I can’t rightly assign credit for this week’s questions. A quote by the demon possessed man from Mark’s Gospel comes to mind; “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.”
“Et tu, Microsoft?” is the question. Why indeed would our close friend and ally of the software world betray us by making it so hard to migrate to new versions? I get this question over and over, especially from seniors. Some of the language is quite colorful, but I digress.
Rather than make this a column about bashing Microsoft, I want to offer up some suggestions in the form of an open letter to Bill Gates and all the crew at MS. I’ll illustrate the point of my remarks with some anecdotal complaints that I’ve picked up from clients just recently.
Let’s start with email clients. Once upon a time there was Outlook Express (OE) which was used and loved by millions of loyal Windows users; it was free (came installed with Internet Explorer the ubiquitous MS browser) and user friendly. Then comes Windows Vista (subject of a whole different complaint column) and OE disappears, replaced by “Windows Mail” a crude stepchild compared to OE. Loved? Not so much! Then comes Windows Seven (thank you MS) and Windows Mail disappears also, but we can get its replacement “Windows Live Mail” free for the download. I have husbanded many clients through the process of migrating from OE to Win Mail and or Win Live Mail and there is no way to describe the process as user friendly or intuitive, unless you just wanted to lose old mail messages, folders contacts.
The other example I want to use is that of re-validation of Windows Software. All of my clients use genuine Windows Operating Systems and would not think of buying a pirated copy. Unfortunately that is not universally true and MS has devised a process for checking on their software to determine if it is legal. Each time you download Windows updates, your OS is validated. I’m fine with that, it’s just a necessary evil; but when the process falsely determines that software is pirated, it can be a nightmare for the average user. MS should try very hard not to let this happen, even to erring on the side of missing a pirate.
I recently spent about an hour and forty-five minutes on the phone with MS Tech Service to validate a legal copy of Window’s Vista which came factory installed and had worked and been updated regularly for two years without incident and then out of the blue showed up invalid.
In effect the PC owner was accused falsely and made to prove the software was legal, even though the Product Key was clearly attached to the PC as it should have been. Not a happy experience for the client and an event that MS should bend over backwards to avoid. To MS credit the tech guy was very patient and committed to resolve the problem, which he knew was of MS’ own making, but why shoot yourself in the foot in front of loyal customers? Please try harder. MS. and we still love you.