back to article Ballmer: Win8 'certainly surpasses' Win95 in importance

Acording to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, 2012 is "the most epic year in Microsoft history," and the launch of Windows 8 is a bigger deal to Redmond than the launch of Windows 95. "Windows 95 was certainly the biggest thing in the last 20 years until now," Ballmer told The Seattle Times. "I think Windows 8 certainly surpasses …

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  1. Bill Neal
    FAIL

    Better than 95 because?

    This will be the OS to finally end our dominance in the PC market. Enjoy your consumer-grade crap, sheep!

    1. K
      Thumb Up

      Re: Better than 95 because?

      Sir, I take my hat of to you.. that was f*cking inspiring :D

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      SUCH ENORMOUS

      Self belief and optimism usually leads to suicide

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better than 95 because?

      Yeah, because the introduction of Windows 8 is going to have the masses scrambling to the alternatives available like Linux, React OS, Solaris, etc. *stifles laughter*

      1. kissingthecarpet
        Linux

        Re: Better than 95 because?

        "*stifles laughter*"

        What, or Linux-based alternatives like Android, or other Linux-based mobile platforms that run on ARM chips. How many times do people have to be told that Linux is a *kernel* ?. It takes a lot more than a kernel to make a system, you know. Which is why there are many Linux-based **non-x86** appliances (routers, set-top boxes, Smart TVs as well of course) like phones, tablets etc.

        The MS dominance paradigm does not exist in the non-x86 space.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Better than 95 because?

          Oh god, not one of you "it's GNU/Linux actually, pedants". I'm fully aware of what Linux is, yes it's a kernel but it's also shorthand for a variety of similar distributions that use that kernel. I also don't care if Linux runs on your toaster, the OP was specifically referring to Microsoft's dominance in the x86 space, which is what I was taking the piss out of him about, as there's no competition for Microsoft in that area whatsoever.

          1. kissingthecarpet
            Trollface

            Re: Better than 95 because?

            As there's no mention of GNU at all in my post, you fail at reading, unfortunately :-) . The article is about Surface, & ARM based machines. Of course W8's x86 PC desktop is almost the same as W7(best desktop MS have ever done) on an x86 PC.

            The interesting thing about W8 is MS' foray into ARM-based appliances, how successful the phones & other non-desktop PCs are etc. . This is an area where the (completely valid on PCs) "Linux is short for a lot of distros" idea just doesn't apply. e.g. Android phones - there's no Gnome/KDE on my Galaxy. Or my toaster.

            The point is, the "public" don't know or care what the OS kernel is(or what the OS is) - "Is it good value / cheap & easy to use?" is the question they ask now.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Better than 95 because?

              "As there's no mention of GNU at all in my post, you fail at reading, unfortunately"

              No, the point is you're behaving like a nomenclature pedant with your "Linux is a kernel" patter. Read my post in context and try again, I'm responding to Bill Neal's post where he specifically says of Windows 8 "this will be the OS to finally end [Microsoft's] dominance in the PC market". I pointed out (sarcastically) that there is no competition for Microsoft in that market. You then barge in with your unrelated nonsense and persist to the point where I have to explain the entire chain of events you like you were small child, and here we are back at the start. Go get your Asperger's syndrome diagnosed.

            2. kb
              Thumb Down

              Re: Better than 95 because?

              But saying your tablet or cell phone is gonna replace X86 is like saying toilet paper is gonna replace napkins because you wipe your behind more than your mouth!

              I have yet to meet ANYONE that has gotten rid of their X86 for a tablet, and I've been in the trenches since 386DX...wanna know the truth? here are the facts: 1.- People buy more ARM because its in throwaway devices, how many cell phones you got in a sock drawer? Most people I know have at least 4, they get a new one with their plan and toss the previous in the sock drawer. 2.-People buy tablets to ADD to their X86, because its easier to use on a couch than a laptop. 3.-Since the MHz wars ended PCs became insanely overpowered, we are talking $300 triple and quad PCs and dual core laptops, so nobody replaces until they break, which because they actually pay for it, instead of being handed it "free" as with ARM, they actually take care of it and thus they can last for years.

              So there you have it, still hundreds of millions of X86 units sold, 90%+ of them being sold with Windows, while they toss their ARM devices in the dump and get a new one. The future of ARM? $20 tablets being sold in Toys R Us, we are already seeing $45 Android tablets with ICS, in another year they will be as cheap as a pizza and considered no more worthwhile.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Facepalm

                Re: Better than 95 because?

                So there you have it, still hundreds of millions of X86 units sold, 90%+ of them being sold with Windows, while they toss their ARM devices in the dump and get a new one. The future of ARM? $20 tablets being sold in Toys R Us, we are already seeing $45 Android tablets with ICS, in another year they will be as cheap as a pizza and considered no more worthwhile.

                LMAO if Windows is such a powerhouse and the future of ARM is £12 tablets being sold in Toys R Us can you please care to explain why Microsoft have gone out of their way to port their X86 baby to ARM processors?

                Will I be able to pick up a £12 tablet in Toys R Us running Windows RT?

                1. Killraven

                  Re: Better than 95 because?

                  "can you please care to explain why Microsoft have gone out of their way to port their X86 baby to ARM processors?"

                  Because for the majority of tablet-users, they only need a device that will surf the web, perhaps send some e-mail, and little else other than various forms of social media. For them it matters not a smidge what processor is in the device, and since ARM processors will significantly lower the cost of said device; lower price = greater chance of market penetration.

                  No, you're not going to see that £12 tablet, but the odds are good of seeing ARM tablets at half the cost of intel-based versions.

                2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

                  Re: Better than 95 because?

                  "can you please care to explain why Microsoft have gone out of their way to port their X86 baby to ARM processors?"

                  Umm, they haven't. They've ported their phone OS to x86.

                  WinRT is not their x86 baby. It can't run those apps and even if you cross-compiled them it couldn't run those apps. That's *not* because the processor isn't up to it. A modern ARM can wipe the floor with the x86 chips from twenty years ago. No, they couldn't run those apps even if you cross-compiled them because the APIs are not there and *that's* by design.

