As much as Andy Rooney might have turned himself into a caricature over the years, he is an iconic crank, one of the best there ever was. His retirement from 60 Minutes after tomorrow’s show is the end of an era. And one of the best rants of his storied career took aim at something close to our hearts, traditionally an extremely deserving target: the Windows PC.

Rooney’s replacement?

It’s easy to shrug it off as the ramblings of a grumpy old man, but in fact this commentary demonstrates the value of Rooney’s insights. The Atlantic analyzes the Windows rant and makes a reasonable case that Rooney has been a valuable and perhaps even influential voice in the crusade to improve how we interact with technology.

At the outset of the commentary, Rooney draws a bead on Bill Gates. But as it turns out, the Microsoft co-founder felt Rooney’s pain.

In fact, Gates was even better at ranting about it.

Back when Gates retired from full-time work at Microsoft, I was putting together a package of stories for the Seattle P-I newspaper, where we worked at the time, and in a forgotten file from one of the company’s court cases I came across probably the most incredible internal memo I’ve ever found, which had somehow been overlooked until then. It has come to be known as the Movie Maker Rant.

It was both comforting and disturbing. As in, yes, even Bill Gates has to suffer through this stuff.

KIRO radio’s Dave Ross gave a dramatic reading the day after we published the memo, and thankfully somebody has posted the audio to YouTube for posterity.

So with apologies to Andy Rooney: And now, a few minutes with Bill Gates …

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Guest

    Wow, that’s so dated and inaccurate that maybe Andy should have left earlier.

    • Todd Bishop

      I hope I didn’t imply it was recent.

      • Guest

        My bad. Didn’t pay enough attention and thought just the Gates one old.

  • Chris

    This is why some of us prefer to use an Apple Mac.

    • Jonah

      Yeah, good call.  Apple products are super backwards compatible, and older models are really easy to upgrade.

      • Guest

        Don’t bother Apple fanbois with facts.

      • Mile L.

        Exactly, that’s why Apple stuff has always been the better value. Apple supports them for 10-15 years and since they rarely break, most machine even made 20-30 years ago still work as promised.

        The Windows world put everyone on a “upgrade treadmill” but Macs are feature rich out of the box so upgrading was never the aim.

        Shame on Bill Gates for vastly lowering the expectations of what a computer can do…

        • Guest

          Um, pretty sure that was sarcasm, Mile. And the rest of your comment is just laughably inaccurate.

  • Tally Vickory

    Bill Gates has created many millionaires and is in the process of saving millions of lives through his foundation.  By creating standards he has reduced the cost of building the future and set the stage for news waves of technologies to come.  Meanwhile, Mr. Rooney just seems to complain, about everything!  

    • Mile L.

      What standards has Bill Gates ever created? Everything he does is proprietary.

  • David Blomstrom

    Why is the whole world blink to the big story about Bill Gates? Yes, he
    made a fortune out of crappy software, retarding the computer industry.
    But the big story is Bill Gates the career criminal turned phony
    philanthropist. Life is one big advertising blitz for Gates, who even
    covered an Xbox with mother of pearl and presented it to South Korea’s
    president as a “symbol of peace.”

    As a former Seattle Schools teacher, I’ve seen what Gates’ money has
    done for education and children – NOTHING. And what does Mr. Compassion
    have to say about America’s endless wars? Oh, that’s right – he donated
    lots of money to his pal George W. Bush. Nevermind.

    David Blomstrom

    Candidate for Washington State Governor

  • David Blomstrom

    (Sorry, I meant to write “Why is the whole world BLIND…”

  • Dada_org

    use the Amiga OS, it’s simply the best of `em all out there …


    Have some cocoa and get some rest, Andy. Is 60 inutes still on?

  • Sabledog12000

    I love it.  I could not have said it better!  I would be wealthy if I had a dollar for everytime I said a typewriter will last a life time and a PC is luck to last 10 years!


  • Dufski

    This is an irrelevant rant; Microsoft don’t make computers.

    • Todd Bishop

      You must not have watched the whole thing?

  • Noemail

    Hey Todd,
    Next time cite when this video is from. It’s clearly from the 90’s, but people clearly think it’s current.


    LOVE IT!

  • Sourav Dey

    May be truth was something different…!!

Job Listings on GeekWork