General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Why hate Microsoft?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (32379points) April 28th, 2014

Over the past few decades, I have known some people who hate Microsoft or various individual Microsoft products.

Some use alternative products like Linux and Apple.

I can understand hating companies that pollute (BP and Exxon) and exploit (Wal Mart), but hating Microsoft baffles me.

Please, explain the reasons some people hate Microsoft. I am curious to know the facts.

Personally, I understand disliking Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which I haven’t used for a very long time because I believe other browsers are superior. However, I use Microsoft Office all the time, and I’m very happy with it.

I understand having an opinion that is backed by facts, but some of the people I know who hate Microsoft seem to do so only because of its success.

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28 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Windows 95, Me and Vista. If you have used any of them…you know why.

bolwerk's avatar

I sort of hate to admit this myself, because I’m not instinctually one to defend them, but I suspect a lot of it is envy. Microsoft used to be extremely pervasive, impossible to avoid (still are in a lot of ways). Microsoft is definitely not as evil as polluters, or even some other tech companies. Darlings Google spies on people in frightening ways and Apple actually uses slave-like labor.

I don’t understand the irrational hate, but I do understand they make crappy software. And I don’t just mean crappy as in “I don’t like it.” I mean they do sloppy work and that often hurts people. From their defeat of Netscape in the late 1990s to Firefox, the web was a pretty staid place. I realize security flaws happen, but M$ was never good at proactively addressing them and often discouraged it. In a lot of ways, they’re the GM of the software world – big, reasonably reliable, not exactly cutting edge, easy to figure out, and compared to most of their competitors including Apple pretty affordable if you absolutely need their product.

And, face it, some business practices are just arrogant and monopolistic: products stop being developed when M$ feels says, “eh, good enough.” IE stopped being meaningfully developed after they killed Netscape. And Windows 8 could have done more to accommodate traditional Windows users who have been around for 20+ years.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I have a machine that was built to run Vista. It’s still running strong. I am very well aware of the problems that many machines had when they were upgraded to Vista. That was bad business, and Microsoft rolled out Vista in a very bad way.

By the way, I’m using a computer running Windows 7 right now. I gave the Vista machine to my parents. It works fine.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

One main problem was not so much microsoft but what they allowed others to do. They let anyone and everyone write their own hardware drivers. That caused most of the early problems with stability.

@Hawaii_Jake Once vista got all of the updates it was fine. (Me was like that also) Windows 7 ran better though so it was a quick changeover for most. Windows 7 has fewer processes running in the background.

johnpowell's avatar

<!—[if IE 6]>
Special instructions for IE 6 here

I am bitter about IE as a guy that makes websites for food money. Remember that once IE had like 90% of the market they stopped developing it. Really, the IE team was dissolved until Firefox cuaght on.

And there was that whole anti-trust thing.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@johnpowell I don’t speak code, so I don’t understand the first bit of your answer. I do understand your frustration with IE when it was so dominant. I agree that was not a healthy environment.

I’m with @bolwerk here. I don’t understand the irrational hate. I think much of it is based in envy.

funkdaddy's avatar

I do work for one organization, it’s a big place with a lot of people. They mostly use Microsoft products for several reasons: they’re familiar, it’s what they train people on, they already own the ecosystem around them, and I think there’s a certain amount of assumption that because so many people use them they must be the best solution. How could that many people be wrong?

So as an example they have a system of hundreds of Microsoft Excel™ spreadsheets that they type numbers into by hand each month. At the end of the month they run a VBScript that imports all those spreadsheets into a Microsoft Access™ database where they run another set of scripts and then a batch of reports. If that batch of reports doesn’t look right, they call me and I troubleshoot this daisy chain to try and find out which part of the Rube Goldberg contraption isn’t working as expected.

At some point hopefully I’ll rewrite the logic in this impossible machine to something that is stable, can be maintained and updated, and maybe even works every month.

Until then, it’s not that I hate Microsoft for being good, or even think that their products don’t have a place. They make tools and those tools are good for certain things, but they really made their mark by selling and requiring packages. People believe what they sell them because they are Microsoft.

They sold this particular package and according to a lot of people, it’s being used exactly as intended here. The fact that it all ties together like this is seen as a strength and a reason to keep purchasing the latest and greatest. That thinking constructs mangled, broken contraptions and processes like the one outlined above.

