Microsoft : The Good, The Bad and The Speculative

The Good:

  • Developed DirectX that enabled game companies a default medium to code games for, greatly simplifying the process.
  • ActiveSync, a complete sync tech that managed your mail / contact / calendar syncronization AIO.
  • The Office Suite, regareded as the best in it's class for many years.
  • Security (at consumer level), being the most used OS in the World, Windows was targeted heavily and comprimised as so. This led MS to develop and secure it's OS faster then the competition. Most security reports say Windows security is now among the best - if not the best - at general security.
  • COM and the ActiveX Template Library – the ATL was the one of the best C++ class libraries produced, clearly inspired by the STL but serving a specific purpose – finally giving C++ developers a clean set of tools for building COM objects.
  • Ajax web technology, ironically it was Google with Gmail that made it popular but at the core it was based on MS technology.
  • The Bad:

  • Windows ME, enough said.
  • IE6 dominated too long, had no incentive to innovate further and held the WWW back.
  • MFC. The CDatabase object, the containers and oh most especially the COM object support, were not liked.
  • The long development period between Windows XP and Windows Vista caused large buisinesses to be stuck with XP era software even to this day.

    The Speculative:

  • Bing was said to be copying Google results. CON : Google did a test and was positive. PRO : This is default search engine behaviour, Google knew this and used it for a PR stunt.
  • New UI/UX paradigm with the worlds most popular (by far) OS. CON: Some people hated the jarring effect this had as it introduced a different enviroment. PRO : Tablets were now "small" computers instead of "big phones".
  • Zune portable music player. CON: Was a reaction to Apple's iPod, never caught on. First iterations were not regarded well. PRO: Though low in marketshare, owners were generally very happy with the product. User satisfaction was generally good.
  • The Windows Vista OS. CON : Was seen as unstable and slow, hated with passion by many. PRO: Suffered from PC OEM's race to the bottom mainly. Also had little driver support in launch which smeared it's name early on. Was actually not very different from Windows 7. I still miss the manual file listing it had, removed in W7

    What is this?

    There's been a lot of talk about MS here recently and unfortunately most of what I see is caused by misinformation about MS. I thought maybe we could form a list, the good deeds (as in new tech and inventions) by MS, the bad ones (like IE 6 sitting around too long) and the speculative ones (things that are not clear if actually good or bad).

    I'll add some from the top of my head, you guys add yours and I'll correct/add to the listing here.

    Feel free to correct me.

  • EDIT : 03/10/13, Added some more good / bad points from the comments.