                3. kb
                  FAIL

                  Re: Better than 95 because?

                  Because, if you spent even one second to think, it would be VERY obvious. What happened to PCs during the MHz war? Why every 3 years they got sent to the dump for a new one. Now what did that do for MSFT? Well considering they are an OS COMPANY that meant every 3 years they got another check...get the picture? Being designed for the dump BENEFITS MSFT because that means they sell more copies, whereas PCs now lasting 7 years or even longer means they sell less copies.

                  BTW did I say ARM was junk? No I said the systems it is put in is considered worthless to the masses because the phones are "given free" and thanks to so many companies making ARM cores the economies of scale are enormous. With X86 you have a grand total of TWO companies, and one of those sadly dominates the other, so the prices simply can't fall there like it does with ARM. You might want to look up the article "hardware is dead" to see sub $50 dual core Android tablets already being sold in Hong Kong, the parts are getting so cheap you can sell the whole system cheaper than a HDD for a laptop or desktop goes.

                  And No you will NOT get WinRT for that price, in fact because ballmer is the worst CEO since Apple's Pepsi guy who cares more about stock prices than actual performance he'll price them right out of the market. tell me, when i could buy a quad core laptop running X86 for $400, and a dual core ARM tablet for $100, why would I pay $700 for an ARM tablet running Windows, when the ONLY selling point for Windows, the ability to run X86, won't be there? I wouldn't and nobody will, its DOA.

                  So final verdict? Windows WILL be the new IBM, X86 is here to stay but it'll be flatline as nobody will replace until they die, ARM will become so cheap you can get one in cracker jacks (See the Pi which does HTPC for under $50 for an example) so Android will rule the cheapo end, Apple the high, and they'll be chunked like Kleenex for new ones simply because nobody will bother to fix them.

          2. Bill Neal
            FAIL

            AC: there's no competition for Microsoft in that area whatsoever

            Apple seems to be doing well

    4. kb
      Thumb Down

      Re: Better than 95 because?

      Not a chance, too many businesses require Windows software.

      No what will ACTUALLY happen is if (I would vote when, but whatever) Win 8 bombs you WILL see the board turn on him. Most likely Ballmer will pull some fake numbers out of his behind, just as he did when XP machines were counted as "Vista sales" because a Vista disc that nobody ever used was left in the bottom of the box, and then he will "retire to pursue other interests" and Sinofsky will get the boot to be replaced by someone from the office team, or possibly luring Ozzie or Allchin back to the fold.

      Ballmer may be Bill's little buddy but he has flushed billions and gotten exactly NOWHERE when it comes to mobile and the board knows this. Windows 8 bombs and the stock is gonna start heading south and I don't care if Steve tucks Billy in at night the board is gonna have enough and tell him to walk or be fired, his choice.

      I mean look at the man's record, Zune, Kin, Sidekick, the recent 6 billion writeoff on a bad buy, pushing the X360 out with a 2 billion dollar flaw, no wonder the writers wrote of a "lost decade' as the ONLY product they managed to get out without serious problems was 7, and if rumors are true that was because Steve was too busy squirting with his Zune to care!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Not a chance, too many businesses require Windows software."

        True, but the days are long gone where companies would quickly upgrade Windows versions. My company has only just upgraded desktops from Windows XP to Windows 7, and pretty much every upgrade failed and needed manual attention from the Wintel team (through no fault of theirs).

        Now we're back to the usual shambolic Microsoft patch cycle, where a critical fix to a fax driver we don't use somehow takes out Excel automation on 1 in every 7 boxes, and causes Lotus Notes slowdowns and hangs on the rest.

        No-one's ready for Windows 8, no-one wants it.

        In the same time we've been through three major Unixy upgrades: Solaris -> Suse Linux, Suse Linux -> Red Hat Linux, Red Hat Linux version upgrade. All went flawlessly.

        1. Thomas 4
          Boffin

          Re: "Not a chance, too many businesses require Windows software."

          Deep in a forgotten basement at the headquarters of a major IT company, there is endless darkness, lit by the glow of a single CRT display. A...creature...sits at a desk, typing away on a rubberised keyboard, the letters of which have long been worn away. He is not lonely, for there is always work to do. A bug fix here, a new application there. He pauses and sniffs the air. Something has changed, up there in the Daylightworld. A Great Power has become weakened, a result of one style-over-substance decision too many. He cackles. The time is ripe once again.

          Across the world, people have nightmares about an endless line of 3.5 inch floppy disks and thick, snake like tentacles comprised of storage tape. At Linux conferences, very, very small groups of individuals don the sacred robe and chant the name of their master, as he rises to snatch the computers of the world from the weakened grip of Redmond.

          Ph'nglui mglw'nafh OS/2 Warp Armonk wgah'nagl fhtagn.

          1. Swarthy Silver badge

            @ Thomas 4 (Re: "Not a chance, too many businesses require Windows software.")

            Dammit, now I'm wondering if someone will port e-Commerce Station to ARM for fondleslabs, it may actually be a good fit.

            You can tell that there's a new OS battle brewing - the developers are rushing to ARMs.

        2. durbans
          FAIL

          Re: "Not a chance, too many businesses require Windows software."

          @AC

          Off topic really, but I've done hundreds of Windows 7 upgrades in all sorts of different businesses and only had 1 or 2 with post installation issues (due to 3rd party drivers I might add). None failed. Have you considered the possibility that your IT staff are better trained to migrate Linux than Windows OS? Does your IT team have MCP's in Windows 7 Deployment or do they just 'know it all'? You can't blame the product for a crappy upgrade/migration process.

          Also never had problems with Windows Updates 'breaking anything' in my 4 years in IT. These are all issues you fondly remember from the 90's I'm sure, but things have changed since then....

          1. kb
            FAIL

            Re: "Not a chance, too many businesses require Windows software."

            Its been the same, converted hundreds of customers over, either through upgrades if they had bought from me in the last 5 years or new systems if they hadn't and I had ONE, just one mind you, problem with a Windows XP to 7 migration and it was with my dad of all people.

