It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Microsoft (ticker MSFT). On top of CEO Satya Nadella’s recent remarkable foot-in-mouth act over women in the workplace, there’s the strange case of the missing Windows 9 operating system. Before the introduction of Windows 10 two weeks ago, Microsoft had last introduced a new operating system back in 2012 with the unveiling of the unpopular Windows 8, a sequence of events that raises questions about Windows 9. Where is it? A Microsoft employee who briefly worked on the Windows 9 project, which was codenamed RobTheCustomer, or RTC for short, has told Bud Fox News that the mystery goes back to Donald Sterling’s sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Sterling was the owner of the Clippers until his delicate flower of a lady friend V. Stiviano released an audiotape of Sterling exercising his right to free but unpleasant and incoherent speech in a way deemed unacceptable by the NBA. Steve Ballmer bought the team for $2 billion, a record price for an NBA franchise (the prior record, set weeks before the Clippers sale, was $550 million for the Milwaukee Bucks).
Said the skinny-jeans-wearing, code-spewing, celtic-tattooed but nonetheless monstrously nerdy hipster, who asked to remain anonymous: “A lot of people said that Ballmer paid too much. But they don’t know the half of it. Donald Sterling told him that he’d litigate, delay, and just cause all kinds of trouble unless Ballmer also gave him an early copy of Windows 9. And there’s your proof that Sterling really is crazy. I mean, Windows 9 is just about worthless, just like all the ones before it.”
When asked what went wrong, our source explained: “Yeah, isn’t that funny? Steve thought he’d saved a copy just before he left for his last meeting with Sterling’s people. But the save-as command didn’t work, so he wound up giving Sterling our only copy, and he won’t give it back. This was a super top secret thing. The developers were so worried about rumors leaking while kinks were being worked out that only a very small, elite team worked on RTC. And if you can believe it, the thing was saved on one effing computer.”
When asked why Microsoft of all companies hadn’t somehow “backed up” such an important piece of intellectual property using, say, Microsoft’s Cloud, our source scoffed at us: “Are you insane? Take my advice, don’t use the cloud for anything but saving music and videos, OK? Don’t put anything sensitive up there. It’s like running around naked in the town plaza on a sunny summer-weekend afternoon.”
At the press event to introduce Windows 10, the company was fairly vague about why it had skipped over Windows 9. Some techies speculate that the name alone would have caused bugs. But another explanation has been suggested to Bud Fox News by Professor André Pas de Deux of the Camden Institute of Technology:
“Well, I do believe that they were dumb enough to have only one copy on one computer. And I could believe that the save-as function didn’t work. But there’s another scenario that’s just as likely. And it happens every day to millions of Windows users all over the world. The computer froze, the guy waited a while, nothing happened, he finally got mad enough to just turn the damn thing off, and when he turned the thing back on…poof, Windows 9 was gone. Microsoft has been doing it to people for years.”