Seattle P-I reporter Todd Bishop is running a series on Bill Gates, in the lead-up to Gates's "transition" (ahem, "retirement?") away from daily work at Microsoft. Bishop has turned up a series of amusing emails Gates sent, now made public as the result of various legal actions against the company. The first email shows Gates complaining about how hard it is to install Microsoft Movie Maker on Windows XP. Gates sends his tale of woe to Jim Allchin, the VP in charge of Windows releases at the time (2003). Here are some choice bits (emphasis added):
I am quite disappointed at how Windows Usability has been going backwards and the program management groups don't drive usability issues. ... I decided to download (Moviemaker) and buy the Digital Plus pack ... so I went to Microsoft.com. They have a download place so I went there. The first 5 times I used the site it timed out while trying to bring up the download page. Then after an 8 second delay I got it to come up. This site is so slow it is unusable. It wasn't in the top 5 so I expanded the other 45. These 45 names are totally confusing. These names make stuff like: C:\Documents and Settings\billg\My Documents\My Pictures seem clear. So I gave up and sent mail to Amir saying - where is this Moviemaker download? Does it exist? So they told me that using the download page to download something was not something they anticipated. They told me to go to the main page search button and type movie maker (not moviemaker!). ... So now I think I am going to have Moviemaker. I go to my add/remove programs place to make sure it is there. It is not there. What is there? The following garbage is there. Microsoft Autoupdate Exclusive test package, Microsoft Autoupdate Reboot test package, Microsoft Autoupdate testpackage1. Microsoft AUtoupdate testpackage2, Microsoft Autoupdate Test package3. Someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable? The file system is no longer usable. The registry is not usable. This program listing was one sane place but now it is all crapped up.
Read the rest for a great first-person account of how confusing it can be to install software on a modern computer -- even for the second-richest man in the world.
(Via Daring Fireball.)