"In May 2001, Microsoft undertook a project code-named Longhorn, which was expected to ship in late 2003 under the name Windows Vista. Executives had a number of objectives for Longhorn, including competing with the free operating system called Linux by supporting a programming language named C#, which allowed for easier development of other software; creating a Windows File System, or WinFS, which could save different types of files into a single database; and creating a display system, code-named Avalon, that would give software the same appearance as a Web site.
As development took off, Microsoft engineers dumped a grab bag of functions into Longhorn. Huge teams were assigned to the effort, but despite all the work, the launch was postponed again and again. The program took as long as 10 minutes to boot up. It was unstable and frequently crashed.
Then, in June 2004, Steve Jobs announced that Apple was releasing its new operating system, called “Tiger.” And inside Microsoft, jaws dropped. Tiger did much of what was planned for Longhorn—except that it worked.
E-mails flew around Microsoft, expressing dismay about the quality of Tiger. To executives’ disbelief, it contained functional equivalents of Avalon and WinFS.
“It was fucking amazing,” wrote Lenn Pryor, part of the Longhorn team. “It is like I just got a free pass to Longhorn land today.”
Vic Gundotra, another member of the group, tried out Tiger. “Their Avalon competitor (core video, core image) was hot,” he wrote. “I have the cool widgets (dashboard) running on my MAC right now with all the effects [Jobs] showed on stage. I’ve had no crashes in 5 hours.”
The videoconferencing function? “Amazing,” Gundotra wrote. Scripting software? “Very cool.”
The Gundotra e-mail was sent to executives throughout Microsoft headquarters, including Allchin. He forwarded it to Gates and Ballmer, adding his name and one word: “Sigh … ”
Longhorn was doomed"
Thats funny! also the part: "including competing with the free operating system called Linux" They try to compete with Linux and Mac-OS beat them completely..
And I think in the same time Linux was also much better.