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Microsoft doesn’t always get fair treatment. When it comes down to it, they’re a pretty awesome company. They invest huge amounts in research, create innovative hardware and software, develop great applications while supporting everything that’s come before. There’s been enough Microsoft bashing, now it’s time for some love.

Here are five reasons Microsoft is awesome.

Microsoft Research

Microsoft Research is huge. More than 1,000 scientists and engineers — including winners of some of the most prestigious prizes in physics, computer science and mathematics — develop new ideas and try to solve global challenges with the use of technology. Unlike many companies, Microsoft’s research department is not just interested in ways to improve their products now; Microsoft Research works with academics all over the world on real scientific challenges.

Microsoft Research is involved in many diverse areas. They’ve worked on everything from turning first-person action camera footage into smooth hyperlapses to preventing the spread of HIV and pneumonia. They are even beating Google in the Artificial Intelligence race Microsoft vs Google - Who Leads the Artificial Intelligence Race? Microsoft vs Google - Who Leads the Artificial Intelligence Race? Artificial intelligence researchers are making tangible progress, and people are starting to talk seriously about AI again. The two titans leading the artificial intelligence race are Google and Microsoft. Read More .

If a problem can be approached with technology and computers, there’s a good chance someone in Microsoft Research is working on it. That is pretty awesome.


Innovative Products

Microsoft continues to create some of the most innovative products around. They have a long history of building things before their time, only for another company to improve on their work at a later date and succeed. If you can stick a smart in front of it, Microsoft has developed it in the past: smartphones, smart TVs, smart watches and tablets have all been preceded by Microsoft products that came too early.

Even when the time seems right, Microsoft has been burned for being too innovative. The Xbox One is a really great game console Microsoft Xbox One Review And Giveaway Microsoft Xbox One Review And Giveaway The console wars are officially raging, and we've had sufficient time with both of them. That begs the question: how does the Xbox One compare? Read More . Microsoft’s original vision would have made it even better.

When Microsoft announced the Xbox One, they planned to make all the games you bought digital, whether you downloaded them or bought a physical disk. The game would be assigned to your Xbox Live account. If you bought a disk but lost or broke it, it wouldn’t matter, you could just download the game from the Xbox Live Store. The tyranny of scratched games would be over!


Lending your friends games and sharing them between families were all going to be possible with Xbox Live features. You wouldn’t, however, be able to resell your second hand disks. The copy of the game would be permanently linked to your account PS4 vs Xbox One: 5 Reasons To Buy The Xbox One PS4 vs Xbox One: 5 Reasons To Buy The Xbox One This year's E3 felt almost like it was over before it began. Though the conference lasts for days, both Microsoft and Sony made their announcements before the doors opened, showing not just hardware but also... Read More . For me, and also my colleague Matt this was a fair trade off; to a horde of Internet commenters it wasn’t. Microsoft backed off.

The big issue is that physical media is going the way of the dodo anyway. No current Apple product comes with a built in disk drive. Large software vendors like Adobe are following suit killing off physical media in favour of digital downloads. Microsoft was just bringing this, along with improvements, to the gaming market.

Regardless of the levels of success they’ve obtained, almost everything Microsoft has brought to market has been innovative. The original Xbox, Xbox 360, Surface and Microsoft Azure have all changed the product categories they entered.

Innovative Design

Microsoft has pioneered some innovative software designs. Despite not reaching wide commercial success Windows Phone is a great product MakeUseOf Says Goodbye To Windows Phone MakeUseOf Says Goodbye To Windows Phone This is going to be a tearful goodbye, buddy, but it has to happen. MakeUseOf will soon be parting ways with Windows Phone. Read More . It managed to be beautiful and modern at a time when Apple was still heavily invested in faux-leather and baize. While iOS is back on par with Windows Phone, Android still lags behind with horrendous vendor skins layered on top of an already ugly operating system.


Windows 8 was the same. A beautiful design created to bridge the gap between tablets and PCs. With Windows 8 you’re able to have the same user experience on every computing device you own. Unfortunately, Microsoft had the same problem as they did with the Xbox One: being too innovative. Poor adoption and consumer backlash have cause Microsoft to pull back on this vision in the upcoming Windows 10 Windows 10 In Pictures - A Guided Tour Of The Technical Preview Windows 10 In Pictures - A Guided Tour Of The Technical Preview The Windows 10 Technical Preview is now available to everyone. Some bugs aside, it does look promising. We'll guide you through the new Windows one screenshot at a time. Read More .

Innovation does not necessarily imply success. With new things, Microsoft has always been innovative, but not always successful. Their continued willingness to push despite failing in the past is awesome.

Universal Software

Microsoft Office is a must have if you are serious about business, or work in a large office. While you can substitute Microsoft’s Office suite 9 of the Best Free & Low-Cost Alternatives to Microsoft Office 9 of the Best Free & Low-Cost Alternatives to Microsoft Office Microsoft Office has dominated the market of text documents, spreadsheets and slide shows for years, and for good reason – it’s one of the very best. However, there’s one drawback and that is the price.... Read More  for personal use, Microsoft’s business applications continue to dominate for professional purposes.

Not only is Microsoft Office universal, it’s also awesome. For example, Excel is a powerful tool 3 Crazy Excel Formulas That Do Amazing Things 3 Crazy Excel Formulas That Do Amazing Things I have always believed that Excel is one of the most powerful software tools out there. It's not just the fact that it's spreadsheet software. No, Microsoft Excel 2013 simply has an awesome collection of... Read More  with which you can do a long list of amazing things; it’s even possible to make an RPG.

Backwards Compatibility

Microsoft is a massively innovative and forward thinking company, but they also think backwards. No other software company offers the level of backwards compatibility that Microsoft do. Writing on Quora, senior software engineer Nate Waddoups describes the effort Microsoft puts into ensuring that new updates don’t break compatibility with old software:

The Windows team invests a mind-boggling amount of time, hardware, and people into maintaining compatibility. There are bugs in Windows that could have been fixed years ago, but can’t be, because that would break applications that (deliberately or accidentally) depend on those bugs.

The fact you can run some of your old PC games on a Windows 8 laptop with no issues, let alone your important legacy business software, is pretty damn awesome.

Bonus: They Listen

Not many tech companies solicit feedback from their customers. Apple, for example, is famously infuriating to communicate with. On the other hand, Microsoft is actively seeking customer feedback Want New Windows Features? Share Your Ideas With Microsoft & Vote Want New Windows Features? Share Your Ideas With Microsoft & Vote Microsoft wants to know what you would like Windows to look like! Propose and review Windows features to shape the next version of Windows. Read More . They’ve learnt from high-profile missteps and they want your help to make better products. A tech company letting you have your say? That’s awesome.

What do you think; have I missed a reason Microsoft is awesome or am I totally wrong? Let me know in the comments.

Image Credits: Evan Amos via Wikipedia, Microsoft.

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  1. T4D2
    November 26, 2016 at 6:34 am

    "No current Apple product comes with a built in disk drive."

    I think you mean "disc drive" here. Disks are self contained media, such as hard drives. (floppy disks are the exception) which aren't removable. Discs are removable media, such as CD, DVD, and vinyl records. Floppies existed before the distinction was established, so they're the weird exception.

    Unless you were implying that Apple products don't have any sort of storage medium and are cloud-based completely, which would be news to me.

  2. J R Tur Pineda
    March 22, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Some Windows critics still live in the past, still talking about things like blue screen of death, etc. I haven't got a BSOD since Windows 7, currently using Win 8.1 and Yosemite (used Linux but abandoned it long ago). When Windows 8 came, I installed Classic Shell but removed later. A Mac user friend once told me how he can search anything and run programs pressing command and space in Mac OS X but he shut up when I showed him same results pressing the Win key.

  3. dirtyoldmick
    January 7, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    are you retarded? i am not being mean, this is a serious question...

    • Richard
      July 2, 2016 at 11:58 pm

      Sir, you are clearly either insane or intentionally mean. No sane person would openly ask someone else if they were retarded in a public form, unless they were trying to be deliberately insulting.

  4. Delmes
    November 28, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    At first Windows 8 repelled me,as GUI of win 8 was not like win 7(which has aero and all).
    Its start screen too was a repellent,due to its complexity.
    But later after using win 8.1 on laptop,I adapted to it and I can use it instinctively.

    I want to add words thats Windows xp was most appreciated for its beginner-friendlyness,which isn't there in win 8.I find win 8 mainly for advanced users,as it take time to learn win 8's U.

    I kind of find win 8.1 good(mainly for portable devices like laptops(touchpad gestures, tabs,etc).Whereas I kind of like using win 7 on desktop.

  5. Hitesh
    November 20, 2014 at 6:13 am

    Harry ur line:
    " I agree, an OS is a personal choice. It’s very strange to me that people get so insulted when your choice is not the same as theirs. "
    has best described all the comments received for your article.
    I agree MS is a great and yes with all its issues, so what everything is not always perfect.
    And i agree with some one commented above " Can you imagine a world without Microsoft? I don’t like everything MS produces nor do I like everything MS does, but without them I am certain things would be a bigger mess than we have today. "
    So true (at least for me).

    • Harry
      November 20, 2014 at 10:37 am

      Hey Hitesh, thanks for your nice comments! I've been a little surprised at how vitriolic the response to this article was! It was 5 reasons MS are awesome, not 5 reasons your favourite OS sucks!

  6. MSwhip
    November 9, 2014 at 4:14 am

    Harry wrote:
    "Microsoft Office is a must have if you are serious about business, or work in a large office. While you can substitute Microsoft’s Office suite for personal use, Microsoft’s business applications continue to dominate for professional purposes.

    Not only is Microsoft Office universal, it’s also awesome. For example, Excel is a powerful tool with which you can do a long list of amazing things; it’s even possible to make an RPG."

    Have you not heard of Open Source Libre Office suite absolutely for free? What about the free Apache OpenOffice Suite?

    Both absolutely compatible with MS Office Suite.

    Why depend on MS for hardware which is outrageously expensive when you have the free proven options?

