I've had a love-hate relationship with Microsoft products since I started playing around with technology over a decade ago. I love some of the ideas they bring to the table, and their contribution to progress of technology is unquestionable. But their implementation is usually poorly done, clumsy and generally just sub par.
Here are two recent examples, one in Security and one in Consumer electronics.
This is really important if you're using Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail. Before I go any further, please go and get a real email account with Google. You can get a good and secure personal email address account here. If you need a business account, take a look at Google's business offerings, they're better and less expensive than Microsoft's and if you insist in using Outlook or Outlook Express, you can still get your mail with those clients. Now onto the meat of the story, I'll just quote a couple of snippets form the news article (thanks @David) that talks about an inexpensive tool to basically get all your passwords, yes, thanks to Outlook and Microsoft.
Here's what the tool does:
Elcomsoft Internet Password Breaker automatically identifies all supported products and user identities, locates all available accounts and PST files, and reveals stored password information.
And why it is important:
The password cracking tool reveals passwords protecting access to email accounts, identities and Microsoft Outlook PST files. Supporting all versions of Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail, Elcomsoft Internet Password Breaker can retrieve the original plain-text passwords protecting access to mail accounts, POP3, IMAP, SMTP and NNTP news passwords. In addition, Elcomsoft Internet Password Breaker reveals Microsoft Passport passwords stored by Windows Live Mail, user identity passwords, and passwords protecting PST files created by Microsoft Outlook up to version 2010.
You can see that it affects all versions of their mail products (servers being the exception), but you don't use server products, you get your mail with Outlook. I'll say it simply and calmly. Stop using these products, especially when the alternatives are clearly superior in almost every regard.
On consumer products
The other reason I am not very trusting of the Redmond guys, is in the area of consumer products. It was announced that Microsoft is pulling their phones out of support; you see they decided to jump in the bandwagon of social media recently and thought to add yet another useless product to their consumer line.
The Kin, it was supposed to tie in your Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks into an easy to use device. You know, kind of like the iPhone, or Android, or Blackberry or any of the other devices that already do this. All that is great!, the guys like Apple, Google, HTC & RIM need competition. Except that, in typical MS fashion, during the design phase and engineering meetings, they decided to make a piece of shit instead. Trust me they have blueprints and specs for it. I tested the phone out at the store a couple of times and it just sucked.
Why is this important? Because MS keeps trying to do everything, they've long forgotten their roots and now want a part of everything. That's fine, many companies do that, except when they enter a space, they try to do it gracefully and intelligently, and they certainly won't leave you hanging in the dark with an overpriced just-bought phone by discontinuing it less than 2 months after its launch.
I'm a fan of the best of breed products, in today's day an age email services by Google kick everyone else's butt, plain and simple. And I can say this with confidence after running Exchange and other mail systems for years; both as an admin for hundreds of users and as a user. I also love new gadgets, I've had a Blackberry, an iPhone, an Android phone and have tried dozens of other phones, but I always do my research. This is why you won't see me using a windows mobile phone (they suck), and you won't see me buying any 1st generation new-space gadget by Microsoft. They simply don't do research and testing prior to launch, they hope their brand will make people flock to the stores to buy their products. It is unfortunate that they don't realize how much good competition is out there. Do your Research before you buy or use anything, especially Microsoft offerings.