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Windows ME and Windows Vista are arguably the two most forgettable versions of Windows ever to be released. That's not just public opinion, at least as it pertains to the latter, which happens to be Steve Ballmer's biggest regret during his time served as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft. Now that he's announced his impending retirement, he can talk a bit more candidly about his track record.
Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet got the rare opportunity to interview Ballmer after announcing his retirement, noting that it's been 20 years since she's been allowed by Microsoft to talk to him. She doesn't know why that is, but if there's an upside, it's that two decades gives you plenty of time to think up questions you'd like to ask. Among them was inquiring about Ballmer's biggest regret.
"I would say probably the thing I regret most is the, what shall I call it, the loopedy-lo that we did that was sort of Longhorn to Vista," Ballmer said. "I would say that's probably the thing I regret the most. And, you know, there are side effects of that when you tie up a big team to do something that doesn't prove out to be as valuable."
Vista was a mess from the beginning, both in terms of compatibility with certain products, and also performance issues that reared their ugly heads. Things improved substantially following Vista's first Service Pack, but by then, the OS's reputation was pretty badly tarnished.
Ballmer touched on a number of other topics as well. He revealed that Bill Gates didn't ask him to stay or go, calling it a personal decision and one that Gates respected,