    • Harry
      November 20, 2014 at 10:36 am

      Hey MSWhip, I have heard of both Libre Office and OpenOffice. Neither is "absolutely compatible" with MS Office. You will always get formatting differences and, in complex documents especially with Excel, things just going wrong. While they may be free and good, they don't have any support. Businesses need to be able call a number and get help. Trawling through open source forums is not fun!

      • nakwada
        January 18, 2016 at 11:08 am

        Hi Harry,

        FreeOffice from SoftMaker is another great alternative to Microsoft Office.
        From what I have tested, it features a higher level of compatibility than LibO.

        • Richard
          July 3, 2016 at 12:04 am

          Microsoft has been doing a lot more than people give them credit for. I personally vouch for the "backwards compatibility" portion of this article. While MS doesn't give universal backwards compatibility (there were some great 16 bit programs that are sadly incompatible) you can run almost any software that was written to run on the x86 platform, including software that was made 20+ years ago; and personally, I use this willingness to embrace backwards compatibility eagerly and continue to run software from both current and older generations on my computer. Few other companies would care so much about consumers as to let backwards compatibility get in the way of their own vision for the future.

  7. Mark
    November 8, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Harry, enjoyed the article. The bashing of MS really is over done. It's crazy to see the same people who decried MS's "monopoly" in its heyday and declared their undying commitment to "open competition" now trying their best to downplay anything MS does and make the industry a duopoly between Google and Apple. Apparently competition is good as long as it's not MS providing it.

    And some of the comments are truly entertaining. I haven't seen so many die hard Linux lovers, iTards, and general "M$" haters in one place for a while, though like usual several seem to be the same person just using multiple aliases. And in some cases they're referring to things that happened literally decades ago. Seriously? That's like hating IBM because it colluded with the Nazis during WWII. Get over it already.

    • Harry
      November 20, 2014 at 10:34 am

      Hey Mark, yeah whatever way they have it they can’t win it seems! It's very much damned if you do, damned if you don't, damned for what you did 20 years ago.

  8. Bretwalda
    November 7, 2014 at 8:15 am

    It seems to me that there is too much negativity in the comments here. I personally use Windows and Linux on my machines - I like both. I might even like Mac OS X if I could afford to buy something with it on. I experienced little difficulty in adapting to Windows 8 from 7 less than I did in switching between versions of Ubuntu Linux for example.

    As to the comments about MS and Linux reliability on both servers and PCs, I agree wholeheartedly that Linux is the more reliable. Regarding the commercial strategies and restrictive practices that MS has used both in the past and today I say "So what?" can you really tell me that Apple is in any way substantially different? Aside from their pricing, Apple restrict the use of OS X to Apple branded products.

    Can you imagine a world without Microsoft? I don't like everything MS produces nor do I like everything MS does, but without them I am certain things would be a bigger mess than we have today. For what it's worth MS also have a range of free products including educational software

    Final word from me - I think OSes and software are a personal choice of the users or of the companies providing the software for their employees and that is exactly as it should be. Knocking MS or Apple is pointless and divisive - extol the virtues of your choice by all means - I am interested in your opinion, but please don't insult me because my choice is different.

    Thanks for the article Harry!

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      Hey Bretwalda, thank you for your exceptionally reasonable comment! It makes a change from some of the others! ;)

      I agree, an OS is a personal choice. It's very strange to me that people get so insulted when your choice is not the same as theirs.

  9. Eddy
    November 7, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Even with windows 8 (not 8.1), the only obstacle for switching is the lack of a start button, but again in windows 7, you press the start button to get a dialogue box and you can type to search, in windows 8 you press the start button to get a start screen and you type to search, now 8.1's search improved a lot. But that is the real difference using windows 8 in the beginning, a start screen vs a dialogue box, that's it! . If anyone need to dig deep into windows for anything else, he is an advanced user already, what's seems to be the problems to whine about ??
    Try to do more things on "system" level on Linux / Mac one has to sudo everything. Well may be it is only me, I do not find it easy to learn all the cryptic commands of Linux / Mac.

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Hey Eddy, I agree with you 100%. It's what I don't get about all the problems people have swithing to Windows 8. Literally all that's changed is an ugly string of nested menus has become good looking tiles!

  10. Eddy
    November 7, 2014 at 7:17 am

    IE 12 is actually very fast, it loads faster then chrome on my machines (4 windows PC, 2 windows installations on Mac), What makes IE "not as good" as the other browsers is The lack of add-ons or extensions, but this makes it a lot safer as well.

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      Interesting! I might have to check it out. I use a lot of extensions though... I use IE on occasion for web design testing and it's really only IE6 that drove everyone nuts. Since then it's got better and better.

  11. A41202813GMAIL
    November 7, 2014 at 6:32 am

    Backwards Compatible ?

    You Are Kidding, Right ?

    Use Whatever OS Or Browser Of Your Choice And Check Their Site To Try To Download A Version Of Old IE8 For XP 32 PRO.

    Did You Get It ?


    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      Hey alphabet spaghetti,

      Actually yes I did. Why? Because I've developer access. Anyone who wants or needs a copy has access to everything going back to MS-Dos. Why would a regular person want a dated browser for a dead OS?

    • A41202813GMAIL
      November 9, 2014 at 3:51 am

      Alphabet Spaghetti Here.

      If You Prefer ALL CAPS, Just Say So - It Is A Lot Easier For Me.


      Any Regular Person Has Access To IE8 For VISTA, Why Not For XP 32 PRO ?

      Answering Your Question, Because I Am Not A Regular Person, But I Am A User Of Dated And Dead Software.


      Since I Struck A Cord, No More Cheers For You.

    • Harry
      November 10, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      Hey I was referring to your user name not your typing style! Use all caps if you like.

      Why would Microsoft provide software to the general public for an unsupported OS? That's not backwards compatibility. Backwards compatibility is letting you open any HTML files you saved back in 2004 on your XP machine on a Windows 10 laptop.

    • A41202813GMAIL
      November 12, 2014 at 3:48 am

      My Username Contains My ID Number.

      When Creating Usernames In Dozens Of Sites I Have Not Clashed With Anyone Yet - A Big Advantage Not To Have Different Usernames Everywhere.


      As You Said Below, OS Is A Personal Choice.

      I Understand The Need For M$ Not To Waste Any More Money With XP, But Why Hurting Millions Of Old Paying Customers By Denying Access To Prior Downloads ?

    • Harry
      November 20, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Because by supporting old browsers they hurt everyone. The web has moved on since 2002! Old versions of IE are a nightmare for developers to support. It's now obsolete so they don't make it available to the public.

    • A41202813GMAIL
      November 21, 2014 at 5:31 am

      Your Logic Is Denied By Facts You Can Check For Yourself.

      I Do Not Want Them To Support Anything, Just Provide Prior Downloads Without Sabotaging Their Old Customers.

      If Old Versions Of IE Should Not Be Available...

      IE8 For XP Is Not Available To The Public, Then Why For VISTA ?

      IE7 For XP Is Not Available To The Public, Then Why For VISTA ?


      ...IE6 For XP Is Available To The Public.

      Explain That.

      Defend Devious M$ As Much As You Like, 'Free Time' Is My Middle Name.

    • Harry
      November 21, 2014 at 11:08 am

      Here's what appears to be IE 6 for XP for the public:

      It took me a second to find it. I'm surprised it's there. XP is no longer supported and so they should stop providing downloads for it. Vista still has another 2 or 3 years of support for it.

    • A41202813GMAIL
      November 23, 2014 at 5:59 am

      OFFICE 2003 And XP Are On The Same Boat - Several Downloads Are Still Available.

      Why Is IE8 Hurting XP Users And Not VISTA Users ?

      They Can Run IE9, Do They Not ?

      IE8 Was The Exact Same EXE File For XP And VISTA Users - Now They 'Tweaked' It As A VISTA Version Just So XP Could Not Run It.

      XP Downloads Are Just Another M$ Example Of Their Swiss Cheese Policies.

      XP SP3 Is Still Available.

      OFFICE 2003 SP3 Is Still Available.

      More Examples Are Around.

      Fortunately, There Are Still Sites To Counter Planned Obsolescence From pos Companies Like M$ - The Original ENGLISH Version, Anyway - People That Are Not Comfortable With ENGLISH Are Just Screwed.

    • Harry
      November 23, 2014 at 11:09 am

      XP is no longer officially supported. VISTA is. Just because something installs from the same EXE file, it doesn't mean the exact same files were installed.

      XP is a dead, old operating system. The fact people still use it today causes all sorts of hell for security, software devs and designers.

  12. Mario Laborem
    November 7, 2014 at 4:50 am

    They Listen?... Just to know how to betray us again!

  13. ibivi
    November 6, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Harry, you are a real trooper! Some of your replies are rather amusing. Having an overload of features is rather ridiculous when most users don't use them. For instance, there are a whack of fonts provided. Nobody switches to them. Almost everything I see is in the default font Times New Roman. Blech, I hate it. When we first got Microsoft at work I was trying out as many fonts as I could for correspondence (nothing too wild of course). When our employer saw what was going on they standardized the fonts for all documents. Everybody had to use the fonts they decided on. So what is the point of having 200 fonts which sit unused?

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 12:46 am

      Hello again! I'm glad you're enjoying my responses!

      The fonts case is actually really important. One of the earliest adopters of computers were designers. For designers, access to different fonts is super important. To most people, the difference between Gotham and Helvetica is subtle but in design it's crucial; they evoke different moods, feelings and meanings.

      All the fonts that come with your Windows machine are a throwback to this, same with Apple. Designers used to be a serious percentage of the market. Now they're much less but all the fonts that were introduced for them still have to be supported and available. I do a bit of design work and I've even more fonts installed!

  14. ibivi
    November 6, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Sorry but they totally lost me with Windows 8. Nothing they do will ever make me like them again. If I could afford it I would buy another OS. They continue to do things which make things worse for users than better. They do NOT listen! I sent them countless messages about all of the problems I was having and they made minimal changes to Windows 8. At least Windows 7 was workable but they quickly made it unavailable to users who wanted it back. So my short answer is they suck.

