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Mention the name "Windows Vista" in most circles, you'll probably get a mixture of reactions. Groans, snickers, and utter disgust.Windows XP wasn’t supposed to last as long as it did. As soon as XP shipped in 2001, work got under way for the next version, code-named “Longhorn.” The feature list got bigger and more ambitious as time went on, and Longhorn was shown off with great fanfare at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference in 2003.Those plans were tossed aside completely in August 2004, with what later became infamous as the “Longhorn reset.” In September 2005, Windows boss Jim Allchin publicly acknowledged the do-over, acknowledging that Longhorn had been “crashing into the ground.”The design goals of what was eventually named Windows Vista were admirable: improve Windows' security model, introduce widespread 64-bit technology into the desktop OS, improve networking performance, refine the user interface, and better integrate search capabilities. Unfortunately, the unwieldy and disorganized project took more than five years to deliver unsatisfactory results.Windows Vista was released to manufacturing in November 2006, with a consumer debut in January 2007. Vista got mostly negative reviews, thanks to significantly higher resource requirements, incompatibilities with some popular hardware and software programs, and a controversial security feature called User Account Control (UAC) that was derided as overly intrusive. Service Packs would later resolve many of Vista's issues, but its reputation as a slow, buggy failure was sealed.Eventually, the technologies that were created for Windows Vista were refined and re-engineered. Vista’s successor, Windows 7, was released a little less than three years after Vista's introduction to much better reviews.Nobody knows how much the Vista debacle really cost Microsoft, but it damaged the company's reputation and almost certainly amounted to billions of dollars of stalled upgrades and a significant exodus of users to Apple’s Mac platform.
In 1985, Apple Computer was in the midst of a technology transition. In the previous year, the company had just launched its first Macintosh computer, which had replaced the Apple ][ and Apple III line it had been selling successfully for the last several years.Founder Steve Jobs had recruited former Pepsi-Cola executive John Sculley to act as Apple's CEO, in order to help grow the company. While Jobs was considered to be a charismatic and dynamic employee at Apple and at the Macintosh division which was under his direct leadership, he was also erratic, difficult to work with and temperamental, and it was beginning to put a strain on his relationship with his team members as well as on the Board of Directors of the company.Facing a sales slump due to overwhelming competition from companies like IBM and Compaq that were selling PCs and clones, Jobs' relationship with Sculley deteriorated which resulted in his ouster from the company he and Steve Wozniak founded.The 11-year period that Apple continued on without Steve Jobs is universally considered to be a major low point for the company. Without Jobs' vision and guidance, innovation slowed and Apple underwent several leadership changes. Revenue and stock valuation plummeted, the company was on the verge of financial oblivion, and by the mid 1990's the company was in desperate need for a replacement to the aging Macintosh OS.In 1996, Apple purchased Steve Jobs' NeXT, which would serve as the foundation for what would become OS X and later on the iOS which powers the iPhone and iPad. Gil Amelio, the current CEO, was ousted in 1997 in a boardroom coup and Steve Jobs returned as Chairman and CEO.Jobs would guide the company into the release of the iMac, the iPod, OSX and and x86-based Macs, and then later the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, ushering in a new golden age for Apple.
Once a prosperous, medium-sized and laid-back Northern California software company that produced successful and reliable vertical market UNIX operating systems for x86-based servers throughout the 1980s through the early 2000's, the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) began its demise shortly after being acquired by Caldera, Inc., based out of Provo, Utah.Part of the Nay Noorda-backed family of companies known as the Canopy Group, the company re-named itself "The SCO Group" and soon began to find itself in a bit of an identity crisis. SCO Group's first incoming CEO and former CEO of Caldera Ransom Love wanted to merge Caldera and SCO's Linux and UNIX product lines, and create a best of breed OS.SCO had partnered with Intel, IBM and Sequent briefly during the mid-1990s on "Project Monterrey", an attempt to unify, merge and port the best aspects of the company's UNIXWare OS and IBM's AIX to the new Intel Itanium as well as IBM's POWER processor.With the rise in popularity of Linux and 64-bit x86 chips, interest in Itanium waned and the effort to market the completed IA-64 variant was scuttled.SCO's failure to market the IA-64 version of Monterey resulted in Ransom Love being pushed aside and succeeded by Darl Mcbride. With McBride at the helm of SCO, the company became entirely focused on litigation as opposed to product development.SCO not only sued IBM for alleged contributions of Monterey code to the Open Source Linux kernel, but also large customers, end-users and vendors of various Linux OSes, including Red Hat and Novell.This turned the company into a pariah not only among the legion of Open Source and Linux developers but SCO's own customers and the entire technology industry. The litigation debacle went on for years, chronicled in gory detail on sites such as Groklaw.SCO's sales of UNIX products went down the toilet, and was forced to lay off virtually all of its employees to focus entirely on its lawsuits.In 2007, SCO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In 2009, Darl Mcbride was fired. Early in 2011, UnXis Inc purchased SCO's remaining UNIX software assets.As of August 2001, SCO Group remained active only as a shell in order to continue its appeals processes on litigation against Novell regarding transfer of UNIX copyrights during its UNIXWare sale in 1995.This appeal found in favor of Novell (which is now a fully-owned subsidiary of Attachmate, Inc.) as exclusive holder of the UNIX copyrights on August 30, 2011 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.