Friday, July 15, 2005

Gates Still Haunted by Failure of Microsoft Bob


I know what you’re going to say. Bill Gates, you are one of the richest people in the world, Windows controls about about 90 percent of all PC desktops, you live in a house on a lake that is worth almost $113 million and you have a loving wife and two wonderful kids. You're right, I do have it all...it’s just, I can’t figure out what went wrong with Microsoft Bob!

Of course the next obvious question is, “What the hell is Microsoft Bob?” And that’s the thing, hardly anyone remembers it anymore. Here's the deal, it was back in 1995, we thought most users out there would like a nice friendly interface to go over the regular Windows desktop. Damn, you should have seen this thing, we had this sweet cartoon house with all these great little rooms and there were these cute characters and objects that would launch helpful applications when you clicked on them! I’m telling you, Bob was so COOL, and it really could have helped all those novices out there. So we get all the tech press excited, we have our unveiling and.......nothing. I mean NO SALES! This thing sank like a stone in an aquarium aboard the Hindenburg!

Of course we also introduced Windows 95 that year which did better, thank the Lord! And we also did fine with Windows 98, and XP. No doubt we’ll lead all the sheep over to Longhorn once we get enough features removed to get it out the door. So no big deal right? Well perhaps it’s some kind of midlife crisis on my part but I cannot get Microsoft Bob out of my mind! I find myself walking through the house late at night, the sensor I wear activating the ambient light I need to make it to the bar that overlooks the lake. I pour myself some scotch and go over that damn Bob fiasco again and again.

It's gotten so out of hand that the whole time Queen Elizabeth was knighting me, all I was thinking about were those 59 pallets of untouched, shrink-wrapped Microsoft Bob boxes I have in a self-storage locker in Renton. I guess it’s that Bob was my one big failure, for all the other success I've had I just couldn’t make Bob work, and it’s driving me crazy! And no, OS/2 was NOT a failure, we had to let that die to slit IBM’s throat!

It's ridiculous to be obsessing over a ten year old software package! I have to get my head back in the game. That fricking Jobs snuck that damn iPod out while I was distracted by this Bob thing! Today I really need to concentrate while I review the new Windows Media Player over at West Campus 46. I’m sure, as usual, it will look pathetic compared to iTunes, but with Windows, it ain’t about style. It’s about leveraging the OS lead to shove Windows Media Format down your throat!

This is what I don’t get, can you explain to me why crap like Windows is successful and Bob wasn’t? Maybe we should have had more characters, or maybe, when the people entered the cartoon house, we could have had a........OH MY GOD, what is wrong with me? You have to snap out of this Bill!!! Where’s that scotch?

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill,
Maybe if you had put a blue dog in it, named it Blue, too, and a few other household characters, say Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper, or Mr. Soap. Then Blue could have helped you find whatever you're looking for in your cartoon house by putting her pawprint on it, and Bob could have used those clues to figure it out. Maybe you could have used the name "Steve" instead of "Bob". And instead of naming the package Bob, called it "Blue's Clues"? That would have been sweet.

NAWW! Can't use Steve, dammit!
Kevin J. Weise | 07.15.05 - 12:32 pm | #

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt the real Bill will ever lay eyes on this, but...c-mon! Microsoft Bob was a failure before it even hit the shelves, and you still didn't get it with XP! People don't want a fantasy make believe world to make their computer easier to use, they want a computer that has all the muck scraped away so all they have to do IS use a computer. They do not want a deluge of error windows and viruses, especially when every tech THINKS windows is a virus (when it is doing what its going to do on a hodge-podge system anyway). What the heck does a Page fault or a BSOD have to do with my email? Answer not a fricken doogie! For every experience you drive a consumer to live, he/she will take inventory of what they have lost versus what they have gained. If all they have gained does not include what they required, you ain't got a product. I mean HECK, if you haven’t made people’s lives easier get out of the way! You’re no better than the spam we have to sift through thanks to the wonderful protection you have empowered us with, NOT!

Elegance and craftsmanship will draw people, BS will drive them away. What would you do if you stepped in poop, scrape it off your shoe and possibly change shoes!

With Microsoft Bob the nail in the coffin was that the people selling it saw that this product caused more problems than it solved, and it gave people a false sense of the structure of a computer. You weren't helping them; you were making them more dependent on techs than ever. Plus the idea was a little asinine when you start treating people like children or complete idiots. Who designed XP, Fisher Price?!! Not all of us put our drinks on the CD tray like Mr. urban legend #476-A-7654, or use the foot pedal, thank you failed Darwin species mutation #571-5843-AA23. I only put numbers here cuz I figured someone like you likes innocuous references to codes that you have no place to reference, cuz that is what you put ordinary people through all the time. And yes even an archeologist can tell you that without a Rosetta stone, the picto-graphs are meaningless.

And who wants somebody on their computer that they don't know? Bob sounds like a weirdo creepy person. Get that yellow faced fat-so away from me. No office in the world, or home is going to use bob for anything but target practice. When designing, think of a plain white square. It is simple. Think of a writer who loves a new pen, or a clean sheet of paper. People want possibilities, not a used piece of toilet paper.

But hey, if you can sell used toilet paper and get people to pay for it, more power to you. At the end you can always say, “I made crap, wiped my taboosh-kee with it and then people bought it.” I’m on my way to the store to find more things I can turn into poo!, Wanna come?

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Microsoft Bob omg we had that on our 1st comp.
....... i actually kinda liked it
Java was the coolest character thing
you'd clicky on him and he take out some coffee drink it it was like *gulp gulp* hehe i like it

who's with me
MICROSOFT BOB FOR XP

7:48 PM  
Blogger Jonny Dade said...

Funny stuff, but i don't reckon itunes looks much better than media player, in fact i despise itunes. Talk about the least straight forward program on earth.

2:42 AM  

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