Steve Ballmer's Biggest Regret: Windows Vista

Ballmer talks about the time spent at Microsoft in a new interview

Steve Ballmer has announced yesterday that he would quit his job at Microsoft in the next 12 months, leaving the company during the major transition he started towards a devices and services approach.

Ballmer took the time to talk about the period he spent at Microsoft in an interview with ZDNet, explaining that he never thought about what he could be doing after leaving the tech giant.

“Frankly I don't know. I haven't spent a lot of time -- I don't have time to spend actually even thinking about what comes next. I'm not going to have time to do that until the board gets a successor in place,” he said when asked what his next destination was.

“My whole life has been about my family and about Microsoft. And I do relish the idea that I'll have another chapter, a chapter two, if you will, of my life where I'll get to sort of experience other sides of life, learn more about myself, all of that, but it's not like I leave with a specific plan in mind.”

As for his biggest disappointment, Ballmer quickly pointed to Windows Vista, without saying a thing about Windows 8 or the slow adoption that's still keeping sales of the operating system well below expectations.

“Oh, you know, I've actually had a chance to make a lot of mistakes, and probably because, you know, people all want to focus in on period A, period B, but I would say probably the thing I regret most is the, what shall I call it, the loopedy-loo that we did that was sort of Longhorn to Vista. I would say that's probably the thing I regret 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,” Ballmer said.

Windows Vista was officially released on January 30, 2007 and had to face an avalanche of criticism for a number of reasons, including costs and hardware requirements.

Microsoft forced many users to upgrade their systems just to run Windows Vista, as features such as the Aero interface had a terrible impact on computer performance.

Sales have never been impressive, so Vista is now barely powering 5 percent of computers worldwide, while Windows XP, the 11-year-old OS that'll be retired in 8 months, is still running on 37 percent of the systems.

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