Microsoft's biggest blunder: Vista or Windows Me?

With the news that Microsoft is recommending that some companies should abandon Vista deployment plans and move instead full-bore into Windows 7, Microsoft is beginning to close the chapter on Vista, one that the company would rather forget. But Vista wasn't the company's biggest blunder --- Windows Me was far worse.

Vista is slower than XP, and when it launched, it had too many hardware woes. But it was also a major step ahead for Windows. The Windows interface got a much-needed facelift, plenty of new useful features were added, such as the Network Center and Network Map, and Aero added some nice eye candy. I'll admit it: I'm a fan of Vista, and I think it's been unnecessarily reviled.

Windows Me, on the other hand, was bad in just about every way. Start off with the name. It was officially named Windows Millenium Edition, which sounds like a bad, knock-off science fiction movie with cheesy special effects...and come to think of it, that's not a bad description of the operating system, either. Windows Me was full of bugs, slow, and unstable. People had trouble getting it to start, getting it to stop, and handling it while it was running.

The operating system was a follow-on to Windows 98 SE (Special Edition), and had no reason for being other than that Microsoft figured it better get something out the door in time for the year 2000. Some people, in fact, referred to it as the true Y2K bug.

So as we bid Windows Vista good-bye between now and October, keep in mind that no matter the complaints you might have had about it, there was a Windows-based operating system that was far worse.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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