    • dragonmouth
      November 6, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      " If I could afford it I would buy another OS."
      You could switch to Linux or BSD. Not only the O/S but the vast majority of apps are completely free.

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 12:42 am

      Hey ibivi, what problems did you have that were so awful in Windows 8? I found it was a much improved user experience once you got past the initial shock. You should check out the free distributions of Linux if you hate it that much. I can't say you'll find them any better but there are alternatives.

  15. StargazerLily
    November 6, 2014 at 4:23 pm


    I love windows 8, especially the start menu, it gets me much quicker to where I want to be. From my experience the majority of people who nag and complain about it are over 40 years of age. I think majority people, especially when a bit older, have trouble with changes and learning new stuff, that's why Microsoft fails with pushing innovation. The truth is, they really do some amazing stuff. I'm a scientist (life sciences) by profession so I can relate to how hard it can be to confront people with novelties. The first reaction is usually rejection.

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 12:41 am

      Hey Lily, I totally agree with you about the start menu. It's much improved and the keyboard navigation is great! Openness to new experiences and change typically goes down with age (boom, using my psychology degree!) but it doesn't have to. It may be harder for older people to overcome an initial aversion to something but they can do it. My godfather went back to college and learn to programme at 60 despite never really using computers before!

  16. Vinnie
    November 6, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Microsoft's need and desire to force me to upgrade every 2 years and buy new software is not conducive with my needs and finances to purchase same! Microsoft must keep obsoleting what we have in order to sell us new stuff to stay solvent financially!

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 12:38 am

      Hey Vinnie, Microsoft supported XP for almost 13 years. That is insane! And it's a far cry from forcing you to upgrade every 2 years. That's what Apple does. ;) (Well it's closer to 3-4).

  17. Grant R.
    November 6, 2014 at 3:56 pm


    Thanks for the great article. I love how you specify it's time to stop bashing Microsoft, and still get so many bashers in here talking about monopolies and old MS stories like it was still the year 2000.

    I disagree with you only on one point and that is the locked down digital download system MS was proposing for the XBO. You're correct that physical media as far as computing is on it's way out, and dying. Facts are there to back it up, and I'm all for digital.

    However, there was no need for the removal of the benefits of physical media. To force users to have games tied to there account with no options of selling, trading, etc. is wrong. Transference is one thing that actually FEEDS the gaming industry and allows people to buy more games and spend more money than they otherwise could. Also, having to stay connected all the time for the licenses to check in is foolish and scary. There were too many details where the customer wasn't thought of first... that is the missing key to successful adoption of innovation. MS's plan was a far cry from a great digital download system.

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 12:37 am

      Hey Grant, thanks for your response. The problem with transference is that while it might drive gamers, it does nothing for the creators. The only people who make money off second hand games are the middle men.

      The always on license checking doesn't bother me. The console was designed for permanent connectivity. Though a system like Adobe's with the creative cloud where there's a monthly check in rather than a daily one would probably be better, although the use life of most games is far less than that of photoshop.

    • Grant R.
      November 7, 2014 at 3:54 pm


      Thanks for the response! But think big picture. You're is about the new market, not the used market. Because of trade ins and sales of used games, gamers like me can afford to buy new games. Yes, where the creators get money, and can continue to innovate. I'm so happy to be able to do that.

      With MS's digital plan, I couldn't afford to buy many new games. It's a lot easier to pay $40 cash + a game I am done with than to pay $65 cash. I can buy more new games. To fix this, allow private sales of the digital games to friends, family, even a retailer...

      You mentioned Steam above. Steam allows trading of digital content. Although they have many restrictions, they are at least trying it. When I pay $65 for a new game, I don't consider that a rental. There is NO reason to not allow us to trade or sell content we own. Going digital doesn't mean you have to lose the features of non-digital games in the process. It's a money game. And the industry tried betting that we will buy the same number of new games without being able to trade in.

      They were wrong.

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Hey Grant, even thinking big picture things are going that way. The PS5 may not have a disc drive. I agree, it is about money but so is any industry. While it benefits you to trade in second hand games (and I do it too!), it doesn't benefit the industry. There are plenty of times where I've saved all of a tenner on an older second hand game than bought it new. That sort of thing harms the industry.

      If MS had brought it in, I think there would have been the possibility for trades down the line. Lending to your friends was going to be possible so I'd imagine they would have at least considered other options.

  18. John Williams
    November 6, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    I can find a lot of love for MS and Google. Gates is piling his money into fixing global life threatening issues and Google just keeps on giving in the fields of health and education and many others. Old Pentiums and Core duo boxes chug away all over India, Africa and China. Android is free and hardware is cheap. Even when your old Pentium III has very nearly coughed it's last, you can put a super skinny Linux distro on it and still see the interwebs - fantastic!
    These enormous corporate R&D facilities are changing the world for the better with hundreds of millions of dollars spent on thousands of projects with little or nothing to do with computing. Their old hard and software seems to be endlessly recycled by the less well off countries.

    My question is - What does Apple do in this context? It receives the lion's share of media attention, but I don't recolllect a Job's Charitable Foundation. It seems to sit on a billion dollars of cash reserves to the irritation of it's own shareholders. When is Apple going to give something back? How about a phone that is so sophisticated, so advanced and so forward thinking that you don't need to buy a new one for 5 years?
    Do Apple do altruistic good deeds round the world in on the quiet, like the secret millionaire? If so, they must spend a fortune keeping it quiet.

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 12:34 am

      Hey John, Gates is no longer really involved in Microsoft. His charitable stuff is all driven by his personal wealth. The Steve Job's fund is a bit difficult now he's dead! ;)

      I totally understand what you're saying about Apple, though, notably, Tim Cook's announcement this week that he's gay is a huge deal and represents ridiculous social progress. At the moment America has a non-White president and non-straight CEO of their largest company. That is a massive shift.

  19. Peraveen Kumar
    November 6, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Okay.... i accept ur points... But why microsoft is still lagging behind largely when comes to IE? When will they make IE as a browser which would be loved by all like chrome, firefox etc? When they do, it will be great...

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 12:31 am

      Hey Peraveen, to be honest, I don't know what the deal with IE is! It's not great, although, it's gotten better and better in the last few years though. Have you tried the most recent version out?

    • Peraveen Kumar
      November 7, 2014 at 2:35 am

      Harry, FYI, I work as software tester... I use to work in all browsers daily... So i can say tht still IE (latest version IE 11) is not liked to work with by both developers/testers... :) Yes, i admit it's gotten better but still has a long way to go to come like chrome & firefox...

  20. John
    November 6, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Nothing changes the fact that through monopolization, Microsoft as an entity is one of the grandest thieves known to man. Moreover, they get away with it legally. They produce a complete and total failure and their fix is to sell the public the next product in line at an exorbitant fee. Let another business try to get away with it. In the beginning they were far from the best system out there. Gates was just good at marketing and building his empire.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      Hey John, I don't think that's a fact! ;) Microsoft is not a thief, they're a software company that's risen to the top of the industry. People pay, not for the "fix" to the broken (read as new) previous operating system, they pay for new features, updated hardware compatibilities, better software compatibilities and everything else.

    • dragonmouth
      November 6, 2014 at 10:27 pm

      "Microsoft is not a thief"
      Harry, that's not a fact. The original Windows GUI was stolen from Xerox PARC via Apple. Apple appropriated the GUI from Xerox then licensed it to Microsoft to use in Windows 1.0 and 2.0. After the license expired, Microsoft did not renew it but kept on using it, putting it in Windows 3.x and then turning it into Windows 9x and beyond.

      Another product/technology that was stolen was DoubleSpace. Microsoft was given a demonstration of this technology by STAC Electronics and received a copy of the software for evaluation. Microsoft then incorporated the technology into Windows without ever licensing it from STAC. STAC sued and the court agreed with them and awarded STAC over $100 million in damages.

      There were many other instances of M$ appropriating other companies' products and/or technology. When other companies sued Microsoft for damages, M$ would drag the cases out by any means possible. The delays increased court costs which smaller companies could not afford but M$, with its deeper pockets, could. Eventually, the smaller companies went bankrupt and Microsoft acquired the product/technology by default.

    • John
      November 7, 2014 at 2:42 am

      Sorry Harry, but it is a fact. Vista was a complete and total failure. It was cumbersom, unstable, insecure and gobbled up resources like a famished crok. So much so that the military would not even allow it on any critical or sensitive systems. The coeporation I work for would not allow Vista on ANY computer in the company. Microsoft even publicly admitted to this fact. The "fix" was a crash program to produce "7" and sell it to a public that really had no choice if they wanted to remain current in the corporate, or even the collegiate world. I'm old enough that I've been dealing with this since the very beginning. Microsoft is and always has been one of the worst and most unstable operating systems on the market. Wake up here. Why do you think Linux is the primary for servers. I've witnessed a Linux home desktop running for 18 months without need for restart. By monopolization, ms has done a lot of irreversible damage to the industry in general, along with seriously getting into your pockets. MS got where it is by monopolization, not by being the best system available. Your problem is you're blindly defending your position. My problem is I refuse to forget history an truth.

  21. Anonymous
    November 6, 2014 at 12:50 pm


  22. Chrissie Roberts
    November 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I have used Windows since Windows 3.1 and some releases have been good and some not so good but over all I like windows as I'm use to it. I'm using Windows 8.1 which some people moan about but some also moaned about ME (on that I agree!) and XP and Vista and even Windows 7 and have not even tried Windows 8.1. I have several computers in the house all running Windows 8.1 and also some in dual/triple boot with XP and or Linux - I was trying out Linux in it's various guise but found it a bit too clunky for my liking although others love it. I really like Windows although I have to admit 8.1 without a 'proper' start menu was a pain at first but now I'm use to it I have no problem with it. I find it reaslly fast and reliable and one of the best OS's to date as far as Windows is concerned. Also so many apps/programs for Windows too. I'm 66, female and build my own computers but admit I can't program like some amazing whizz kids as my brain is not so agile as it use to be and also domestic duties (Husband, Home and kids) tend to get in the way of study! OK Microsoft has it's lovers and haters but personally even though I've tried Linux in it's various distros I go back to dear old Windows that I'm familiar with and just learn anything new that comes along in Windows. I'm trying out Windows 10 Techincal Preview at the moment in a virtual pc and what I see so far I like. So you could say I'm a fan of Windows although at times MS goes a bit too quick on releasing new OS's and can be a bit expensive. Just get use to one and then they change it but that is life and it makes it really interesting. Ok someone may say I need to get out more but I promise I do! By the way I'm not knocking Linux as for those with the time and brains it's OK. Excuse me whilst I pin on my 'I love Microsoft' badge.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      Wow Chrissie that's impressive history with Microsoft! I agree with you about Linux being a bit too clunky. Windows is consistantly a better product.