I don’t hate them for it, I just don’t enjoy working with their products and their lack of standards.

Sometimes it sounds like hate after hours of staring at “simplified” Access queries and proprietary VBScript.

Silence04's avatar

IMO, sloppy development, historically iffy OS roadmap, poor 3rd party guidelines and bad internal branding/ux guidelines. I think they have since taken a few queues from other companies as far as brand guidelines are concerned, but from my understanding its still just a polished up version of 3.1. I think you still need to defrag… It’s 2014!

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@funkdaddy Thank you for that detailed answer. That’s a very good example of something that is not working optimally.

@Silence04 I’m sorry, but I have no idea what your answer means. Can you elaborate?

ninjacolin's avatar

Sloppy is a good reason. I’m a PC fan myself but Microsoft has ultimately caused stuff like this week’s big security threat:

As the Pioneers of so much, they technically are to blame for all the troubles they introduce to us via those technological gifts. I guess it just comes with the territory.

bolwerk's avatar

Who cares about brand guidelines? The whole fun of computing is being able to set up a user experience that works for you. That was actually at least traditionally M$‘s good quality: the platform was reasonably open, and at least they let you under the hood. Having every detail of the experience dictated to you is stifling.

zenvelo's avatar

I’ve never liked them because they put out product to meet the lowest common denominator, and it often didn’t work.

We’re all on board Word because they squeezed the competition out of the market. Yet I always thought WordPerfect was a better program, much easier to manipulate and format.

And so many of their operating systems just seemed to crash and consume memory. Just poor quality.

Silence04's avatar

@hawaii_jake Sure, sorry about that lol.

Sloppy development – I think others have already explained this.

OS roadmap – the releases of their software hasn’t really been very smooth (user interface-wise, or feature-wise). The changes made with each release are drastic, making it off-putting to many consumers. There doesn’t seem to be a clear roadmap (internally) of where their software is headed at a consumer level. It’s as if every release of windows they are only focusing on getting from point A to B, and worry about getting to C later. Instead of planning for D and gradually bringing the OS there over several years of releases in a streamlined manner. I believe this has cause some consumers to be fearful of each new OS release.

3rd party tools/support and user-experience/branding guidelines – MS has always been very open to who ever wants to make whatever software/drivers for windows, which is great! But they only seem to provide developers with the bare bone tools/services/features to work with and provide little guidance on how to follow established standards within their OS. So when a small time developer takes those bare bone tools to make a functioning application in the windows environment, the weight/workload is on them to polish up it’s functionality and user interface without any general UX advise/tools. Obviously not every developer cares about doing all of that, so sometimes the end product can be clunky and lack cohesion. Which is totally fine for a lot of people, but for others it can cause frustration which inadvertently hurts Microsoft’s brand image.

@bolwerk I agree that is what’s great about computers, but there is no harm in making it even easier for developers to make streamlined software that melds well with the established windows UX.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Silence04 That is very helpful. Thank you. I believe you are correct in what you have to say. Their jump from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and then the necessity of 8.1 is a good example.

johnpowell's avatar


That was pretty popular back in the day on sites like Arstechnica and DIGG and Slashdot. I think for a lot of people that is just hating the winner. Now that hate is being focused on Apple. 15 years ago there were sites dedicated to Apple’s death countdown.

edit:: I’m actually rooting for Windows Phone 8 Metro Cosmo whatever. If I bought my own phone I would get one of the Nokia Windows Phones.

jerv's avatar

1) Every other version of Windows is a beta-test rather than a ready-for-release OS.

2) Security concerns. OS X and Linux are both derived from Unix, and thus have many inherent protections just based on that architecture. Windows is… different, and practically invites remote tampering.

3) Bloat. Lots of cruft, leading to…

4) Performance. There’s a reason anyone who needs either performance and/or something that can run with low-powered hardware use *nix-oid OSs.

