Microsoft, you betrayed me. We have been partners for a very long time. Back in the “good old days,” eons ago, my husband and I bought our first PC, an IBM with the DOS operating system and a whole 64 K of memory. Talk about slow. But I was so proud, typing away in my first word processing program. I think the only other thing on there was a spreadsheet. The screen was black and white, well actually green and white.
And then, you came along, actually a young nerdy whiz kid and slapped Windows on top of DOS and Microsoft was born. Well, that’s roughly how it was. You provided computers and software for the everyday Joe and Jane--like me. Now, you weren’t perfect, far from it. Your system was bumpy and buggy, but it did for me what it was supposed to do, most of the time.
I mean, nobody is perfect. There are bumps in every relationship, but I loved you with your mistakes. Until a few days ago that is, when you broke my heart. Yes, you did. Don’t look at me with your big blinking eyes as if you didn’t know.
You provided a very nice program suite in Windows Vista, called Microsoft Office Live Small Business or, for short MS OLSB. It contained all kinds of fun stuff, such as email AND a nifty tool to create a website--and it was free. Nice and very generous of you!
I’m an author and translator and I run a one-woman business with a very modest income. A website is a very important part of my business. So I spent hours and weeks creating and maintaining my website. I am still working at it, fine-tuning it, adding to it.
A few days ago, I logged onto OLSB and found out by accident that this tool was going to be discontinued in a couple of months and it would be replaced by a new version, Microsoft Office 365 and no longer would it be free but you had to pay a monthly fee to use it.
Okay, I thought. I guess the freebie was too good to be true. Now, I wouldn’t mind paying the modest fee you are planning to charge for an upgrade. It would still be a good deal. So, I read on and then my world collapsed. Yes, Microsoft, you almost gave me a heart attack.
There it says: the website I had invested so much time and effort to create would be DELETED! And I would have to save all my documents and pictures and copy and paste the whole thing over to the new version. Huh? Are you freakin kidding me? Aren’t you the number one software developer in the whole darn world? You’re trying to tell me you can’t have a procedure to migrate the websites we created automatically to the new system? What? Are you stupid?
I don’t think so. You are far too experienced NOT to have the capability to do that. I think the reason is that you don’t give a hoot about your clients. Why should you care about us? After all SMALL business says it all, doesn’t it? We are too small and unimportant for you. Customer service for the little guys? What for?
I tell you why you should care. I read the many comments on the forum of loyal customers just like me who are irate and disgusted and can’t believe what’s happening. Many of them, including me, are looking for other website creation tools and hosting companies. I am in the process of recreating my website in another program--I am using the Expand2Web SmallBiz Theme from WordPress and I signed up with a different hosting company. And I tell you one thing; the customer support from these guys so far has been splendid. I call Bluehost.com (thanks, Scott Nicholson, for recommending it!) and within seconds I get a real life person in the U.S. on the phone, helping me out.
You know, Microsoft, you’re huge and perhaps you’re too big to care for small fries like me. However, in today’s tough competition in the software and web industry, where comparable programs and systems compete furiously, the one distinguishing factor between the companies is CUSTOMER SERVICE. Got it, Microsofty?
Well, back to my website design--without you, honey. I’m moving on, MS. Hasta la vista, hombre! Ciao, Adieu.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Microsoft, I am filing for divorce!
Christa Polkinhorn, originally from Switzerland, lives and works as writer and translator in the Los Angeles are, California. She divides her time between the United States and Switzerland and has strong ties to both countries. She is the author of five novels and a collection of poems. Her travels and her interest in foreign cultures inform her work and her novels take place in several countries. Aside from writing and traveling, she is an avid reader and a lover of the arts, dark chocolate, and red wine.