers rolled out over the years with Safari (2003), Mozilla Firefox (2004) and Google Chrome (2008). Although IE has trudged on with a solid retention of market share and the release of its 10th incarnation in 2012, the damage seems to be done as the gradual slide appears irreversible.
It also helps that the other browsers didn't develop the reputation of crashing constantly:
6. Comic Sans
"Comic Sans looks like someone threw up on the keyboard and that's what came out," graphic designer Dave Combs once told The Huffington Post. Clearly "the most hated font" stirs up some strong emotions.
As HuffPost reported, Vincent Connare, a typographic engineer, invented the font in 1993. While working at Microsoft, Connare was asked for his input on the fonts being used for the "Microsoft Bob" interface and virtual assistant. He decided to make a cartoonish font for a talking dog in the program.
The font was featured in Windows 95, and soon ended up on nearly every computer in the world. Thanks for nothing guys.
7. Steve Ballmer
Yes, Gates should apologize for Steve Ballmer, the college pal and longtime Microsoft executive he put in charge of the company in 2000. As seen above, Ballmer was at the helm while Microsoft made some of its most boneheaded decisions.
But on second thought, maybe we should be thanking Gates for Ballmer. Aren't all our lives richer because of this video?