Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2002

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In an attempt to shake the aerospace industry, Microsoft replaced the entire avionics system of a recently purchased Jumbo jet with it's own proprietary Window AE (Aircraft Enhancement) 1.0 software. Naturally, critics of the software giant warned consumers that this move would "not have enough leverage to be of any serious concern to any major aircraft manufacturer." That is to say until last Wednesday, when testing of the new software began.

"We were quite pleased with the initial pre-release," said Bill Newman of the Microsoft AE Division. "Not only was it successful in emulating a simple auto-pilot navigation system, but the GPS link even worked well, too." But the new software was not without its share of bugs as Steven Nichols, a software engineer contracted by Microsoft for avionics development, pointed out, "We've had a really rough time with the new avionics sub-system over the last several months. It's not unusual for the system to be controlling all four engines of the 747 one minute, only to crash and shut off all flight control systems the next.

My primary concern is that this type of crash wouldn't just stop in the air, it would stop on the ground!" When approached with the possible flaws in Windows for Airlines 1.0, a Microsoft spokesperson vehemently denied any sort of software glitch, insisting that the shutdown was merely a "feature," helping prevent damage to over-spooled engines. "We understand the concerns of the public," said the spokesperson, preferring to remain anonymous, "and I would certainly hope that anyone questioning our position understands that we're focusing on bringing down the total cost of ownership by intercepting maintenance problems before they crop up." The spokesperson refused to comment on the photo snapped of a blue-screen during software tests.