5) Xbone. ‘Nuff said.

flutherother's avatar

The company was virtually a monopoly for a time and no body likes a monopoly. I don’t like that you have to buy their products over and over again if you buy a new laptop or PC.

hearkat's avatar

It started back in the early years when most of their products were rip-offs of Apple-designed software. They managed to convince the business community that their products were better for business – especially since you could run it on any cheapo hardware, so businesses that suddenly had to purchase a lot of new CPUs wanted to save money, so a Gateway + MS is how they went. I remember an anti-MS t-shirt with Bill Gates’s face with Borg-hardware on it that said, “You will be assimilated.”

Meanwhile, the creative types had better success with Apple systems and software, and back then, Apple was supportive of independent software designers and a lot of open-source stuff was available. It was like two cultures built around the two companies. Apple’s “I’m a Mac” ad campaign played on the hip vs. square cultural difference. Security was always a big factor, as others have mentioned, since most viruses and malware have been on Windows systems. Then Apple messed up and the independent open-source crowd went Linux.

Now with the mobile OS wars, Apple is the Borg-like conglomerate, Google’s Android is the challenger, and Microsoft is but a bit-player. It’s been interesting to watch that dynamic shift. Now people hate Apple as much as they once hated Microsoft. I thought that an Ubuntu mobile-OS was being developed, but I haven’t heard anything recently. I’m completely out of the video-game loop, but that seems to be where Microsoft is showing some real innovation with that ‘kinect’ sensor – it’ll be interesting to see where that technology leads.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Android is based on the linux kernel. It essentially is a linux distribution. That’s going to get interesting because suddenly there is a ton of mobile linux compatible hardware out there. Most modern smartphones are powerful enough to run ubuntu right now.

cookieman's avatar

I don’t “hate” Microsoft (or any company really). I simply have found, in my almost 30-years of computing, that their products are inferior to my other options. Consistently, time after time.

If it’s not price, it’s reliability, or stability, or usability, or…

I’ve never once found a Microsoft product to do a better job than something else.

For example, I used Office for years (because it was the only game in town) and was constantly frustrated with it. Then Apple’s iWork came along, and by the second version I switched — and never looked back. So much better for me, and it exports and imports easily to and from Office (so I can collaborate with everyone else).

jerv's avatar

One other thing that Microsoft has done relatively recently to earn enmity is UEFI. The reasons are rather technical, but the TL;DR version is that certain motherboards can only run Windows, and will be bricked if you try installing Linux; a rather anti-competitive practice that Microsoft managed to shove into the EFI standard.

@hearkat You forgot the part where Apple ripped off Xerox. In fact, that is why Apple had to stop going after MS in the early days of Windows; Had Apple proceeded, Xerox would’ve mopped the floor with them. For more interesting stuff, read In the Beginning… was the Command line

In the mobile arena, Apple has a big problem in that the main company they have been battling in the courtrooms is also the company that supplies the chips for iDevices; Samsung. And, in quite a few cases, it’s over stuff that Samsung put out first. Apple is getting it’s marketing clout from having a legal team with more funding than the US court system (or, according to some, than the US; Apple has a lot of money) stifling competition while Windows and Linux/Android are doing their best to compete on actual market appeal rather than strongarm tactics.

Note that is is quite easy to get a PC without Windows; it’s just that many people don’t, and they wind up lining Microsoft’s coffers as a result. Many people seem to think that all PCs are Windows machines when that simply isn’t true, just as not all cellophane tape is Scotch™ tape. It’s merely that the majority of PCs are owned by people that want a “It just works, right out of the box!” solution, and both Microsoft (through licensing deals with OEMs) and Apple (through a monopoly) offer that.

Lastly, we already have Ubuntu for Android.

whitenoise's avatar

I have a 5 year old apple laptop that still runs the newest OS X without problems.

I had a laptop with vista on it, 5 years and three months ago. I used it for three months. Recently revived it with windows seven. Slow as a slug.

The reason for my final switch: macbook Air and Vista.

jerv's avatar

@whitenoise That’s because OS X never got bloated like Windows. Fun fact; the reason XP didn’t die sooner was because Vista was such a resource hog that it couldn’t run on netbooks, and Microsoft didn’t want to lose out on that profit, so they extended the life of XP. And 7’s Aero interface requires more GPU than older laptops have; Win7 netbooks got Starter instead of Home Premium for that reason. Apple didn’t bulk up OS X to keep computers running at the same speed despite more powerful hardware and shut out older hardware the way Macroshaft did.

bolwerk's avatar

MacOS and Windows seem to have about the same pool of problems and advantages to me, though I agree with @jerv that MacOS is probably inherently more secure. MacOS seems about as bloated as Windows though, though both seem to be racing to increase their levels of bloat.