            It turned out he was using a scanner from 1997, we're talking 240x180 or some such, just ancient, and he was using a REALLY old version of Quickbooks that was tied to Flash 7. I bought him a little all in one with a much better scanner than he had, he bought the low end version of QB and I imported the data...and that was that.

        3. Law
          Joke

          RE "Lotus Notes slowdowns"

          How can you tell?

        4. Bob. Hitchen
          IT Angle

          Re: "Not a chance, too many businesses require Windows software."

          I'm still using XP it works why fix it. When I say it works that means it runs everything required. I run Linux for other stuff although I'm not keen on Ubuntu's latest offering. That reminds me I must dust my XP laptop off for the hols it's the only time it gets used even then I throw a screen, keyboard and mouse in. Only idiots buy pads or touch screens who needs loads of mucky fingers all over what they're looking at?

    5. Ramazan

      Re: Better than 95 because?

      It will run on modern hardware - win95 won't

  2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    Ballmer says...

    {yawn}

    1. Stuart 22 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Ballmer says...

      Getting back to reality:

      Windows 3.0 was a breakthrough which got refined through WfW 3.11.

      Windows 95 was a breakthrough only because of the GUI which got refined through Win98

      Windows NT was a breakthrough that laid the foundations for Win2000 and refined in XP

      Let's forget about Vista, except MS had to improvise Win 7 to cover the gap

      Is Ballmer saying 95 was greater (commercially or technically) than 2000/XP?

      Now if I was a MS stockholder I would be overjoyed if Win 8 achieved the same dominant success as 2000/XP (and lived so long after its planned demise). Tell me its going to achieve more and I'd sell fast and short.

    2. jaduncan
      Facepalm

      Re: Ballmer says...

      Actually Balmer says "I'm not paid to have doubts," showing all the grasp of SWOT analysis and corporate strategy in the CEO role that the MS shareholders have come to know and love.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    La la la la la

    I can picture this man with his fingers in his ears "la la la la la"

    Well, of course he's going to punt it like it's the best thing since sliced bread...

    Hey, hold on just a minute here, check this out:

    "the most significant releases that maybe we've ever done, and certainly we've done since 1995 of our two flagship products, Microsoft Windows"

    "...we've built the highest quality – and this I strongly believe – we've built the highest quality, most secure, most reliable Windows operating system ever. Of that I am sure."

    Guess what version of windows he was warbling on about?

    Windows 8?

    No - Vista!

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/exec/steve/2006/11-30NewDay.aspx

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: La la la la la

      And in a lot of ways he was right about Vista. It finally brought a security model to Windows that was equivalent to what UNIX and Linux had had for over a decade. It brought in a lot of the groundwork for Windows 7 and Windows 8. Vista was more secure than any previous version of Windows (I think). It was also annoying, but that's a different issue. So what if he was saying Vista had the best X or Y yet. That doesn't logically preclude saying Win8 has a better X or Y because Win8 is coming out after Vista. Both statements can be true.

      1. Random K

        Re: h4rm0ny

        I'm not so sure I would go so far as to say Vista/7's security is equivalent to what UNIX and Linux had. Perhaps you could more accurately say it was similar to, an approximation of, an attempt at, or even a feeble shadow of those features. Still, I'm not discounting that it was big-time progress on Microsoft's part.

      2. Christian Berger

        Re: La la la la la

        Not really, the security model was already good with Windows NT, Vista just added some weird stuff to it... which everybody disabled to get their legacy software to run.

        The operating system Microsoft did try to get security in was Windows NT which was great hadn't it been for the Win9x/DOS compatibility that had to be shoved in. Maybe Microsoft should have sold Windows NT for the same price as Win9x. Then developers would have developed for the subset of both systems instead simply for Windows 9x.

        What Windows is now is just a pale image of the vision behind it way back when people still believed in Windows.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: La la la la la

        Vista was secure because it was unusable. It would've taken the Vista file copy engine a day or two just to copy the virus onto the box let alone run the damn thing.

      4. zen1

        Re: La la la la la

        Uptick just because of the hysterically funny visual it gives me. Him hunched over, fingers jammed into his hears (up to the second knuckle), obscenity laced rants interrupted with the occasional screaming LA!!! Wisps of steam wafting off his brow as he kicks chairs across the office.

        Good god that's funny.

    2. Piro Silver badge

      Re: La la la la la

      Definitely is out of touch with reality.

      1. beep54
        Happy

        Re: La la la la la

        For those who have not seen it, definitely check out "Steve Ballmer going crazy" on YouTube (yep, that's the title). The man looks seriously unhinged and probably on really powerful drugs.

      2. Piro Silver badge

        Re: La la la la la

        Hold on, I got two thumbs down for simply suggesting Ballmer was out of touch?

        Is that a bot somewhere? I didn't necessarily say Windows 8 was awful, or anything like that, but to suggest Ballmer is a great visionary who is always on the ball is surely not the normal response of someone on El Reg.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: La la la la la

      I see him more as a Tinky Winky type.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: La la la la la

      But Vista WAS the most secure and reliable version of Windows upon it's release. Everyone already knows that. Windows 7 and 8 are are only superficially different from Vista.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: La la la la la

        Yes but you can't stop a bandwagon as heavily laden as the "Vista is bad" one. Installed it on my laptop recently due to needing some Windows software whilst out and about. Fully upgraded it worked just fine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: La la la la la

          "you can't stop a bandwagon as heavily laden as the "Vista is bad" one"

          It had a 40gb install footprint and ran like crap on most of the "Vista ready" machines it was (at least initially) sold on. For those reasons alone it could be considered a disaster.

          There were were good points too - like certified drivers... and then with 7 (compared to Vista) more sane default security settings, and a more respectable 16gb footprint... Win7 is in many ways an optimised version of Vista. To be honest, other than look and feel, I'm not sure if there is anything in 7 that wasn't in Vista... and I like 7.

          As far as security goes, I'm not sure anyone can say with a straight face that Vista and 7 were not improvements to XP. ASLR and run as administrator (pseudo-sudo;) in particular, IMHO, were important improvements.

