Welcome to .NET! I might as well have said, "Welcome to the Solar System," because like the solar system, .NET is huge. And it's complex. And it's filled with black holes and other things that don't always make sense. Yet it (.NET, not the universe) turns out to be a fantastic system in which to develop software applications.
The .NET Framework was not developed in a vacuum (unlike the universe); Microsoft designed it and its related development languagesespecially C# and Visual Basicto address various issues that plagued Windows software developers and users. To fully understand why .NET was necessary, we need to take a short trip down computer memory lane.