    • dragonmouth
      November 6, 2014 at 10:03 pm

      @Chrissie Roberts:
      Like you I started with Win 3.1 and used it through XP. I kept hearing about this new O/S call Linux so I tried it. For the first 5 or so years of playing with Linux it seemed clunky, nothing was in the "right" place, nothing worked "properly." I could not get used to it and kept on going back to what I was familiar with and what was comfortable to use - Windows. While I still had to use Windows at work, I forced myself to use only Linux at home. That was about 2005, just as Linux distros became more user-friendly. To make a long story short, Linux got as easy for me as Windows used to be. Now when I go back to it, it is Windows that feels clunky with nothing working "properly."

      Bottom line is that no O/S is inherently "clunkier" or harder to learn/use than any other. The "clunkiness" and dificulties arise in trying to un-learn the habits of the old O/S while trying to learn the new O/S. Nobody was born knowing Windows. We all had to learn it from scratch. We just don't remember, or choose not to remember, how steep the learning curve was

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      @dragonmouth that's just not true. Linux has come on a long way but the user experience is still far clunkier than what you get from Apple or Microsoft. iOS is less clunky than Android and far more user friendly. There are differences in OS's and some are easier than others. I'm not saying no one can learn linux, just that it's harder.

  23. Kevin
    November 6, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I like Microsoft's work in Windows 8 to natively lock down access on children's user accounts and keep them out of the seedier areas of the internet. My two children have their own accounts, my wife and I can each act as parents and can whitelist sites (or areas of sites) we permit them access. The kids can be allocated a window of access and the rest of the day/night is curfewed. They can also be restricted to a certain quota of minutes/hours per day. This all occurs within Windows without any external software and each week MS emails me to let me know where they have been and what they have accessed. Nice.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      As someone without kids, I didn't even know that was possible! That sounds fantastic for parents though. I'll check if we have an article on MUO about it, and if not, one may appear. ;)

  24. Roger Caldwell
    November 6, 2014 at 10:35 am

    If "tiles" are innovative, I'll stick with OS X.

  25. aeschmann
    November 6, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Mr. Palmer, this article is not "a little one-sided", (i took the liberty to quote you), it is, in my humble opinion, an article to make people think once again about what is usually said about Microsoft products.
    As i said, with the danger to become hilariously repetitive, what i do not understand is a simple fact.
    Even the buyers, users, have many alternatives, for free, cheap or expensive, even they use one or more of those mentioned alternatives, they all have a huge fixation (like a mental block) in picking on, bashing or only whining about Microsoft products, calling names, trying to be ironic and to pose as geek-tech geniuses.
    And, of course, to continue to use Microsoft products.
    I am totally supportive, understanding and agreeing with the ones who moved totally to apple products or a/many Linux distros.
    I also laugh (mildly irritated), toward the ones who describe in vivid details their ordeal using Microsoft products, which actually, does damage of the image of the software which they hilariously defend.
    What is that, a manifestation of sort of a Stockholm syndrome?
    Dear users of everything else than a Microsoft product, move on, be happy with whatever you are using right now, keep searching for your perfect software love, or present your resume in order to become the new CEO of Microsoft, and change it the way you want.
    Do anything, just stop being ridicule big loud foam mouthed no brain noise makers.
    Well, i just tried, i know for sure you cannot help yourselves, and you are helpless.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Hey again aeschmann, Richard may have a point about it being a one sided article but you've absolutely nailed what I was aiming for with it. Microsoft is not a company without flaws but this was not an article about them!

      You're right though, Microsoft seems to attract a crazy amount of vitriol from people who no longer use it.

  26. Dave
    November 6, 2014 at 10:13 am

    You had me until you mentioned Windows 8. It's the reason I am typing this from an iPad. (My first Apple product.) I also switched to Linux because of it and may not go back to Windows 10 depending on what they do to fix the interface. The only place I use any MS product is at work and that's because I work in IT.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      Hey Dave, what were your issues with Windows 8? The jump to Linux is much more extreme!

    • Dave
      November 6, 2014 at 9:12 pm

      Harry, Linux wasn't bad for me. I supported some Unix back in the mid 90's. For Windows 8, the OS is very well done and stable. I was very disappointed in the interface but I could use it. I loaded up a copy when it was pretty new on my netbook. It was easy for me to pick it up. My wife however is a typical user and the change was just too great for her. Then I tried to upgrade to 8.1. After two months of trying everything fom the MS website, I gave up knowing I had to do full reload. MS had no real help during this time. I think hey just 'hunkered down' and ignoring people. So, I loaded up linux and got my wife an ipad.

      My real issues are that:
      I think MS was trying to push people to go to touch.
      They offered no real support that worked.
      They sand bagged the hardware industry as evidenced by the poor sales on Window 8 hardware.
      I just think you don't do customers that way.
      And I have been supporting users since 8086's.

      I simply thnk MS made a great product and slapped a poor interface on it.

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      Hey Dave, I always use upgrades as a chance to start from scratch so always do a clean install! Can't really speak for the upgrade process. :/

      I think hardware vendors tried to push for touch as a way of de-comoditising PCs.

      I've never had cause to deal with their support but one of the other commenters was praising it!

      PC sales were tanking before Windows 8. In the run up some commentators were saying it was in anticipation of 8. After it was due to 8. The truth is most people don't need new computers very often and devices like phones and tablets are killing sales.

  27. Richard Palmer
    November 6, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Just recovered from choking on my morning coffee. I'll agree that MS isn't all bad (they made a success of Win XP) and of course they have good engineers, but since the demise of XP, I (for play)and my company (civil engineering) have been using only Linux and Opensource software for the last 5 years, exchanging complex documents (spreadsheets, reports, presentations...) with MS Office user clients without problems; so I find the article a little one-sided.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      Hey Richard, I can't believe you find my article on why a company is awesome one sided. ;)

      I'm surprised there have been no issues transferring documents. Formatting tends to suffer.

  28. Eddy
    November 6, 2014 at 6:40 am

    A major topic for MS research: why people hate changes or afraid of. Changes so much !! Win7 users hate the "disappearing" of the start button that many claimed they jumped ship to OSX, I can't imagine how a long time windows user can easily switch to OSX without a much steeper learning curve that say switching from older windows to win8. People like all the icons on an ipad or android tablet screen, what's the big deal of those tiles on the windows 8 screen.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      I know! I can't handle this small change so I'm going to deal with HUUUGGEEE ones. It's nuts!

    November 6, 2014 at 6:14 am

    I agree, Microsoft is awesome. Sure there is Android and Apple, but in terms of offering a comprehensive enterprise package, nobody comes close to MS.

  30. Jason
    November 6, 2014 at 4:40 am

    Most people simply continue to use Windows because it's what they are use to. Businesses tend to stick with Windows because their applications are the "industry standard" and the cost of switching to something else is enormous. Many companies, much to Microsoft's chagrin, are using Redhat or CentOS. As for innovation, Microsoft only excels because they have the money to pour into it, whether they know what to do with the advances or not. The FOSS community is far more innovative, but they are, financially, behind the eight ball. As for me, my experience with Windows Vista and Windows 7 drove me to Linuxland because their instability was ridiculous for (expensive) products from a company that has been in the business as long as Microsoft has been. Linux distros may have a bit of a learning curve, but it's minor compared to the peace of mind and stability. Now I only keep Windows in a virtual machine for the three programs that I can't get to function properly otherwise (Rosetta Stone, Incendia EX, and Sibelius 7).

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      Hey Jason, I agree inertia plays a role in keeping Microsoft in businesses and some things are done better by others but it doesn't change the fact that they do some things exceptionally well. I can't imagine the hell it would cause an IT department if the sales team suddenly all got linux machines...

      I'm not sure about your point is with the FOSS community. Money can't buy innovation, it can help it certainly, but without great people it won't do a thing. The FOSS movement has great people. MS has great people. Both innovate.

  31. inlophe
    November 6, 2014 at 4:24 am

    Good article, though some of it maybe too exaggerating. I use microsoft OS since Windows 95, and now I'm running Windows 8.1. I remember how convenient it is using MS Office 2003 and how cool it is using windows xp. It takes me about a week to really enjoy MS 2007 when it launch, but after that everything goes better and better. For me personally, the change from Office 2003 and 2007 is a great achievement because Office 2007 and the next generation place the option and tools in the place that are easy to find and reach.

    It is the same with windows, it became better on windows 7 (for me) and it evolve to windows 8 that I think it is cool...It didn't take me much time to adapt the new Windows UI (Metro) because I can just type what I want to open on the UI.

    The concept of the windows 8 is great, it's innovative and yeah the backwards compability is awesome. And it's become better on windows 8.1 with the "visual" start icon on the bottom left (why visual? because it's there on windows 8, but you have to bring your cursor to the bottom left). You can open control panel,command prompt,shutdown, and many more with right click on the icon. It becomes more easy...
    To manually update? Just open the control panel and type "upda" then choose check for update.

    I remember an ex Microsoft employee nickname "Barnacules" on youtube said something like this "The change from windows 7 to windows 8 is like the change from windows 3.0/3.1 to windows 95". He said that the "start menu" on windows 95 causing a mass stir on the user, because it is new...And after sometime, we became comfortable with it. Now, when microsoft want to change that again, the same problem arise...

    Hey, the concept and execution of xbox one are excelent. It really stuns me when watching the live streaming of the release, the innovation really makes me want it. Though the "no secondhand disc" can became a dealbreaker. But hey, they do it not for themself, it's for the gamemaker (I think)...