          Was Vista the worst OS ever from a technical standpoint? No. Was it a bloated commercial failure? Yes.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: La la la la la

            It was a PR failure, certainly. Commercially (i.e. financially) it actually did fine, even if the perception is otherwise. But yeah, as you correctly point out Vista was fine from a technical standpoint, the reason for the PR backlash was partly unavoidable due to everyone being used to used XP SP2 for years on massively overpowered hardware for what it required, everyone had forgotten how crap XP was when it first came out (for similar reasons to Vista), and partly Microsoft's fault for pandering to Dell, HP and the like with the "Vista Capable" requirements being blatantly incapable.

        2. kb
          FAIL

          Re: La la la la la

          Wait until it thrashes your hard drive or drives you up a wall by forgetting your shared folders THEN get back to us.

          The machine I had at the time was frankly better than most and at the time was running WinXP X64 well, so I was actually jazzed to get Vista. The system was a 3.6GHz P4 with 4Gb of RAM, dual 400Gb hard drives, and a Geforce 7600GS. Even on the MSFT drivers the system would have "senior moments" where it would just stop for several seconds, not enough to pull the plug, just enough to irritate, and the constant thrashing of the HDD killed a brand new Seagate. I tried every trick in the book, every tweak on the net, and gave up when SP1 came out and didn't fix it.

          Now when someone says they have Vista I automatically say "I'm sorry" and they almost always agree, especially if they have ever used Win XP or 7. In fact I've met exactly ONE person who likes Vista, she only uses the browser to go to Youtube, that's it, that's all. She got one of the last Vista laptops and to do only that one task? it works decent. problem is most of us want to use our laptops as more than an iPad with a keyboard and for those tasks it sucks on ice.

      2. auburnman
        Trollface

        "Vista WAS the most secure and reliable version of Windows upon it's release."

        At least in part because it would talk to almost nothing as the drivers weren't available yet. You could certainly rely on it to ask you three times to delete a file...

      3. zen1

        Re: La la la la la

        While I will conceed Vista was most reliable and secure version of Windows, I submit that the only reason it takes that title is because of the general frustration, derision and rage it causes. This leaves the majority of non-professional IT users in the position of either stomping off in a huff or simply powering the machine off (unsafely).

        Once again, a turned off and disconnected machine is the single most secure, followed powered off and disconnected being tied for second place.

  4. Hooksie

    He's right

    I think if you've used Windows 8 and got used to it you'll have to agree with him. Windows 8 will redifine what Windows is and does. Windows 9 probably won't even have a desktop version. I love Windows 8, it's really fresh, intuitive and will be a killer with the general public. If you don't know how to use it then get used to it, it really is excellent.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He's right

      Windows 8 is total shit , get used to it my arse. It's like saying I'll get used to having my fingers crushed in a vice and my eyeballs stabbed with hot knitting needles.

      I'm sure paraplegics get used to a wheelchair but I'm damn sure they would rather walk again.

      1. Dave's Jubblies
        FAIL

        Re: He's right

        How unutterably crass of you to compare a piece of software YOU don't ike to lifechanging premanent disabilty.

        You sir, are a fucking moron.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He's right

        Windows 8 is more or less the same as Windows 7 but with some performance, reliability and security improvements, Hyper-V, better multi-monitor support, better UEFI support, better USB 3.0, support, faster boot times, and a bunch of other potentially useful features, depending on your individual needs.

        On the other hand they changed the UI a bit so it would work on touchscreens so a bunch of nerds started throwing their toys out of the pram. Really, if that's your sole objection to Windows 8 then you're utterly pathetic. I'm not saying you have to like the Metro/Modern UI - I personally think it's a bit of a mess - but it's an incredibly minor thing, and just a case of a single mouse click to get back into the traditional desktop.

        1. Tom 35

          they changed the UI a bit

          A bit?

          Here is your award for understatement of the month. It might smell "a bit", it's a big bag of pig shit.

        2. Richard 12 Silver badge

          They changed the UI more than "a bit"

          They threw away almost everything good from the previous version, and even tried to get rid of the idea of Windows (plural) and replaced it with something that is the exact opposite of the last 20-30 years of human-computer interface research.

          Ref flat, monochrome "buttons", multitude of invisible functions, hiding everything from you instead of layering like, well, windows.

          Windows 8 itself may well be a pretty good technical improvement underneath, but the TIFKAM interface is what they are pushing, and it's utterly terrible on a desktop or any multitasking device.

          1. Brangdon

            Re: They changed the UI more than "a bit"

            They threw away almost nothing. The desktop is still there.

            1. kb
              Thumb Down

              Re: They changed the UI more than "a bit"

              Sorry but that crippled ribbon sucking "thing" is NOT a desktop, no way and no how. It flips and flops between Metro and the "half desktop" worse than a politician, most of what is supposedly "improvements" are hacks like hybrid boot instead of a proper cold boot, the whole OS is a mess where they couldn't decide what they wanted to make.

        3. MysteryGuy
          FAIL

          Re: He's right

          > so a bunch of nerds started throwing their toys out of the pram.

          So you think, professionals who have tried Windows 8 and think it is a leap backwards in productivity are 'just pathetic' (rather than having any valid complaints)?

          > On the other hand they changed the UI a bit..

          Quite a lot.

          > really, if that's your sole objection to Windows 8

          And so changing the UI is unimportant (even though it's integral to being able to effectively use the thing)?

          If the new interface is so superior, why didn't MS let the user choose which UI to use (instead of breaking the old one to try and force your hand)?

          If it's so great, wouldn't users be naturally drawn to it?

          1. Chris Parsons Bronze badge

            Re: He's right

            Well, I've been in IT for decades and I like it. Yes, the UI takes a bit of getting used to, but not much. It's much faster to boot up and shut down and the virtualisation works like a dream. It's just an OS, you know.

            I spend most of my time using applications, not grizzling about the underlying interfaces. Still, each to his own. I wonder how many complain without trying?

            1. MysteryGuy

              Re: He's right

              > Well, I've been in IT for decades and I like it. Yes, the UI takes a bit of getting used to, but not much.

