Regrets, I’ve had a few! Steve Ballmer made official his retirement plans to the world earlier today. And rightly for an individual that has been near the very top of the technology landscape, it sent a fair few strong ripples across the globe.
As an employee and then leader of Microsoft, Ballmer has made many great decisions to go with some not to great ones.
Mary Jo Foley nabbed an interview with Steve Ballmer, soon after the public announcement of his intention to retire within the next 12 months. And she inquired the Microsoft CEO on these decisions that took place under his watch.
Ballmer was quite frank when asked about his biggest regret:
“Oh, you know, I’ve actually had a chance to make a lot of mistakes, and probably because, you know, people all want to focus in on period A, period B, but I would say probably the thing I regret most is the, what shall I call it, the loopedy-loo that we did that was sort of Longhorn to Vista.
I would say that’s probably the thing I regret most. And, you know, there are side effects of that when you tie up a big team to do something that doesn’t prove out to be as valuable.”
No surprises here. Windows Vista at launch was one of the most lackluster products Microsoft had put out, and still remains a dark mark in the company’s illustrious history. The OS was plagued by bugs upon release — add the utterly shaky driver support for hardware, and you have a train wreck.
It did eventually stabilize, and became a much more stable OS, but not until the end consumers shifted their attention to Windows 7. You can read more of the interview at the link above.