    It's true that some of the things that microsoft do is not good, but don't just lump everything to the word "Microsoft".

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Hey inlophe, thanks for the comment. I'm glad you agree with a lot of what I'm saying!

      It's nice to see someone who managed the shocking changes to the start menu with ease. It's apparently taken some people two years! That quote from Barnacules is fascinating; thanks for sharing it.

    • inlophe
      November 7, 2014 at 12:56 am

      Yeah, you're welcome...
      I don't know, maybe it is because I love innovation that makes me fast on learning it.
      It is true that I need to search for guide on the internet for the first time for some things for the first time, like some comment above (complaning I guess). But, it is the art of learning, you can't just do it by yourself (actually you can, but it will takes much time).

      I bet when windows 95 released people always looking for manual.

      That's why many creator/manufacturer always include a manual....

    • Harry
      November 10, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      There's nothing wrong with looking at a manual. In fact, the whole drive to simplify things to not needing a manual is crazy. Photoshop is one of the best programs around and you will never manage to teach yourself it just by playing with it. You need to learn. An operating system can be the same.

  32. Fred
    November 6, 2014 at 2:53 am

    Also, I also use some server OS's including Windows 2003, 2008 and 2012, along with OSX Mavericks Server :-) Learning is great :-)

    I loved OS/2 and despise IBM for killing it :-)

  33. Fred
    November 6, 2014 at 2:51 am

    great comments, silly article :-) but still informative in some ways...

    As a user of M$ crapware since the DOS days, I can say that bloat is the major part of their products :-) And stupid features... Remember M$ Bob? or the paper clip in Office? Both died a deserved death LOL

    I spend a LOT of time in forums and Google trying to fix the myriad problems Windows throws at me, and my customers (I am a computer tech, self employed)... learned a lot about how it works and how it doesn't :-)

    I use most OS's (XP, 7 and 8.1), including OSX and some Linux flavors. Windoze 8.1 has a special place in "user hell" for me... most of my customers hate it, that came from XP originally and bought new PC's.

    The variety of opinions are very interesting here :-) Enjoyed the read...

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Hey Fred, for some reason I think the comments are silly and the article great! ;)

      Bloat is just features you don't use. Adobe often has the same criticism levelled at it but the simple thing is that just because you don't use everything your computer can do, it doesn't mean it's a problem. I agree Windows could be more useable but so could every OS. Computers in general are not super friendly and there are people who struggle with TV remotes.

  34. Jim Currie
    November 6, 2014 at 2:48 am

    I have used MS products for more than 20 years. First I used Word Perfect and Lotus, both were very buggy and not compatible, then came Word etc - all worked together - fantastic. I rebuilt a couple of 386 and early 486's for a buddies daughters, loaded all 15 or 17 diskettes of MS onto them and this sufficed to take them thru 4 years of college successfully.
    Thank you MS.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      Hey Jim, god you've been using Microsoft stuff for almost as long as I've been alive! Office has always served me well.

  35. Col. Panek
    November 6, 2014 at 2:25 am

    The Microsoft "bashing" will stop when I can go to Staples or Best Buy and buy a computer with my choice of operating system (i.e., a real Linux), and not have to pay the Microsoft Tax.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Hey Col. Panek, that will happen when there's consumer demand for it. When Staples or Best Buy can make money from selling Linux computers and manufacturers can make money producing them, that's not going to happen. You could always get a Chromebook! ;)

    • Col. Panek
      November 6, 2014 at 8:12 pm

      Chromebooks are on my short list for the next upgrade, but my PCs are only 3 - 5 years old and do everything I want to do . . . running the latest Linux of course.

      People buy what's heavily advertised, and don't know any better. Elections are a good example.

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Try installing Chrome OS on an old laptop and see if you like it. I used it before and it's literally just a browser. I could never get by just with it.

      That's not true at all. The Surface has far more advertising than the iPad, doesn't get bought. Samsung similarly spend far more on advertising than Apple and sell less S5s than iPhones (though more phones when you take into account low end).

    • Col. Panek
      November 7, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      If I buy a Chromebook, it will have ChromeOS for about 2 days. Old laptops get Lubuntu 32 bit, or Bodhi (with its cool Enlightenment desktop) or if they're older than ten years or so, Puppy. Then, back to work.

      When is the last time you saw a Linux ad? It spreads by word of mouth, people telling their friends "hey, there's something better".

    • Harry
      November 7, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      Hahahahah the only issue you'll run into then is hard drive size. Most of them have quite small SSDs. Other than that it's actually a solid idea.

      Never and that's my point!

    • Col. Panek
      November 7, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      The thing is, Linux uses less hard drive space. My Mint partition right now is 7 GB, my openSUSE partition is 17 GB (I have home movies and tried a lot of apps on there). I still have a Windows 7 partition, it clocks in at 63 GB and I don't even have many addons there. I don't need a recovery partition so that's 7 GB I free up. I keep my "good stuff" in a /home partiton so I can access it from wherever. SD card is fine, or there's always a $50 external terabyte spinning rust drive. Or the cloud (my own, not Google's, not that I don't trust them...much).

    • Harry
      November 8, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      Sounds like you've got it properly sussed anyway! Probably get by with a 32GB SSD that some of the "better" Chromebooks have. I wouldn't wish a 16GB SSD on anyone!

  36. Robin H
    November 6, 2014 at 2:11 am

    I agree with almost everything said here, except the part about Android being ugly. Yes, the skins that some companies put on their phones aren't great, but stock Android looks very nice these days, if a little thin at times.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      Hey Robin, glad you liked the piece. The design of Android just leaves me cold. I also really don't like how the experience varies so much amongst 3rd parties. Hopefully the material design stuff will change that.

  37. Paul
    November 6, 2014 at 1:12 am

    Hey Harry,
    How much were you paid to propagate this drivel?
    However, having read it, I am more convinced than ever that Linux is the way to go.
    I especially loved the line "Windows 8 was the same. A beautiful design created to bridge the gap between tablets and PCs. " Laughable, to say the least...

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Hey Paul, as I mentioned earlier, the main bit was a half tub of Nutella. I'll leave Linux to you. My experiments with it have been unpleasant!

  38. Paul
    November 6, 2014 at 1:10 am

    They are soooo awesome.
    Nice,Secure and Awesome

  39. Aeschmann
    November 6, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Dragonmouth, i had the patience to read all the ramblings, and, with all due respect, allow me to educate you about some facts, in order to wake you up to the reality (maybe you are intoxicated by some linux-unix "flavors" or you are dazed and confused after paying obscene amounts of good old cold cash for some apple products...who knows?)
    1/ Microsoft is a corporation, not your friend, parent, nanny.
    2/The Microsoft products cost money, see point 1, so please stop the patronizing term "M$", which, by the way, is used mostly by Apple hard core buyers, who forget the ratio cost per product of their beloved iwhatever apple product they (most likely not) own.
    3/Innovating involves a lot of failure, plus the reticence of the general public, the end user, the buyer, (see the case of the pad failure of Microsoft and the "discovery" of pads by Apple, which apart copying design from Braun and patenting it, patenting "round corners", soon patenting the circle as a new innovation, was also stealing heavily from Xerox).
    4/ Microsoft products are sold with the idea they are for everyone, not selling illusions of adequacy, are for geniuses, business people, even people with severe disabilities.
    Products for everyone.
    Hence the reluctance against Windows 8, which far from being the 7 hit, is still a step further.
    5/As the rumor mill is turning, Windows 10 will be for free.
    And i can continue ad libitum with someone like you...
    Why don't you take a break, and honestly analyze yourself?
    I really do believe that you are so entrenched in your false beliefs, that you have lost contact with reality.

    Thanks for the article, and shame on you for taking so much money plus goodies for an article which took you 10 minutes to write, correct, and publish.
    Tip (for free): why don't you write an article about how stable, polished, well arranged is the Windows 10 preview release ?
    I use it for some time now, i am very pleased, and it didn't cost me nothing, at least didn't bent in my pocket like the "marvelous" and obscenely expensive IPhone 6.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      Great comment! I didn't have to write it. Microsoft sent me the article ready for me to publish. ;) I'm writing an article on the Windows 10 Preview at the moment so those comments may just make it in!

  40. Saikat Basu
    November 5, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Pushing the envelope for 80% of PC users is no easy task. Most of our first machines ran Windows, and we definitely started with Office. And for that alone it deserves a pat. Even though, we might have choices now. Microsoft still does Enterprise better than most.

    • dragonmouth
      November 5, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      "Microsoft still does Enterprise better than most."
      That is highly debatable. I agree that there is a predominance of Microsoft Enterprise installations acroos the world. However, is it due to the actual quality of the software or is it because of "You can't get fired for buyin Microsoft" attitude?

      I worked in IT for a company that had both Microsoft and Red Hat. We always were experiencing more problems with the Microsoft side of things. There were constant glitches with their software and I am not talking about malware. In fact, when I retired, the company was in the process of replacing Windows servers with Linux ones.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      Thanks Saikat!