              So have I, but I hate the new interface for my use on the desktop.

              What if there was one main car maker that made the majority of the worlds cars. One day they decided that the steering wheel (that they previously touted as the best way to steer a car) was really all wrong... again.

              From now on, all cars would have two buttons on the dashboard (on a touchpad) that steered you right or left.

              This was now touted as the best way to steer your car, and all new cars will come with the buttons. With some effort you could activate a 'backup' steering wheel (to 'ease the transition'). But, each tme you did anything else, the steering wheel retracted and you had to take an action to re-activate the steering wheel.

              Faced with pushback, the car companies minions claim that anyone who doesn't like the new system 'just doesn't like change'...

              Would this be o.k. even if the new buttons really did work as well? At best, people who have used the old method for years would have to expend effort to try and re-learn to get back to where they were. At worst, the new system is really not the improvement that it was touted to be and everyone is worse off.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Car Analogy

                Car controls are a ludicrous and utterly flawed metaphor for OS UIs.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  FAIL

                  Re: Car Analogy

                  > Car controls are a ludicrous and utterly flawed metaphor for OS UIs.

                  Care to expand on that?

                  I thought the analogy was pretty apt.

      3. toger
        WTF?

        Re: He's right

        AC - Seriously, you get that mush displeasure from using Windows 8......you need to get out more.

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The fact that the surface has been confirmed as trying to compete with the ipad on price rather than the Amazon Kindle fire and Nexus 7 have now doomed it to failure along with all the other tablets that tried to price themselves the same as the ipad (HP touchpad, Blackberry playbook, countless Android tablets im talking here) If MS want the surface to sell when launched especially as there won't be many apps available they need to price it as low as they can or face poor sales. The days of it simply selling because it has windows are now fading as people begin to release a personal computer can be just as useful without Windows installed

    1. Spearchucker Jones

      I'm not so sure about that.

      I recently joined a co. that gives all it's users iPhones and Macs. Mine's an Air. Both are locked away in my drawer, because I can't use the thing. And I'm far and away not the only one.

      The saving grace is that they're quite happy for me to bring in and use my own kit.

      Windows is much like the iPhone in that respect. People want it because they know it. There might be an OS out there that does some stuff a little better, but it's still only the hipsters (Apple) and geeks (*nix) that will outright seek something that's not Windows.

      1. Old Painless
        Mushroom

        Re: I'm not so sure about that.

        ....thats so weird seeing what other people think about brands and such; I always assumed Apple stuff was bought by posers who knew fuck-all about IT. After reading the snippets from Ballmer up top, I'm going to assume he has an iPad too

      2. hplasm
        Windows

        Re: I'm not so sure about that...because I can't use the thing

        You do realise you have thrown yourself to the dogs now?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You can't use an MacBook Air?

        You can't use an MacBook Air? Seriously? Perhaps you'd better speak to your manager and explain you're not suited to this century and ask whether he/she find you a job that doesn't involve anything using electricity.

        1. Ramazan

          Re: He can't use an MacBook Air

          given that it's possible to install Windows or Parallels on Macbook, I think the reason is religious or financial (he'd need to buy a license for Windows/Parallels to legally use it) rather than technical

          1. Vic

            Re: He can't use an MacBook Air

            > I think the reason is religious

            There's an awful lot you can tell from a poster's history...

            Vic.

      4. Snapper
        WTF?

        Re: I'm not so sure about that.

        Holy smoke - you can't use a MacBook Air! Do you get your sysadmin to turn your computer on and off for you as well? Do you even know which side of the keyboard to press to get those things called letters to appear?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mac

          You do know it is possible to install other operating systems on your Mac hardware?

          Actually, installing Windows as a dual-boot is a pleasure using Boot Camp. You have got to give Apple credit for that, it's actually a better experience than installing Windows from scratch.

  6. JoseTheWrangler

    Wow, talk about damning by faint praise! Win 95 was a minor enhancement to Win 3.1 -- as has been ever Windows version since then (well, except '98 and Vista, which were de-enhancements). Now if Ballmer had shown that he'd figured out why Apple product usability so far exceeds that of his own products' usability, that would be news! (I could tell him, as could lots of people, but the same reason his products suck is the reason he won't listen.)

    1. Tinker Tailor Soldier
      Mushroom

      Gee, revisionist much?

      Windows 95 kept the Win16 subsystem pretty much intact and then built a 32 bit kernel around it (and used semaphores to guard access to the non-reentrant 16 bit code). It also had to be very careful how it called into the old DOS core which was kept largely intact. It truly was an unholy mess, but seriously, adding threading and a 32 bit somewhat haphazardly protected address space is hardly a minor enhancement.

      Windows NT was a complete kernel rewrite, SMP and 32 bit (and then 64 bit) from the ground up, largely platform neutral except for the HAL which ran initially on a wide variety of chips (including MIPS and Alpha). Win32 is just a subsystem inside of this with a kernel32.dll export to keep compatibility with Win95 win32 APIs. Win16 and the DOS v-mode support was also just a subsystem hosted on the kernel. Windows NT always had a security model actually somewhat in advance of *NIX (ACLs not just group, user, universe), and its only grown more sophisticated as the need to protect a user from themselves has become more important. (No, grandma doesn't care that the root account wasn't compromised if they lost all their data).

      If you are going to open an orifice, try the one in front of your face rather than the one on your posterior.

      1. Vic

        Re: Gee, revisionist much?

        > a security model actually somewhat in advance of *NIX (ACLs not just group, user, universe)

        *nix also has ACLs.

        It's just that most people don't want to use them.

        Vic.

        1. Tinker Tailor Soldier
          Happy

          Re: Gee, revisionist much?

          I said NT (as in 3.51, 4.0) HAD ACLs (as do all successor NT OS's). At the time almost all *NIXes did not. Also, I should distinguish between the Windows security *model*, which was pretty good and the actual security of the OS (buffer overruns and other exploits) which was somewhat bad (and of course the myriad of Apps written for Win95 that never bothered with this security nonsense and hence had to run as Administrator didn't help much either).

