Enterprise Applications: From Microsoft Bob to Windows 7: Microsoft's Biggest Failures and Successes
From Microsoft Bob to Windows 7: Microsofts Biggest Failures and Successes
by Nicholas Kolakowski
Name: Microsoft Bob
FailureReleased in 1995, Bobs cartoonish, user-friendly environment was supposed to help the not-so-technically-inclined do things like keep their address book updated and write documents (through eight different programs). But damning reviews, elevated hardware requirements and low sales all contributed to its demise by 1996.
FailurePopping up all-too-often in older versions of Office, "Clippit" (known formally as Office Assistant and informally as "Clippy") annoyed users by incessantly offering its assistance with simple actions such as typing letters. By the time Office 2007 rolled around, Microsoft administered a merciful coup de grace.
Name: Windows Vista
FailureAfter two Service Packs, Vista had become much more stable and securebut couldnt shake the stigma of being excessively buggy and unstable. Criticism of the OS hardware requirements and User Account Control (UAC) also wrecked its reputation.
Name: Windows Mobile 6.5
FailureWindows Mobile 6.5 was released in October 2009 as a stopgap, meant to slow Microsofts slide in smartphone OS market share until Windows Phone 7 Series could be released. Mobile 6.5 failed to slow the slide.
Name: Windows Marketplace for Mobile
FailureWindows Marketplace for Mobile currently contains more than 718 mobile apps for U.S.-based Mobile 6.x smartphones, lagging far behind competitors such as Googles Android Market and Apples App Store.
FailureAlthough Zune, Microsofts portable-media player, has earned high marks from critics for its design and features like FM radio, its market share remains tiny in comparison to its primary competitor, Apples iPod franchise.
Name: Windows Me
FailureWindows Millennium Edition, released in the gap between Windows 98 and Windows XP, drew criticism from users for its instability and nasty habit of crashing at inopportune moments. It would soon be eclipsed by Windows XP.
Name: Windows XP
SuccessReleased in 2001, Windows XP proved to be Microsofts most enduring operating system, and the one with the most worldwide market penetration as of 2009. A number of Service Packs made the OS particularly stable, but nonetheless Microsoft intends to end XP support in 2014.
Name: Windows 7
SuccessMicrosoft had a lot riding on the success of its newest operating system, Windows 7. With 90 million copies sold since its October 2009 release, and generally positive reviews for its user interface and features, Microsoft can judge Windows 7 a victory, at least in the short term.
Name: Xbox Franchise
SuccessPropelled by hit games such as the "Halo" franchise, Microsofts Xbox and Xbox 360 have sold millions of units and proved a success among both casual players and hardcore gamers.
Name: Microsoft Office
SuccessLike it or not, applications such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel are ubiquitous among businesses. The rise of cloud-based productivity applications such as Google Apps and their effect on this market remain to be seen.
SuccessThis Web-collaboration tool has proved to be a success for the enterprise; a mobile version is currently being integrated into the upcoming Windows Phone 7 Series interface.
Short-Term SuccessWhen Bing, Microsofts newest search engine, rolled out in summer 2009, some critics were quick to predict its imminent demise. However, Bing has slowly managed to gain market share quarter after quarter, although it still lags behind Google.
Name: Internet Explorer
MixedWhile Internet Explorer has managed to earn the lions share of the Web browser market since its inception in 1995, security concerns (and larger antitrust issues) prevent it from being seen as an outright "success" by many.