Microsoft's greatest successes and biggest failures

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4. Windows 7 heaven

win7.jpgREUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gives the thumb-up to the Microsoft television commercial star Kylie, the young girl who makes an instant slideshow, as they take the stage at Windows 7's Launch Party in New York, October 22, 2009.

By itself, Win 7 is a steady if unspectacular operating system. But because it followed the disaster that was Windows Vista, it seems almost miraculous by comparison. Windows 7 rescued Microsoft's reputation simply by not sucking, and the low key way it was rolled out seemed to indicate a Microsoft that was humbled by the lessons of Vista. Now, people are actually excited by the prospect of the touch-friendly Windows 8. No one would have predicted that three years ago.

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