          1. Ramazan

            Re: NT HAD ACLs. At the time almost all *NIXes did not

            BTW, do you know which UNICes did have ACLs at the time?

            IBM AIX had ACLs since at least 1991 (most probably since 1990).

            Not sure about HP-UX, looks like it had lsacl/chacl commands since at least 1994 (v9.05?).

            Solaris got ACLs in v2.5 (1995).

            Digital UNIX got ACLs in v4.0 (1996).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Apple usability

      It's only usable if you don't ever need to change any settings; aren't capable of understanding any technical details; don't want to customise the way any of your system or software works; even the desire to manage one's own files is considered wayward in the cult of Apple.

      This applies equally to both their computers and their mobile devices.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't really need a tablet but the rumours of a £200-£300 price point swayed me to the extent that I probably would have picked one up and been willing to spend a bit of cash on the app store if something reasonable caught my eye. Now we have heard what the actual price will be I just wouldn't be able to justify it.

    Unless you have a good reason for going for a tablet specifically or are rolling in cash then money is better spent on a laptop instead imho.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Agreed. 200 would have been nice, at least it would have brought me to a store to check it out, something I havent even done with an Apple product yet.

      But when the price is going to match it's competitors, I'll stick with laptops.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        IT'S = IT IS

        If in doubt, leave it out.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He meant Linux of course

    Back in the day, Windows 95 was a leap forward compared to DOS+Windows 3.x or WHY.

    Of course, you needed the latest and greatest and, at the time, expensive hardware to run it on.

    However, Linux has had more impact on everyones lives in the last 20 years, especially the last 5 years.

    It's everywhere, especially in embedded such as routers, mobile phones, set top boxes etc.

    Shame it's only the desktop where it's not taken off, although Valve Software might help there soon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He meant Linux of course

      Yes, because not being able to play TF2 is what's been holding back Linux on the desktop* all these years.

      *Shouldn't that be laptop these days anyway, since desktops are slowly becoming extinct outside the corporate world?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He meant Linux of course

      Still comes down to developers, remember that Steam and various Valve games support Mac too but we don't see that overtaking Windows.

      And it's not only games support. There is all the expensive gaming hardware that exists. All the fancy over-priced gaming keyboards for example. I know Logitech have previously stated that due to licencing issues they aren't able to produce drivers for Linux distros.

      1. Ramazan
        WTF?

        Re: Logitech aren't able to produce drivers for Linux?

        "Logitech have previously stated that due to licencing issues they aren't able to produce drivers for Linux distros"

        I always thought that you don't need no edu^Hspecific driver for USB keyboard or mouse - they are handled just fine by generic USB HID driver (usbhid.ko), or by even simpler usbkbd/usbmouse drivers...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Facepalm

          Re: Logitech aren't able to produce drivers for Linux?

          "I always thought that you don't need no edu^Hspecific driver for USB keyboard or mouse - they are handled just fine by generic USB HID driver (usbhid.ko), or by even simpler usbkbd/usbmouse drivers..."

          I suggest you read the rest of my comment as it specifically states that I am talking about the expensive/high end equipment. High end gaming keyboards (and keyboard style interface devices) often have additional functionality like LCD displays and macro support.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Tablets are not Netbooks...

    ...Mr Ballmer, so this time you cant impose Windows on OEMs :-P People are finding that Office its not a must have anymore and that for playing, browsing, listening music, reading a book or watching a movie their tablets only need to run IOS or Android...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Space

      There should be a space between the word "any" and the word "more".

      1. hplasm
        Headmaster

        Re: Space

        But if that is true, why have you put the words "and the word" in between them instead?

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Space

        Not as far as I'm concerned. Where do you live?

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          Where do you live?

          I expect he lives in the country that gives its name to the English language.

          http://web.archive.org/web/20110604010642/http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/tools_and_services/specials/style_guide/article986718.ece

          -A.

  10. Doug 3
    Alien

    win95 vs win8

    Windows 95 was significant, risky and had a huge marketing cost for Microsoft because there was that IBM thing going on at the time. They'd been riding the coattails of IBM and moved into the OEM market as that grew but the big threat was their split with IBM and the OS/2 product IBM was then pushing. Should they had lost the customers and developers to OS/2 Microsoft would be an office software company today and relatively tiny.

    fast forward 17 years to 2012 and what do we have? We don't have Microsoft growing in double digits anything like the '90s, the PC sector is saturated and then there are these portable handheld devices which do most of what people outside of business want a computer to do. They are not fighting off someone trying to take a bite into their main market, desktops, but it is Microsoft who is trying to get into the smartphone segment and the tablet segment. Very different than the days if Windows 95 where they owned the market and a big OS shift was used to keep another vendor from taking their market.

    It is very interesting to see Microsoft forcing a change on the users of their market stronghold, desktops, in order to win entry into the portable device segments. Interesting because a loss or failure in those segments comes with lots of disdain from the desktop users. They're trying to push current users to the edge and hope the mobile segments are won over but if not, it'll be very dangerous with Apple and possibly some Linux there to pick up the pieces. I'm already seeing lots and lots of consumers telling me they have dumped "the PC" and are Mac users now and won't go back.

    So it may be as critical to Microsoft's future as Windows 95 was but it sherley is not the same game and they are not in the same position as they were back then. They are still very cocky to be forcing such a UI change on developers and users at a time when it seems the world+dog is in love with Apple products. And that includes the press.

    1. mistergrantham

      Re: win95 vs win8

      It seems that the goal is to have programs that will run the same on the phone, tablet and laptop. This goal makes sense, especially when combined with secure* online storage of data & settings. However most developers (of business/production software) have yet to partake and it is not suitable for most people in countries with monopolized/under-developed telecommunications infrastructure.

      I agree MS has the right idea, it will just take time and plenty of risks & mistakes (by all parties) to get the execution right.

      *remains to be seen.

