From the Seattle Times:
VB7 mixup tied to hearing loss, Microsoft executive admits
A recall today of Visual Basic 7, the latest release of the popular programming language, was due to a mixup with roots that go back to concerts by The Grateful Dead, Microsoft (NASDAC MSFT) admitted in a press release.
According to the company, Rick Rollinski, a long-term employee of the Redmond software giant who claims to be the sole remaining product manager on the product, it was all because of his passion for the famous band, started by the late Jerry Garcia.
"I was a pretty serious deadhead," Rollinski told The Times, "with over 150 concerts--I know becuase for each concert I attended I'd put a little leaf decal on my VW microbus. You can count them."
"Man I loved the Dead," Rollinski went on. "One time Jerry even autographed my favorite bong. Still got it. Even though this dude offered me like $500 for it at one concert. But I'm like, no way, man... anyway I guess maybe worming my way right up by the stage all those years took a toll on my hearing a bit."
Rollinski explained that the Visual Basic release was based on a mistake in understanding the corporate strategy surrounding Windows 8, the newest version of Microsoft's operating system for personal computers.
"I kept hearing people talking about Retro this and Retro that, you know like for Windows 8. So we decided to make a Retro version of Visual Basic. It's totally awesome. If you're sick and tired of all this System.Namespace crap and all that .Net stuff that nobody can remember you'll love it. It's got line numbers and PEEK and POKE and GOTO. You know, we tried really hard to get back to the BASIC roots, like what Kemeny and Kurtz talked about back in '65."
"Well, it turns out no one was actually talking about Windows 8 Retro apps. They were talking about Windows 8 METRO apps, which guess have something to do with train schedules."
Asked how he was so mistaken about corporate strategy, Rollinski said it had to do with their office location: "You know, we've been in one wing of Building 7 for years and years now--everybody else moved out but I guess there was some mistake or something because we're still there. And for some reason all our access to corporate email hasn't worked in like forever. So we just tried to be good citizens and keep working hard, you know, between like smoke breaks."
VB7, which is no longer available for sale, fully supported 16-bit operations, extended memory, console I/O, and the PRINT statement for advanced debugging, Rollinski said. "We had two awesome sample apps: one would display the first 50 numbers in the Fibonacci sequence, and other will actually convert Fahrenheit temperatures to Celsius! We're working on reving it so it will go the other way, but we probably need another six months to get that working."
The Seattle Times was unable to reach Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for comment on this story.