MS CEO Admits Vista 'Was Just Not Executed Well'

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft's road back into the good graces of techies worldwide has been a long and trying one. Most of the struggles came after 2007's launch of Windows Vista, a highly-touted and highly-disappointing operating system (OS). Four years later, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has admitted that Vista "was just not executed well."

Microsoft Annual CEO Summit

Ballmer made the statement on Wednesday at Microsoft's annual CEO Summit. The charismatic, bold executive spoke for about thirty minutes on Microsoft and his role as the software giant's Chief Executive Officer. As part of his speech, Ballmer contributed insight into what it's like being Microsoft's CEO, offering up five big points that matter most to him as holder of that position.

These five important points included the recruiting of new and talented employees, making smart investments, innovating in important sectors, pursuing "positive product flow," and predicting the future products of the technology universe.

His approach to the latter point mostly concerned cloud computing, a concept at the heart of Microsoft's decision to alter the way its Office 2010 software suite approaches creating and editing spreadsheets, presentations and common documents.

Vista: "Thousands of Man-Years" Lost

It was when Ballmer asked himself the question "How do you innovate consistently?" that the topic of Vista arose. He talked at length about decision-making, and in the process let go this statement:

"The saga of our Windows product is probably one of the better chronicles, and I'm sure many people went through a cycle either at home or at work with our Vista product. It was just not executed well, not the product itself, but we went a gap of about five, six years without a product." (Source:

In other words, the time period between Windows XP and Windows 7 was a black hole of sorts for Microsoft -- but Ballmer insists it was a period the company has used as a learning experience.

"I think back now, and I think about thousands of man-years and it wasn't because we were wrong-minded and thinking bad thoughts and not pushing innovation," Ballmer said.

"We tried too big a task, and in the process wound up losing essentially thousands of man-years of innovation capability. And so a discipline and execution around the innovation process, I think, is essential."

There's little denying Microsoft has made enormous leaps in making up for all those lost man-years. All one needs to do is look to its customer satisfaction rating, which in the past year has rebounded from a staggering 4 per cent drop in the wake of Vista's release. (Source:

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