    2. Ramazan

      Re: @Doug: Windows 95 was significant, because ... IBM

      Bill Gates did his side bet when doing Windows 1.x and 2.x series in parallel to developing Presentation Manager for IBM. When Windows 3.0 came out it became apparent that MS Windows was winning over IBM's OS/2. Windows 3.1 strengthened Microsotf's grip on the market even more. Thus, Windows 95 was absolutely of no risk for Microsoft.

      1. kb
        Boffin

        Re: @Doug: Windows 95 was significant, because ... IBM

        Funny story that...it was IBM's fault that Windows won. You see IBM had the right to second source and to build their own 286 chips thanks to their contract with intel but intel was tired of making chips and then having to compete with their own designs so they refused to allow IBM to have a license to second source 386.

        Now you couple this with the fact that IBM had recently tried to gouge the cloners, the famous "gang of nine" by trying to switch the industry to the MCA bus which they controlled and you had a "perfect storm" that practically handed the market to MSFT on a silver platter. No OEM wanted to take OS/2 after IBM had tried to slit their throats on MCA, IBM refused to carry 386 and was charging IBM prices for 286 units while the clones were half price with MUCH faster 386 units, and MSFT frankly didn't have to do anything more than cash the checks.

        So while they spent a lot of money promoting Win95, it was to get all those that thought PCs were "scary geeky things" as evidenced by the Jennifer Aniston infomercial showing how simple to use Win95 was. They were in NO danger from IBM, because IBM had burnt so many bridges with the other OEMs and carried obsolete hardware for so long they simply couldn't give OS/2 away. Funnily enough for awhile they did just that, gave away an OS/2 demo that you could unlock so simply that many even did so by accident, it still went nowhere.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We're trying to really re-imagine the world from the ground up with Windows 8..."

    I would have thought that business success would come from seeing the world for what it is, and developing products accordingly.

    Developing a product to fit an imaginary world just might be a mistake.

  12. PaulR79

    Pricing will make or break Surface

    At £200 - £300 they probably would sell quite a lot because it's a good price point for a 10" tablet whether it has Windows or Android on it. With the idiot Ballmer counting the iPad as "not super expensive" he's making the same mistake that someone pointed out earlier and trying to compete with the iPad with a similar product at the same price.

    Surface looks interesting, it looks appealing (to me) but I'm not going to pay full laptop prices for what is essentially a tablet and keyboard. Yes, it'll be running Windows 8 but it is still only a beefy netbook with touchscreen. I look forward to watching the fireworks when prices come down within six months of release and Ballmer, hopefully, gets the boot.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Salesman bellows sales spiel SHOCK!

    Meh. What I've seen of 8 so far doesn't do it for me. Maybe -like 7- there's a significant improvement to the core OS, but you have to spend absolutely ages trimming the crap out.

  14. Tom 35

    How about another Ballmer quote...

    "THE BIGGEST LAUNCH IN SOFTWARE HISTORY!"

    Oh, that was for Vista...

    So this one is bigger then 95... so I guess it's going to make the Vista launch look good.

  15. ps2os2
    Thumb Down

    Win/lose

    The main issue is that the consumer will be sold a bill of goods (screwed) and from little I have heard the lose2012 version will be available as landfill.

    1. SYNTAX__ERROR

      SYNTAX ERROR

      Interpreter aborted.

  16. zen1

    um

    he on crack or something, again?

  17. Oninoshiko
    WTF?

    no homework, just reading books

    Well I'll be DAMNED. Reading books. Never do that in school. no way.

    And they wonder why one child in four in the US grows up not knowing how to read?

  18. nhirsch

    I tried Windows 8 on my Ultrabook. Played around with it for a couple days, trying to rearrange the default buttons to make it usable but as a power user, I couldn't make it work easily. Unless you have a button, it's a pain to find a program that you occasionally use. It seems to me meant for a table, not a PC. So I removed it from my Ultrabook (which I'm using now) and put Windows 7 Pro back on it. I predict a complete failure for Windows 8 (despite the lucky 8 number) in the same way that OS/2 failed.

    1. dogged
      Coffee/keyboard

      as a power user, I couldn't make it work easily

      Wow, you must be a seriously intelligent and supersmart "power user". Couldn't rearrange the burrons? I know, right-click and then drag is so hard, right?

      So you predict failure because obviously everyone is more stupid than you since you're such a talented "power user".

      I love this, it's hilarious. My 68 year old mother managed it and she's no "power user". She was a nurse before nursing was counted as a degree course so obviously she can't be anywhere near so clever as you.

      1. nhirsch

        rearranging the buttons was easy, that's not the point. The point is in Windows 7 all the programs are easily available: start - all programs. Try that with Windows 8, you can't. I tried it, I installed it, I wanted it to be good. I'm a microsoft reseller! But I removed it within 2 days. I'm not claiming to be "clever" but I've been using PCs for obviously more years than you if your mother is exactly my age, sonny. A business user will first have to remove all the "sales" buttons -- selling music, selling books, etc. Seems like they are trying to cash in like itunes or amazon. Want to open a program you don't have a button for - a pain, then you need to put it on the desktop and soon it's crowded to need more "pages". Windows 8 is clearly written for a tablet or some device that has a touch screen. My PCs and most PCs today do not. I predict failure of Windows 8 in the business community. Windows 7 is fine. For your grandma, she will probably be fine as would my mother of 89 who has an iPad2 and a laptop. Her use is limited to a few programs and she does very well. Put those few buttons on her home screen and she'd probably going to be OK.

        1. dogged
          Meh

          There's "All Apps" which does the same thing.

  19. Levente Szileszky
    FAIL

    Keep on dreaming, angry chair-throwing beancounter...

    ...your days are countered and W8 will be your last screw-up, you will be thrown out (finally!), along with all your ruthless-clueless Politburo-bureaucrat golden boys...

