Trending: Microsoft invests $1 billion in OpenAI, vows to build AI tech platform of ‘unprecedented scale’

Dear Microsoft,

Can we just be friends again?  Please?

It’s been exactly five years now since I left you.  During our time together, I poured all the emotion and energy I had into the products I helped build for you.  In return, you treated me well and made me feel special, and I won’t ever forget that.

But after time, I became weary, and I could no longer be the person you wanted me to be.  I had hoped you wouldn’t take it personally, because I truly think you’re a great company.  And I know that there are plenty of engineers out there who would be lucky to have you.

But ever since our break up, you have gone to seemingly great lengths to punish me, over and over again, even as I continue to support you and fight for you in every way that I can.

You must know that back in 1995, I used part of my very first paycheck to buy Microsoft Money 95 from the company store.  I was so excited.  I put all of my personal finances into your trusting hands, and told all my friends and family about how great you were.

For 14 years, I used Microsoft Money fanatically, entering in every single receipt, all the way down to the 50 cents I would occasionally (okay, frequently) spend on a candy bar from the cafeteria vending machine.  And then you killed it.  You told me to go to Intuit instead.  Why would you just discard me like this?

You also know that I was your biggest fan when you announced Silverlight, and that I spent six months learning it inside and out, and building some gorgeous web apps.  This was the one.  This was the rich web application platform that would last forever.  You told me, you promised me, this was the Flash killer and the HTML5 killer.  And I told everybody I knew.  You shipped a new version every six months.

I convinced one of my clients to let me build his website using Silverlight because it was SO much better than Flash.  He agreed against his own instincts because he trusted me.  And then, silence.  No new versions.  No plans for the future.  You wouldn’t answer our questions.  You wouldn’t say anything.  Why did you give up, when we believed in you?

In 2007, after saving up for a year, I spent $4,500 on a brand new Windows Media Center PC for our family room.  My photos, my videos, my music, Netflix streaming, Blu-ray DVD playback in full 1080p and full surround sound, and dual TV tuners so we could record one channel while watching another.  All rolled into one blazingly fast box, with a stunningly beautiful, intuitive, and fluid user interface, and a single remote to control it all.  I was in heaven.

Sure, there were some hiccups and more than a few gripes from my wife, but I stood by your side.  I defended you fervently every single time, explaining how this was the future of television and that there was no comparable entertainment system on the planet.  And then, you went dark.  Nothing new for Windows 8.  No integration with Hulu.  Or Rhapsody.  Or Pandora.  Or Amazon Instant Video.  No innovations. Zero. In three years.  I suspect that WMC is being taken hostage from the inside, but there’s nothing I can do to help.  I’m begging you, at least say something, or give me a sign.  I need to get some closure on this painful and expensive chapter of my life, before I go out and buy a Google or Apple device.

The Zune HD was a solid piece of hardware, but too late to make a dent in the iPod’s market share.

I bought my wife a Zune for her birthday – not the V1 brick-like device, but the tiny cute one that came later.  Beautiful product, and you deserve congratulations on the hardware design.  And the connecting software for the PC … so much better than iTunes.  But you gave up and now Zune is in the graveyard, may it rest in peace.  Meanwhile, I feel like a sucker … again.

I, along with many of my school and PTA customers, fell in love with FrontPage, and we used it exclusively for building all sorts of static websites that didn’t require any programming.  So easy to use.  So perfect for our simple needs.  But you threw it under the bus for no apparent reason.  Was it too successful?

Fortunately, you made a replacement — Microsoft Expression Web — but forgot to tell people about it.  It too was another fantastic product, and once I stumbled upon it, I used it extensively for 5 years to help me design the HTML for our regular school newsletter before posting it to the website.

But alas, Expression Web also received the death sentence a short while ago, leaving us with no options, since I’m unwilling to shell out $399 for Adobe Dreamweaver.  Why do you hate me so much?  I know that your official position is that Visual Studio 2012 is the replacement for Expression Web, but come on … we both know that VS 2012 has nowhere near the HTML design and editing capabilities of Expression Web.  I might as well be using Notepad.

Microsoft Digital Image Suite was the best image editing package ever to have existed for consumers.  Yes, better than Photoshop Elements.  It was easy to learn and powerful at the same time.  The user experience was delightful.  I want you to know that you truly broke my heart when you buried this product.

You tried to console me by telling me that all of its features had been integrated into Windows Photo Gallery, but you lied … straight to my face.  Not even 20 percent of the functionality of Digital Image Suite has lived on in any of your current or future products.  It’s beyond my comprehension how it’s a good thing not to have a decent image editor in your portfolio of products.  You know that every Mac comes with iPhoto out of the box, right?  Don’t you care?

Expression Design was the only vector graphics design software I ever used, because it was love at first sight for me, and I knew we would be together forever.  You created a solid, well built, feature rich product that was so intuitive and free from any steep learning curves.

With Expression Design, as an amateur, I could design any icon or illustration faster than many experts using Adobe Illustrator.  All of my assets for were built in Expression Design. There are several hundred —including icons, buttons, dialog boxes, borders for boxes, and marketing material consisting of banners, brochures, and signs.  All useless now.

When you took Expression Design away from me, you effectively threw away nearly a thousand hours of my time.  If this was the deliberate manner in which you chose to exact your revenge on me, then well played my old friend, well played.

Microsoft, I feel like I’ve more than paid the price for any transgressions I may have committed in the past.  Don’t you think I’ve been punished enough?

While I don’t foresee us getting back together any time soon, I really would like to continue being friends.  Is there any way you’d allow that to happen?  Please?  Call me.

—Rajeev Goel

Rajeev Goel is the founder of Our School Pages, a service that offers customizable website solutions for schools and PTAs. He worked at Microsoft from 1995 to 2008.

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