Epic Bill Gates e-mail rant from 2003

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/23/epic-bill-gates-e-mail-rant-fr.html


Microsoft’s site is still a mess, 15 years later. Maybe not quite the shitshow described in that article, but mostly only because you can Google the product and get sent directly to the download page. Also, I don’t think they try to distribute software via Windows Update anymore, which is good because it wasn’t designed for that.

But it is still hard to find specific products and even when you do the download link is often buried on some other page with completely different formatting and confusing terminology. The people in that chain commenting that it would be a lot better if they just had a download page with everything neatly organized and only two or three clicks away at most would be far preferable, but nobody wants to take on a job that big and political.

This is one area where Linux distros have a clear advantage over Windows. Their package management and update systems are well integrated and easily searchable. If you were trying to install something like that on Linux you would just open up the package manager, type “Movie Maker” (or equivalent) into the search box, and hit the install button when it shows up.


Don’t forget how incredibly often you are presented with multiple versions of the thing you want to download. Which is the newest? Hard to say. Once you download and install the thing, you discover that it’s not actually the most recent version and you have to download updates. Not to mention updates to the updates.

They finally, after nearly two decades of having windows update be a thing, got around to making each month’s update include all previous updates so you only have a few dozen updates to download instead of hundreds… but it’s still a horrid mess the minute you step outside the realm of built in Windows components.


“Windows Usability Systematic degradation flame” sounds like a codeword from The Laundry Files.


Is there a dramatic reading of “Open letter to Hobbyists” from 1976? That’s where he rants about his BASIC being pirated.


Ah, the nightmare of Microsoft websites. To anyone who has to navigate their partner portal, you have my sympathies.


That feel when Bill Gates rage-quits and gets his own kids into the room to get the computer to do want he wants. You’re one of the plebs now, Bill.


The followup emails in the thread, where they scramble to try to fix the problem, are pathetic. They don’t realize that the terrible usability is just a symptom of a deeper organizational problem.


This really really needs the whiteboard animation treatment!


All partner portals are horrible. Microsoft’s is bad, SAP’s is somehow worse.


They kind of do, but only in the buck passing way “Marketing owns that (doesn’t including marketing in the CC line…)”.

It’s clear nobody in that email chain wants to touch the problem with a 10 foot pole, but the boss just delivered a devastating and completely justified rant so you gotta seem like you’re doing something.


It reminds me of what I still have to go though every time I try to connect my kid’s Windows machine to a new hotspot.

Oh, come on. You click the icon, you find the hotspot in the list, you type the passphrase, you answer a confusingly-worded question about whether you want to be friends with everybody on the network, you’re done. How is that harder than connecting a Mac? The Mac icon is shaped differently, but that’s about it.

Furthermore: although Windows 10 now defaults to always hiding the passphrase, at least there’s a thing you can click on to check your spelling. Compare and contrast with the f***ing iPhone, where you can only see the passphrase one letter at a time, and God help you if you make a mistake or the passphrase is more than a few letters long.


To be fair though, the front-end of SAP is a shitshow as well, so at least they have that going for them.


picture this… what’s the difference between slow page loads
and pre broadband smack i.e. her telephone lines speeds

I’m on OSX at this time when win7 was in orbit I tried parallels
and at one point I had to locate a download file that was said
to have been downloaded but was not after much frustration I totally
gave up

If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t be looking for Hitler’s grandpa, I’d be looking for whoever started up SAP…

Signed, someone whose Island-wide retail chain just switched from a perfectly functional bespoke retail system that did exactly what we needed and had had ten years of kink-ironing (and which I’ve been reliably informed could have been scaled up at about a tenth of the cost of what they spent on SAP) with SAP to run both our front and back end. I just don’t understand how a system this widely used, globally even, can be this terribly bad at every single thing.


I had some interactions with SAP on the development partner side a good while back. It was… awful. Somehow we still won an “award” or “partner of the day” or some such nonsense from them. This was substantially a testament to our stubbornness in the face of awful software, and only somewhat a recognition of what was otherwise a fairly mediocre product (maybe we were the only partner that rolled anything out that month?). I’ll never understand the draw of SAP. I still get chills thinking about that particular gig.

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Even back in 2003, you were better off going to google.com and typing in “site:microsoft.com movie maker download”. Of course, this is something Bill Gates didn’t (wouldn’t) try.

Microsoft never got the hang of UI design… compare managing a gmail.com domain with managing an outlook.com domain. Say you want to set a policy for 2-factor authentication. Pretty easy in Gmail. Frigging nightmare in Microsoft.

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As far as I can tell, the only thing thy do well is convince corporate entities to buy them - they’re great at PR, and that’s where all the effort goes.
My brothers work for a bank (a bank?!) which lost its CIO in disgrace after abandoning a many-multi-millions attempt to swap to their now twenty year old systems over to sap. I just genuinely do not fathom how anyone looks at what is at-best a fairly average warehousing system and thinks it makes sense to use it for any other purpose.


I wish Atlassian would. In fact I would love to see what happens if one of their executives tries to configure Jira.

A recent bitbucket UI beta release removed the ability to sync with upstream forks. I wonder what they expected users to do, apart from pull and push from the command line.

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