    ...further reference in Vanity Fair's August issue - read and be horrified:

    How Microsoft Lost Its Mojo: Steve Ballmer and Corporate America's Most Spectacular Decline" - Microsoft's Lost Decade http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer#

  20. Mikel
    Trollface

    Transition states

    When we went from Windows 3.1 and Windows 3.11 to Windows 95, those few of us involved we knew our situation was dire and we wanted change. Now, however, we have a computer in our pocket finer than the first Cray that lets us do video chat with grandma - and everybody is involved. To provide that level of quantum leap today I'm afraid W8 is going to have to invent something new and relevant that takes us not just a bit above, but to an entirely human new dimension. It's going to have to involve a new realm of physics.I just don't see that happening.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it makes me so angry

    I haven't used windows 8, but just in the same way I never heard Russell brand an Jonathan ross phone up Andrew sachs, and the same way I never saw Jeremy Clarkson talk about killing prostitutes. I must therefore join in with the masses and display my disgust at what Microsoft has done to windows... the way they have done what they did, to whoever they did it. they deserve everything they get for whatever it was the have done, and for doing whatever that thing was they did I will never buy another Microsoft product again. I heard they have added Metros to windows, and I know they are just rust buckets, even the MG versions!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    rofl

    I love the way that Linux user's opinions are dismissed as "the opinions of geeks" (apparently made of no effect due to their lack of numbers), but the opinions of Windows geeks, savvy enough to download and try out Windows 8, are treated seriously.

    MS are about 5-8 years behind the curve, entirely clueless as to why and therefore almost certainly unable to catch up.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Oh I agree

    Only problem is "Importance for who". In my experience I'd say its important to realize you'd best steer clear of this one if you're using a desktop environment.

    That can be important too you know, though most likely not what Ballmer intended.

  24. wowfood

    Steve Balmer

    Whenever I read a quote of him talking. I can't help but picture him as Justin Hammer from Iron Man 2.

  25. James Pickett

    "I think Windows 8 certainly surpasses it."

    So, not certain then. Is English Ballmer's first language?

  26. MJI Silver badge

    Win 95 launch

    I remember where I was

    The launch of Real/32, now that was a good operating system

  27. Piro Silver badge
    FAIL

    So this is what delusion looks like!

    Ballmer, what the hell?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Important for Microsoft, not-so-important for users

    Windows 8 is a 'bet the farm' gamble for Microsoft, and I predict it will lose the farm.

    And hopefully, this will also convince Microsoft shareholders that Steve Ballmer should lose his job.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forget Windows 8, there's something more important to do

    Don't walk, run, run and go grab a copy of Windows 7, if you haven't already.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Forget Windows 8, there's something more important to do

      Win8 is as usable as Win7 once you've put Classic Shell on it.

      OTOH, with Stevie Bonkers talking about pricing Win8 as a premium product, perhaps you are right. If you actually *need* a copy of Windows, you might be well advised to buy it before the price goes up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Forget Windows 8, there's something more important to do

        Can the Classic Shell software totally obliterate every single Metro/Modern tile, the Start screen, the lock screen, the Microsoft account integration and the Charms bar?

        If not, I don't want Windows 8.

        It's more than just a case of slapping on an officially omitted Start button.

  30. g e
    Unhappy

    Wow MS and Apple really are chummy these days

    Watch out for monopolistic activities taking place near you soon

  31. Belardi
    FAIL

    There is a bit of a difference between Windows 95 from almost 20 years ago and Windows 8 today...

    Most people just DON'T need a Microsoft Operating System. How many of us own iPod/iPads, Androids and a Windows PC? Many of do just fine with mixed-OS devices... Windows8/WART is just another UI... but Metro is just a bad one for desktop systems and METRO didn't sell many phones.

    If Windows 8 desktop fails... so does the phones... and so does the tablets.

  32. Pet Peeve
    FAIL

    Since when?

    Does he have any doubts about its success? "I'm not paid to have doubts," he said, laughing. "I don't have any."

    ... and this is why they have been having so much trouble.

  33. Tim Almond
    Thumb Down

    Tablet Prices

    "If you say to somebody, would you use one of the 7-inch tablets, would somebody ever use a Kindle to do their homework?" he asked rhetorically. "The answer is no; you never would. It's just not a good enough product. It doesn't mean you might not read a book on it."

    Would someone use an iPad to do their homework? And no, no cheating here. No bluetooth keyboards, no stands.

    I'm still not really switched onto the idea of tablets. They seem OK for sitting in front of the TV and checking what's happening on Facebook, but my phone will do that too. At least when the Nexus costs £150-200, you're in the range of "toy" spending. And some people will spend more for the gorgeousness/Veblen aspects of them, but MS doesn't have that.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Tablet Prices

      "[tablets] seem OK for sitting in front of the TV and checking what's happening on Facebook, but my phone will do that too."

      These days, your TV will probably do that, and it will have a much nicer display and audio system, too. Current smartphones are probably about as large as a device can be and still be considered portable.

      IMHO, the iPad and its rivals are at an awkward size: too large to be truly portable (like, taken outside as a matter of course, or to the pub), but too small to be particularly good for surfing or email. I have a screen that size in the kitchen, because I didn't want a larger object cluttering the place up, but it isn't portable and I wouldn't have paid iPad prices just to save myself walking to the next room several times a day.

  34. Daniel von Asmuth
    Mushroom

    The biggest disaster of the last 20 years is...

    Windows 95?

    Economic crisis of 2000?

    9/11?

    Economic crisis of 2008?

    Death of Michael Jackson?

    Windows 8?

    The end of the Maya calendar?

  35. Ron Christian
    Thumb Down

    All that, *and* expensive too.

    Ballmer's comments make me want to go out and buy a 7 inch tablet... Samsung... and I don't even like them very much. (The original Galaxy phone had terrible build quality -- we owned six of them, one after another -- has spoiled me on Galaxy.

    We actually own a Windows tablet, (for a specific purpose) running "Windows 7 tablet edition", and it SUCKS. I have a hard time believing that Microsoft, of all things, could go from SUCKS to useful in one release, especially in a market that they have demonstrated since 2000 that they do not understand.

    All this, *and* at a premium price point.

    Well, I wish them luck, I guess.

  36. Nordrick Framelhammer

    When I first read this articles headline...

    I thought it said "Ballmer: Win8 'certainly surpasses' Win95 in impotence ." and I agreed with that 100%.Then I realised it said something different.

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