  41. likefunbutnot
    November 5, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Microsoft's paid $300 per incident support can be unreal if you have a problem that actually qualifies for it. I once had a Small Business Server eat itself during a migration to a new version and wound up with eight Engineers working for three days to salvage the configuration. That probably would've cost $40 or $50,000 if I had been paying by the hour.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      Yeah that sounds pretty awesome! I've never had cause to use it. That point might make it into any follow up article. ;)

  42. OnlyGeek
    November 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    My sole complaint here is about "downloadable medium" replacing physical medium.
    I consider myself a hardcore gamer, and a huge collector.
    However I don't buy DLCs and I don't buy "digital releases" either.
    I am fortunate enough to live in a region which I have access and means to afford a not-so-bad broadband connection, so I could buy my games on PSN or Live, but if I were to move to anywhere half an hour by car, downloading any game larger than 1GB would be a massive no-go.
    Also, comparing to Apple not having optical drives is somehow ridiculous. Most of Apple users aren't hardcore computer users or game/movie collectors. I own a massive collection of Blu-rays, something that would be pretty much useless if I were running a MacOS and their lack of... anything that you'd need to pay royalties to other companies, specially to Japanese ones. And iTunes movies? They look as bad or worse as Netflix's HD. Probably iTunes is the only place you can buy 1080p video files that look worse than their 720p counterparts.
    Sure, for smaller files - like the x86 installer of Microsoft Office it may not be a huge issue, or in the case which most Adobe's suit users would be living somewhere with a good connection, downloading applications is no big deal. But I still wonder how that would work if internet security packages wouldn't be sold in discs anymore. Some of them can reach 600MB, then you'd have to get another 50MB-100MB for the first update, so I pity individuals who are using 3G connections as their sole option and with a very limited plan of a couple of GBs per month.
    Overall, PC gamers and console gamers are different. I love playing on my PC, but due to ridiculous DRM, I pretty much only get my share of gaming from GOG. And Steam is killing pretty much what I came to love in games: collectable boxes on my shelves, bonus material, the fact that I'd be owning the game instead of renting it as long as I am a sucker for accepting their ToS, decent offline games that doesn't need 5 patches in the first month of release and so on. I'd rather have a StartForce disc than a Steam-locked disc.
    On consoles, I can get lots of great games from Japan, most of them used and rare with collectables. The best of all? I can play them.
    So, I am glad Microsoft pulled back on their decision of locking the game to an account. And finally, they lifted the ridiculous region-lock - something that Nintendo should learn from. Heck, I'd hate to be forced to have an online account to play any offline game. Even my Android phone isn't linked to Google's service and I can side load anything I need.
    Then again, my ranting may be just with how Americans deal with games. With a million CoDs, Battlefields and tons of EA sports titles, it feels like they don't really know what games are about.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      @OnlyGeek, thanks for your comment. I think you're in the minority on this one. This is the way things are going. Look at the success of the app model. You can't buy physical versions anywhere and the most successful outsell any other game. The profit margins are way higher because there's no middlemen and distribution costs are low. I know what you're saying about the pleasure of building a collection but to many people, the hassle just isn't worth it.

  43. ibivi
    November 5, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Perhaps. They made my life miserable with Windows 8 and for that I can never forgive them. If fix all that crap in Windows 10 and give it to me for free (as gift for all my troubles) my attitude might change a little.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Hey ibivi, how did they make your life miserable!? I understand there's an adaption process but it shouldn’t be that bad!

  44. KT
    November 5, 2014 at 3:01 am

    1. It seems most of the things you mentioned like "innovative" and "they listen" are pretty much past tense at this point. Look at the X-bone, they had the audacity to tell the consumer what it wanted and acted surprised when the always on Kinect and DRM were panned by the masses.
    2. They had to buy Nokia just to have a platform for their mobile o.s. That's not a good sign of "universal acceptance".
    3. I agree 100% that M$ was great for a long while, but time caught up with them and more people are switching to Mac, Linux, and Chromebooks every day. People don't like shelling out $100-$150 every couple of years for a shinier and more resource hungry o.s.
    We all started with M$, some of us move on, some stay. It's up to the user in the end. I'm just glad we have choices, monopolies are no good for anyone.

    • Tim
      November 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Actually the last few releases of Windows, since Vista, have used less resources than the previous version.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      Hey KT, thanks for your comment but I disagree with some of it. They had the "audacity" to offer features that some people (me) would have loved. Always on Kinect doesn't mean it's spying on you, it means you've voice control available at all times. People get too scared of progress!

      They didn't have to buy Nokia to do that, there were other Windows phones available (though not super succesful). Nokia was floundering and so it was an opportunity for MS to aquire a hardware maker. They've done some great things when they've made there own hardware.

      People are switching to Mac at a crazy rate but your nuts if you think anyone is touching Chromebooks or Linux. Neither of them have very high adoption rates.

  45. Hildy J
    November 4, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    It's good to hear some balanced MS reporting. One thing I would add to backwards compatibility is sideways compatibility. MS products are designed to work with more combinations of hardware and software than anybody.

    This is, ultimately, their strength and weakness. They are not monolithic, they are comprehensive. Apple was the leader in the early PC market but they offered a limited number of devices which locked you in. MS ran on just about anything with an x86 chip. Ultimately they buried Apple and, for all their round PCs and 5k screens Apple remains an afterthought in the PC market (as do Linux, Unix, BSD, etc.).

    In a few years, I would not be surprised to see MS cut into Android's phone empire and watch Apple become a profitable niche product. Why? MS Research and the unification of Windows. If you ever wondered why Cortana seemed so polished right out of the gate, it's because MS has been working on speech recognition and speech to text since XP. Ditto touch and digital ink. Sometimes researching things pays off in the long run.

    • dragonmouth
      November 5, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      "Apple was the leader in the early PC market"
      Sorry to disabuse you, Hildy, but Apple was never a leader in the PC market. Lisa, the precursor to the Mac, was an expensive disaster. Apple II & II+ were good with good software but were overshadowed by Commodore and Amiga. Also, until the IBM PC came out, personal computers were considered to be just playtoys. IBM, with its PC, legitimized the personal computer as a business tool in many people's minds. But the IBM PC, with MS-DOS, also sounded a death knell for Commodore, Amiga, Timex and several other manufacturers. Apple was marginalized even though their IIgs and Mac were just as good performers as IBM PC. The corporate attitude towards IBM mainframe hardware of "You can't get fired for buying IBM" carried over into the personal computer market and, as a result, everybody bought PCs from IBM. Apple's marketshare also took a big hit because of inept corporate management under the leadership of, first Gil Amelio, and the John Sculley. Only after Steve Jobs returned to Apple and took over as CEO did Apple become successful.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      Hildy, I totally agree with you on sideways combatibility. Having built a Hackintosh, I can say finding OS X compatible parts is not the simplest task! I'm certainly interested to see how Microsoft do now that they own Nokia.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Dragonmouth, that still doesn't refute Hildy's point of why Microsoft won out over a lot of other competitors. Their willingness to let other manufacturers run their software was a key part of it.

    • Hildy J
      November 6, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Your timeline is a bit off. The Amiga came out well after the Apple II and even after the Lisa and Mac and the Commodore 20 and 64 were also years later. Commodore's Apple II competitor was the PET which was less than successful.

      The Apple II swept the education market (which it then dominated until recently) and was the first business PC because VisiCalc allowed it to do things that dedicated word processing computers (like the Wang 1200) couldn't. It took IBM and MS years to take over the markets from Apple.

      As for Jobs, when he left their were four Apple PCs, the Apple IIe and IIc, the Lisa, and the Mac, but Apple was already retreating to its education and graphics niche.

  46. Doc
    November 4, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    "Windows 8 was the same. A beautiful design..." What are you smoking? Going from a polished UI like Vista/7 to a flat, boring set of tiles? Windows 8 was the beginning, or at least a major step, on the way to making things boring and flat again, after decades of improvements in UI design. There's dozens of buttons in the default Windows 8 theme that are nothing but a piece of text that doesn't indicate it can be clicked; lack of button outlines means that UI elements can be confusing to find or overlooked. Fortunately, most of the ugly can be swept away with UXTheme Patcher and a nice theme, although we can't completely get rid of the Charms bars and control panel applets that have been deprecated in favor of a touchscreen interface (regardless of whether you have a touchscreen or not!)
    iOS and Android have fallen prey to the "flat theme" look as well; time will tell if Google's "material design" is as bad as iOS 8 or Windows 8.x

    • Sam
      November 5, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Big +1 on the ugliness of Windows 8 (though it's totally subjective of course). You might be pleased to know though that one of the highest-voted suggestions that has been submitted to MS for Windows 10 is the return of Aero Glass (not as default, just an option). It's received enough votes that it's unlikely they'll be able to ignore it (and certainly won't be able to ignore the request for tabbed file exploring).

      Re unofficial themes though, don't you run into a lot of visual glitches? I've tried them before and where I have title bar gradients, I get flat colour behind the title text. I've also noticed that even without a theme in use, the presence of the theme patcher on the system resulted in the odd minor rendering glitch on the start screen (not that I make much of it). I'd prefer non-glitchy Metro-style over mostly-attractive but glitchy themes (low glitch tolerance).

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      @Doc. A cuban cigar.

      Also I've never heard someone describe Vista's UI as polished before. I quite liked it but there was some serious hatred for it. I know what you mean about the button outlines and developers are exploring other way to indicate interactivity. It's one of the issues with flat design from a UX standpoint but I think it's far far prettier.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      @Sam, I didn't know about the Aero stuff being requested. I hope they bring it back as an option now just to prove me right on the Microsoft listening point! ;)

    • Doc
      November 7, 2014 at 12:39 am

      @Sam: No, I've used Vishal Gupta's Vista Black on Windows XP, and the Windows 7 Visual Style by xxinightxx on Windows 8.1, and both have them have been quite polished, although the xxinightxx theme doesn't quite capture the "aero" look (top right control buttons on inactive windows are a little too gray).

    • Doc
      November 7, 2014 at 12:46 am

      @Harry: It isn't that the UI was polished (the UAC prompts are just a pain in the &*#@), but the visual theme was nice, especially if you turned the overall color pure black (one of the first things I do with a new install of Windows 7). There are still lots of things wrong with 7 (and 8.1, IIRC), like the tray icons disappearing randomly until you mouse over them, or Explorer asking you to delete the same files twice, then flipping out when it can't find them, but overall, things *are* getting better.

  47. Muhammad Adil
    November 4, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    after reading some of the comments in this article I can see some people are ungrateful of the services & products from Microsoft.I wont go into the details they themselves can think about the benefits that Microsoft provided to them.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      Hey Muhammad, yeah it seems it's now popular to characterise Microsoft as this big baddie. They're a great company that's had hits and misses. You can take issues with certain aspects of them but people denying that their popular stuff is good are wrong.

  48. Khai
    November 4, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    "When Microsoft announced the Xbox One, they planned to make all the games you bought digital, whether you downloaded them or bought a physical disk. The game would be assigned to your Xbox Live account. If you bought a disk but lost or broke it, it wouldn’t matter, you could just download the game from the Xbox Live Store. The tyranny of scratched games would be over!"

    or... Steam.

