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.”

Looped-loo, indeed!

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.

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  • Omoronovo

    People seem to forget that the reason Windows Vista was such a trainwreck of a release was thanks to Windows XP. At the time of initial Longhorn development, Windows XP was at SP1 and it was incredibly insecure. The Summer of Worms (wiki it if you’re anyone is young to remember) then set back the security of XP by years. Longhorn development was completely scrapped due to a focus XP SP2 being developed instead; causing Longhorn to be reset on the code of XP SP2 when it was done, setting the company back by at least a year, though in reality close to two years.

    Vista was rushed, but the leassons learned from XP made it an incredibly secure, performant, and powerful base operating system which eventually led to Windows 7 when the performance issues when the core (kernel) of the os were ironed out.

    vista wasn’t a disaster – XP prior to SP2 was a disaster. People should keep that in mind.

    • Sphar

      lol “Performant”, so why did Microsoft recommend going to make a coffee or two at Vista boot while prefetch unnecessarily cached your commonly used apps off hard disk into memory “as unused memory is wasted memory”. I guess the 100Gb free on my hard disk is “wasted” as well and I should fill it up to the hilt to ensure I get my monies worth ;-0