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Top 10 worst Microsoft products of all time


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Last week, in honour of the Windows 7 launch, we covered Microsoft's biggest successes in the computing field. This week, in the interest of balance, we're looking to the company's dark side.

Every company has its hits and misses. Microsoft, however, seems to have a tendency to miss a lot more often than other companies. Perhaps it's because the company has been so big for so long, or perhaps it's because people are always so eager to point out the faults of the Redmond giant. But no matter what the reason, Microsoft's list of flops is long and legendary.

So this week, we count down ten of what we think are Microsoft's biggest duds. It's been a tough ne to write, not because of a shortage of candidates, but because we had to hold ourselves in check. We've suffered through all of these examples and the temptation to rant has had to be curtailed. We've managed to keep it under 5,000 words, just, but if time had permitted we could have done double that.

Honourable mention: Encarta

Honourable mention: Miss Dewey

10. MS-DOS 4.0

9. IE5

8. Windows 95

7. Zune

6. Bob

5. ActiveX

4. Windows Vista

3. Vista Capable

2. Clippy

1. Windows ME

Iain Thomson: When we decided to do this list I was dreading the argument with Shaun. I know he hates Vista and would want it for the top spot, but I felt we'd be not just flogging a dead horse but jumping up and down on the tins of dog food it had become.

As it turns out he wasn't keen to have Vista on the top spot either and we quickly agreed on the winner, if that's the word. Windows Millennium Edition (ME) was an absolute dog of an operating system and even now is mocked as Microsoft's lowest point in operating system design.

To start off with the operating system was, in my opinion, the most crash-prone piece of software I've ever had the misfortune to run. It was as unstable as a Hollywood starlet with substance abuse issues and many users got used to saving everything every five minutes just in case. IT administrators hated it for this reason and point-blank refused to roll it out in more than a few instances.

Then there were the compatibility issues. To speed up the boot time Microsoft limited access to DOS, but this also made some popular applications incompatible with the operating system. The system restore feature was a nice idea, but most users assumed documents would also be restored, which wasn't the case, and occasionally even found the system restored deleted malware.

There was a widespread view that ME was a cash-in products, something Microsoft had stuck out there early to wring a bit more case out of the Windows 9x line before moving over to XP. That may or may not be true but it was certainly not a polished product and did wonders for sales of Apple's iMac.

Shaun Nichols: When users restored their systems with Windows 98, the software would occasionally also reinstall malware which had previously been deleted. Amazingly, the fact that it would deliberately re-infect your computer with malware was not the worst thing people remember about Windows ME. That should tell you all you need to know right there.

Windows ME was one of those releases that Microsoft really should never have let off campus. After the first few tests, which no doubt showed that the system was incredibly error-prone, someone in the higher ranks of the company should have pressed the panic button and sent everyone back to the drawing board. It's hard to imagine a Steve Jobs or a Larry Ellison letting a dog of this calibre ship as a final release.

Last week Iain suggested that every other version of DOS was poorly built and worth skipping. I would suggest that the same holds true for Windows: 3.11 was a landmark release, Windows 95 not so great, Windows 98 much better, Windows ME was notably terrible, Windows XP very good, and Vista a train wreck. The good news is that if history is any indication, Windows 7 shouldn't be so bad.

More explanations at source.

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Hey cmon. it's very useful. :(

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I dont think so that win 95 is the worst coz when they relesed it was the best seled product! And they earn a lot of money from win95!

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What other think is bad, does not have to be bad for all, and viceversa. I am testing the twitter feature from forum. Is it new? Or i was to blind to see it.

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