    I have several games bought as DVD's, taken them home only to have them invoke Steam to install or I just use the serial on Steam to activate. no need for the disks at all....
    nothing new at all, Steam have been doing it for quite some time.

    • Harry
      November 5, 2014 at 1:26 am

      Innovation can be taking something from somewhere and applying it somewhere else. Bringing that to console gaming was certainly innovative and it drives me nuts they didn't. Steam is fantastic.

  49. Bill
    November 4, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Is there a way to filter out Microsoft puff-pieces from Makeuseof?

    • Harry
      November 5, 2014 at 1:25 am

      Read the OS X section? ;)

  50. Kris
    November 4, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Harry, I'll give you a hat tip on this. Most everyone who is complaining about Microsoft has no memory of a time before MSFT when computers were only accessible by a limited few. MSFT has flaws but they brought information technology to the masses.

    Thanks for offering another point of view besides, "Microsoft Sucks". LOL


    • Harry
      November 5, 2014 at 1:27 am

      Hahahahha I'll be honest Kris, I've no memory of that time! Glad you liked the piece.

    • catweazle666
      November 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      *" Most everyone who is complaining about Microsoft has no memory of a time before MSFT when computers were only accessible by a limited few. "*


      This December I will celebrate the 50th anniversary of attending my first computer course.

      While rooting in the loft the other day I found my first Micro$oft Windows - no version number - SDK. Most of the IT professionals I know dream of the day when they can boast that there isn't a single bit of Micro$oft code in their establishment - the horror stories they can tell are legion.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Hey Cat, I think the problem most IT professionals have is not with Windows but with the users. I know office workers who would need tech support to use a landline! No computer is ever going to be simple enough for them. Or safe enough from their luddite hands!

  51. Sam
    November 4, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Maryon Jeane, don't you normally go by dragonmouth? If I'm wrong (and given the lack of the cringeworthy and childish 'M$' every other word, maybe I am) then it shouldn't be long until we see a similar response from MUO's incumbent Microsoft-hater :-)

    Harry, thanks for this. Good to see that not everyone feels compelled to jump on the anti-MS bandwagon! Still, you couldn't pay me to game on XB1...

    • dragonmouth
      November 4, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      "MUO’s incumbent Microsoft-hater "
      Why thank you, Sam, but that should be written as "M$-hater." I'm flattered to be appointed to such an exalted position. But you have it wrong, I do not hate M$. I just see the company for what it is, a corporate predator from Day 1.

      Say what you will about Fruitco but at least its software was home grown, written by Steve Wozniak. M$-DOS, the product on which M$ was founded and sold to IBM, was named 86-DOS when purchased by Bill Gates from Seattle Computer Products. Mr. Bill made some changes and renamed to the name we all know and love. That was the first instance of M$'s 3E policy (Embrace, Enhance, Extinguish). Throughout its history, M$ has attempted to Embrace, Enhance and ultimately Extinguish many products from many companies. Sometimes they failed but most of the time they succeeded. How many products has M$ appropriated from all the companies they have forced out of business?

      "Microsoft’s business applications continue to dominate for professional purposes"
      M$ has achieved its world domination not through quality of its products but the draconian and restrictive contracts it forced on the hardware manufacturers up until 1995. Did you ever hear the expression "Microsoft Tax?" The term was coined because M$ did not charge PC manufacturers for the number of copies of M$-DOS and/or Windows that the PC maker used, but by the total number of PCs that the manufacturer sold, whenther the PC was loaded with an M$ O/S, another O/S or had no O/S at all. Faced with having to pay the Microsoft Tax, PC manufacturers decided they might as well get something for their money so they installed M$ O/S on all their PCs. A 1995 consent decree between US DOJ and M$ forced M$ to end such restrictive contracts. But by that time M$ had a de facto monopoly on PC software because its products were on hundreds of millions of computers.

      It is interesting how the M$ and Fruitco sheep disregard inconvenient truths about their beloved companies. Baaa, baaa, baaaaaa

    • Harry
      November 5, 2014 at 1:42 am

      Your welcome Sam, glad you liked it. Yeah as much as I love what the Xbox One could have been... I'll be picking up an AC Unity PS4 Bundle in the next few months!

    • Maryon Jeane
      November 5, 2014 at 1:58 am

      No, Sam - I'm Maryon Jeane and that's my real name! My comments on any subject (Harry!) are based on what I know and long experience, not on a particular political stance or some deep-seated dislike of change or someone dropping me on my head when I was young.

      Harry, you can maybe open an old Word document now - just as long as it isn't complicated (and mine are, very) and you don't want to manipulate it much (which I do need to do for business purposes). Excel is OK and I have a partner who can make it fly - but it takes one hell of a lot of working round and it's clunky when you really get into the macros etc.

      I stand by everything I said - and I'm definitely not resistant to change, as even my worst enemy will tell you.

    • Sam
      November 5, 2014 at 10:26 am

      dragonmouth, re 'M$' you're like a child deliberately chewing with their mouth open. Please stop.

      As for Microsoft's business practices, I'm certainly not going to argue that they're saints. They're a business, and like almost all businesses, they'll put profit first (which is kind of what a business is all about!). While I'm curious about this other world where businesses don't prioritise profit and where capitalism is synonymous with altruism, I'm going to stay focused on reality.

      It may sound jaded, but if there's a corporation you believe has only ever conducted themselves in an open, honest and honourable manner then you're simply unaware of the dishonest and dishonourable aspects of their business practices. Maybe the best thing we can do is judge these companies not on our perception of their decency / honesty / whatever but on the quality of their products. Have you spent any significant amount of time running Windows 7?

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      @Maryon, I've found that I can open so fairly complex documents with no issues. What features were you using that are so poorly compatible?

      And Excel is great. ;) Any advanced software is hardwork when you use it properly. That's the cost of control. It's certainly not easy to use, especially the most complex Macros but it gives you a hell of a lot of power!

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      @Sam, I'm going to have to agree with you on the M$ stuff. They are no more money grabbing than any other company in a capitalist economy. Though he/she does also refer to Apple as fruitco so at least it's across the board.

  52. Maryon Jeane
    November 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Microsoft has probably single-handedly wasted more people's and companies' time than any other company in the world. The company's office products, a cobbled-together version of other people's work and add-on modules developed by youngsters who, bright though they maybe, have little or no experience of actually working in offices and the real world, are invariably released before they are ready - and the fallout is wasted time, corrupted data, and stress.

    Backwards compatibility?!? Listening to users?!? Are you joking? If Microsoft is now soliciting users' opinions then the company must have finally realised that its continual ignoring of what those users need and want is losing it market share to a dangerous degree and I suspect it's actually being made to listen to its shareholders, not users.

    Microsoft products are only 'popular', in the sense that they are - or have been - prevalent in the market because the company spends an eye-watering amount on aggressive (and sometimes less-than-legal) promotion, marketing and squashing of competition. (One hell of a lot more, I strongly suspect, than it ever does on actually getting the product right.) That's why it's "universal software" and not because it's the best - hell, it's not even particularly good. There isn't one Microsoft piece of software that is the best in its field. Microsoft products are bloated, unstable, time-consuming to use, and each and every 'upgrade' (often no more than a glorified bug-fix) shows a breathtaking disregard for the user's previous experience, needs and even the integrity of their data.

    Design? Yes, if you like jazzy, and eye candy, and a crude appeal to the child in us all - but not so much if you want to get on with your work and find the things you need quickly, in the same place as they were previously and/or in a logical place. (Remember the introduction of the ribbon? The touch screen?) Frankly, amongst the swathes of time I spend cutting the operating system down each time I install, reinstall or upgrade, is a large chunk which is spent on calming down the puerile mish-mash of design elements and clearing sufficient screen estate so that I can actually get my work done in a coherent manner. The blue screen is pretty though, don't you think?

    There are some good things about Microsoft, as a company, there have to be because nothing is wholly good or bad (but that's another discussion...). Bill Gates, much as I would like half an hour in a soundproof room on my own with the man, has done some pretty impressive things in the way of charitable endeavours. Microsoft as an entity has been as exciting as Jobs and Apple and has engendered lots of exciting startups, offshoots and tangents, new ways of thinking. As a company Microsoft has employed, is employing, lots of bright young geeky things and given them their head (albeit with a strong lead attached) and the opportunity to play with concepts and exciting techie things, and this has engendered more interesting experiments in the wider tech world. But the darker side of Microsoft, and the frustration and desperation its flawed products have made part of life in the workplace have done ineffable damage.

    • Harry
      November 5, 2014 at 1:40 am

      Hey Maryon, thanks for your comment. I disagree with almost everything you've said though!!! ;)

      I think you're misunderstanding the software development process in Microsoft. There Office suite is hardly cobbled together but is instead the result of continuous development over many years.

      Definitely not joking about backwards compatibility. I can still open word docs created on an XP machine in 2001 and it'll be fully compatible. The same can't be said for a pages document created on a Lion machine two years ago.

      I just had a quick look at Microsoft's annual reports. They spend 1.5 times on marketing and sales than they do on research and development. The actual figures are certainly advertising but that's not atypical for a tech company. Apple's ratio is closer to 2 times. You can say what you like about Word and Powerpoint, but if you think Excel isn't best in field then you're flat out wrong.

      Yes design. I can understand that you may not appreciate the modern trends in design but that does not mean they are good. The ribbon was an excellent way to take options out of menus and allow easier access to more things. Learning to use a keyboard over a pen takes time, it doesn't mean it's worse. Just because you have to adapt to change doesn't necessarily mean something is bad.

      I totally agree with you on the good points about Microsoft as a company. I still disagree with you on Microsoft's supposed dark side! ;)

    • catweazle666
      November 6, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      Indeed Maryon, I agree with every word you typed.

      Oh, and by the way Harry, did you ever come across the Zune?

