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Windows at 25: The Interview

To mark Microsoft Windows’ 25th birthday, we got up close and personal with the OS on a wide range of topics — including what it really thinks of Gates, Ballmer, and Jobs. An eSarcasm exclusive.

By (@tynanwrites)

November 21, 2010

The story you're about to read is not (entirely) true. It is, however, more accurate than most things on network television.

Microsoft’s venerable operating system turned 25 years young yesterday. Windows’ career has had more ups and downs than Mel Gibson’s, but the OS has managed to endure despite itself.

We sat down with for an exclusive interview with ‘Win’ on a wide range of topics, from the heady days of Windows 95 to what Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are really like. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation: 

e: So, how does it feel to be 25?

Like God is shitting in my mouth while simultaneously kicking me in the ass. Operating system years are different, you know. In human years I’d be something like 130.

e: Really? You look …well.

Oh please. I’m a wreck. I’ve had 7 major reconstructive surgeries in 15 years. I’ve gone under the knife more often than Cher. I don’t even know what parts of me are original any more. Still, given all the other OSes that aren’t around any more, I suppose I should be grateful. I still miss CP/M.

e: Tell us about the greatest moment of your career.

It had to be backstage at the Windows 95 launch, doing lines of code with Mick and Keith.

e: You mean lines of coke, don’t you?

No, code. You wouldn’t know it to look at him but Keith is one kickass C++ programmer.

Back then I was da shit. I was all anyone talked about. Jay Leno returned my calls. I was Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson combined, only without the gambling problems and the pedophilia. Those were the days.

e: And then?

And then it went all into the crapper. Windows 98. Windows 98 SE. Windows Mobile. Windows Fucking Millennium — are you kidding me? I don’t mean to lay this on other people, but right after Win 95 went huge I got some really bad career advice. I did a whole lot of crap just for the money. I was like Travolta in "Look Who’s Talking?" I thought my career was over.

e: But then you rebounded with XP.

Remember, people hated XP at first, too. It was only later people came to appreciate it because of, well, you know —

e: Vista.

Exactly. I can’t even bring myself to say the word. But honestly, I don’t remember much of those years. Total blank. Tranqs, percs, oxy … if it came inside a bottle with a childproof cap, I took it. Anything to ease the pain.

If Steve Sinofsky and Ray Ozzie hadn’t come and shown me the code for Windows 7… well, I wouldn’t be here talking to you now. Can we change the subject?

e: Sure, Some of the people you’ve worked with over the years are legends. Tell us about Bill Gates.

A total freak.

e: Seriously?

Oh. My. God. You know those dorky sweaters he was famous for wearing? Around the Microsoft campus that’s all he wore. That and a pair of penny loafers. Otherwise, nada. It was GatesRoulette, all day every day.

Wait, this is all off the record, right?

e: Of course.

You learned very quickly to be careful around Bill. He’d invite the young programmers in for a personal "code review." He’d say ‘Come sit in my lap and let’s see what Windows pop up.’ They were never the same after that.

e: What about Ballmer?

Easily the most disgusting human I’ve ever encountered, and I’m not just talking about the sweating. He had this bathroom in his office. He’d go off in the middle of meetings to take a dump, and he always left the door open. He’d be grunting and swearing, trying to wrestle out a turd — but he’d just keep talking about system architectures and marketing synergy, like it was the most normal thing in the world. And the smell…. it was horrible. I knew people who walked away from millions in stock options just to avoid the "morning meeting" with Ballmer.

e: Did you know Steve Jobs?

You mean in the Biblical sense? Yes, I was one of Steve’s first, though frankly it was over so quickly I barely remember it. Later I found out he just wanted me for my hierarchical menuing structure and my ability to multitask.

e: So you’re saying Apple stole its ideas for the Mac OS from you?

Nigga, please. Every damned bit of it. That OS X bitch thinks she’s all that. If it wasn’t for me that ho would be turning tricks on Craigslist.

e: Well that was certainly enlightening. Thank you so much for your time.

No worries. Come back and catch me after another 25. I’m not going anywhere.






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