@hearkat: your narrative is mixing decades. Yes, Apple had a technical advantage for creative industries…in the 1980s, maybe until 1996 or so. Apple was rather hostile to independent distribution until OS X came out, and if there is one telling problem with them it’s that they don’t seem to have learned with their mobile platform – which makes them being overthrown from a position of dominance almost inevitable. Few people who like free software ever took Apple very seriously (Miguel de Icaza a bizarre but notable exception) as a usable platform.

Apple has a bit more of a following in the so-called “open source” community, though more as an upstream contributor than as an end user offering. Apple uses FreeBSD as the core to Mac OS X. In turn, Apple contributes back to FreeBSD. But even then, the attitude to FLOSS on Macs seems to be more grudging tolerance than endorsement. They seem hostile to it on iOS offerings.

The difference with M$ is they could be happy to let things go to shit as long as they got a vigorish for every PC sold. Which is basically what happened. But at least they never tried to ban software licenses they don’t like from ther platform.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

While i’m not an apple fan boi by any stretch their hardware is not bad at all. Tight control over hardware and device drivers makes for a stable platform. They are relatively easy to work on also.They are just proud of them, $1000 and up is borderline insanity for what is in the box. I received one as a graduation gift and like that i can have osx win7 and linux all cohabitating nicely. I rarely boot out of linux though. I do think OSX is the weakest link but still handy for certain things.

jerv's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Aside from the pitifully weak GPU offerings, Mac hardware is decent. Thing is, they have one of the highest profit margins in the industry as well. You’re not paying for the design or the quality; you really are paying for the logo If they had more normal margins, they would have comparable prices to PCs and stifle one of the biggest criticisms of the platform. But forget gaming; laptop-grade GPUs like the iMac and Powerbook have don’t cut it.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Yes, the gpus are anemic and the machines are waay overpriced. I will never buy another unless the cost drops to about 40% of the current retail. Good news is spare parts are common and available.

Pixie's avatar

Why do I hate Microsoft??? Because they are beyond greedy. Now yes all people and companies need to make money, but this company has made billions. So when they do things like stop support on their products like windows xp (this is the 1st thing that happened to make me start disliking them) they should offer a free upgrade for existing customers. Instead these greedy turds said I would either have to pay for an upgrade to windows 7 or buy a new PC. Now I take good care of my PC’s to ensure the long life and use of my PC. So why should I have to replace a PC that runs great. Really its not going to hurt Microsoft to provide an upgrade. To me them stopping support of windows xp then not offering a free upgrade is like a car manufacturer having recalls then telling the customer that they have to pay for the replacement part. In the end I purchased another PC. So recently while i finally gave in to the constant reminders that I should use their free update to windows 8.1 (funny i can get free updates from win7 to 8 & 8.1 but could not get update from xp for free) i finally set up a windows account so I could get other apps from windows store. Instead of using another email (they use hotmail or something like that) i used the email i already had. When i later went to log onto my computer my PC login name was changed to my email, and they changed my password without asking me. I could not get into my PC. I tried using the login password for my email to no avail. I called Microsoft let this guy remote access my PC to get into it. after that he claimed i could not reset my password without help from the advance tech because i had supposedly not finished setting up everything after the update. and i needed to pay $275 for this because it was going to take a long time. I explained to him could not afford that without it causing my kids and I to starve, or be homeless. That I’m raising my 2 kids all on my own including financially with no help. He stated that I would be unable to log onto my PC unless i did this. Well after he asked when they could call me back to fix it I stated after Christmas. After i got off the phone with this greedy leech I immediately checked all settings on my PC and everything was already set unlike what this tech claimed. I proceeded to the Microsoft website and login page and clicked to get a temp password to see if I could use that to set another password the 1 i had to log in to my PC before they changed it without asking me. Well i reset it and all this did not take a long time like the greedy lying tech had claimed. So you tell me wouldn’t you hate Microsoft too if they wanted you to pay for their screw up???

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