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      Cat, I came across one but I never used them. Microsoft never made a big push into Ireland with them (tiny market anyway). I had an iPod. I will definitely agree the Zune wasn't Microsoft's finest product. You'll notice I never mention it above. ;)

  53. Bob
    November 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    You should have talked more about the Innovative Products, the original Xbox, Xbox 360, Surface and Microsoft Azure, instead of what the Xbox One could have been.

    • Harry
      November 5, 2014 at 1:24 am

      Hey Bob, I was trying to focus on the more recent stuff and what the Xbox One could have been was pretty awesome. I think Azure is a ridiculously fantastic product but so few regular people have even heard of it. Even the biggest Apple fans praise it!

  54. Jacob
    November 4, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Totally correct. Typing this from a Windows Phone in fact.

    • Harry
      November 5, 2014 at 1:22 am

      Hey Jacob, glad you agree! I've an iPhone myself but if I wasn't so invested in it in terms of apps and everything else, I'd totally be picking up a Windows Phone over Android.

  55. dragonmouth
    November 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Get me some hip boots! The manure is getting deep. How much did M$ pay you for this this piece of fanboi dreck?!

    • Harry
      November 5, 2014 at 1:21 am

      $10, a bag of chips and a half tub of Nutella.

    • Brian Outhwaite
      November 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      I'm still trying to adapt to Windows 8! As an early adopter it STILL confounds me every time I hit the Windows key. Which is an incredible feat of software engineering! I feel like I discover new ways and shortcuts everyday that used to take me to the same places that I used to go to. My failure rate at going to standard OS system tasks is still impossibly high. I marvel the feat... There are certain tasks that I just had to make shortcuts for because the process is just too many keystrokes and path selections otherwise. The guesswork I have to put in to the shortest way to basic tasks heightens my procrastination to new obscene levels. I'd honestly often feel more at home on a DOS prompt.

      You know another Marvel!? How I have had to actually SEARCH on Google several times how to upgrade from 8 to 8.1! The shear magnitude of the balls on Microsoft humbles me. Sure the process isn't that difficult, but figuring out how and where to do it is just astoundingly painful for such a simple and mandatory task.

      I can understand defending the Microsoft future and certain successes of the past, but defending Windows 8.x for the long-time desktop user is pretty damn bold my friend. Pretty damn bold indeed.

    • dragonmouth
      November 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      "$10, a bag of chips and a half tub of Nutella."
      You sell yourself very cheaply, Harry.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      Brian, if you are still surprised by what a button does 2 years after first using it, I don't think the fault lies with Microsoft! ;) I'm curious as to what tasks you find slower? I've found 8 much faster to use because of how integrated search is with everything.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      dragonmouth, have you not had Nutella? There's not much I wouldn't do for half a tub and consider it a bargain! :P

    • Greg
      November 15, 2014 at 3:20 am

      No doubt! Only thing left is get a Microsoft tatoo on your forehead.
      Microsoft is rapidly "innovating" themselves into obscurity. They are alienating business/corporate IT departments and users alike while failing to "wow" home consumers. They're "fixing" problems that don't exist, and ignoring the ones that do. Nobody besides "hobbyists" truly likesWindows 8 and the notion that people want their desktop experience to be like using their phone is about as sensible as assuming they want their smartphone experience to be just like using a desktop. If I sat around "blogging for Microsoft" all day, I'd be pretty "impressed" with this crap too....but I, like 99.9% of the people who earn their living in front of a computer, am no longer amused.

  56. Steve
    November 4, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    //Microsoft Office is a must have if you are serious about business, or work in a large office.// - rubbish. The majority of users and business do not use all the tools within MS Office. It cornered the market when (admittedly) the competitors at the time were rubbish and became a 'standard' by default. Now, because it is a 'standard' it has to be taught in schools and colleges because that is what business demands, not because it is what is needed. They also refuse to accept compatibility with open standards instead, making their own versions of the open standards. (shades of IE in days past.

    //Android still lags behind with horrendous vendor skins layered on top of an already ugly operating system.// The underlying Android OS is pretty good - though I agree vendors have made a horrible mess of it, but you pay a price for being able to do what you want with an OS, rather than being told. Seems the general public also agree with this stance, given the sales of Windows Mobile.

    //Windows 8 was the same. A beautiful design created to bridge the gap between tablets and PCs.// Utter tosh I'm afraid. It did not suit business, who did not want to spend a fortune on new touch screen monitors (nor did the general public), ergonomically it was an appalling idea for desktop users. Even using the mouse trying to get past the childish interface was problematic. Having to swipe across to the screens edge to get the charm bar was not very smart for desktop users.

    //For me, and also my colleague Matt this was a fair trade off; to a horde of Internet commenters it wasn’t. Microsoft backed off.// or maybe this unwashed horde realised that the ability to get shut of something they had PAID for on the second hand market that was used to fund purchase of newer games would mean that effectively gaming would cost them more.

    A few even picked up on the notion that software as a service where the company controls the software and what you can do with it was a step too far. and transferring power over to the software companies was idiotic. Ask Kindle users who have had books deleted (yes they did get the price back).

    Had MS they created a choice of interface (as they are rumoured to be doing for 10) that allowed desktops, laptops and tablet owners to choose what best suited them and their working environment they would have done much better, as the underlying OS is good and stable.

    I am not a fan of any of the OS's available and use Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 (work), Win 7 (at home), Android (phone and tablet) and have an iPod (as well as using OS7, 8, 9 and X in the past).

    Microsoft are very innovative, and often wrongly accused of stealing ideas (looking at you - Apple), they have produced some great things and OS's, but the idea they listen is amusing. They may collect feedback, but that is not the same as doing anything with it. The evidence for this is that until the complaints become so loud, they are adamant they will not change it and then eventually backtrack - people remember this.

    Microsoft does deserve more respect than they get, but the above article over inflates this to ridiculous lengths.

    • Harry
      November 5, 2014 at 1:21 am

      Hey Steve, thanks for your comment. Though obviously I disagree with some of it! ;)

      Just because someone doesn't use all of a software suite doesn't mean they shouldn't have all of it. Office works because in most offices, all of it gets used. One department might not *need* to create Excel documents but it's good practice for them to be able to read them.

      The underlying Android OS has only recently gotten to the point it can be called good. And only a tiny fraction of phones are running the most recent versions. Many more people are stuck using crap, low spec phones with old versions of Android and vendor skins than high end phones with Kit Kat. The sales of Windows phone don't reflect the quality of Android, but instead the difficulties of entering a competitive market late.

      I also entirely disagree with you on Windows 8. If something is different it is obviously harder to adapt to at first but that does not mean it is worst. Many people did not even bother to try and adapt and instead moaned about the changes. Look at what happens everytime Facebook changes something.

      Physical games are done. Look at Steam on computers. App stores on phones. The next generation of consoles are unlikely to have them, this was just bringing them in now. Second hand games are not going to be around long.

      They essentially did allow a choice in 8. The major change was the start menu which was an improvement. Rather than using the mouse it was keyboard driven.

      I think you'll find the evidence in them listening in Windows 10! ;)

  57. dricht1
    November 4, 2014 at 1:38 pm


    Watch Microsoft over the next two years. With a new CEO and a new vision, the most innovative R&D around and a little more focus on hardware, they might just be the next big thing all over again.

    • Harry
      November 5, 2014 at 12:49 am

      Thanks! Yeah the things that have been coming out of Microsoft Research are super exciting. I love the photography stuff because I'm a photographer but there's some other really promising ideas. I think there's every chance Microsoft will pull something out of the bag. When they make there own hardware it's top notch.

  58. Pierre
    November 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Microsoft is still a private monopoly - like it or not . ..

    • tim
      November 5, 2014 at 12:41 am

      a public company that is used for business and good at it
      Cheers on them

    • Harry
      November 5, 2014 at 1:44 am

      Hey Pierre, as Tim says, Microsoft is a publically traded company. If you want to be part of their monopoly, you can buy in for about $50 a share.

    • Brian Outhwaite
      November 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      Harry, you seem to be downplaying monopolies. Just because a company is publicly traded doesn't mean their business isn't harming the industry. I actually don't believe Microsoft is a monopoly anymore. Microsoft is a dying beast who allowed itself to become irrelevant because they couldn't adapt to the changing world around them. The last thing Microsoft has is a handful of patents like a dragon hoarding it's gold. It will be a while before Microsoft loses the majority of the market share, but based on how they force-fed Windows 8 to a unreceptive world, people are ripe for alternatives. Every third release of Windows we have to watch Microsoft unleash some new outrageous shenanigans before thoroughly testing them and checking with the community. Microsoft is doing damage control after they went to war with their own users. Their latest saga is forcing users off the old platforms that they enjoy, like XP and 7. IMHO users just aren't going to continue to play Indiana Jones anymore, hopping from platform to platform dodging the crappy ones as their bridges vaporize behind them. This Microsoft cycle doesn't strike me as a company that has any idea of what efficient innovation even means!
      They told us how we would use our desktops, and the users have reminded them that we don't live in a world bound to Windows anymore... Gabe Newell said it best... "I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space." PC sales and adoption rates have supported this statement quite well. I'm not sure what you are up to in this article Harry, but it doesn't even remotely matches my experience in the real world.

    • Harry
      November 6, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      I don't think Microsoft is in any danger of becoming irrelevant. In the mobile space, yes but they've plenty of other areas of interest. I don't get the nostalgia for XP; 7 I agree with but 8 is the same just with a different start menu and look. It's expected for software to develop. Developers shouldn't have to support ancient OS's.

      Gabe Newell was talking about his business, and the decline in PC sales which he blamed on Windows 8. He was confusing correlation and causation. The PC market is saturated and facing competition from smartphones and tablets.

    • GeneRickyShaw
      May 19, 2015 at 1:35 am

      Exactly how is Microsoft a monopoly?

      We have competition in every field of tech. And mobile is the biggest trend in tech over the last 10 years and MS comes in dead last. Facebook? Nothing to do with MS. Google? Ditto. Android, iOS, Mac OS X?

      In fact, MS giving away Windows 10 and other versions of their software is proof that there IS no monopoly anymore. We're not chained to our PCs anymore and MS has fallen behind.