Wednesday, April 12, 2006

We're from Microsoft and we're here to help!

I’m the lead IT professional for a small business here in the Cleveland area. It’s my job to assist users in their daily dealings with their Personal Computers, amongst other things. I also program in Access 2000, VBA, C#, SQL Server Reporting Services and do some network tweaking. Lots to handle.

I received a call from the “Helpful” people at Microsoft yesterday. She wanted to know what Microsoft could do to assist my small business with our software needs. I promptly suggested that they stop changing everything every time they released a new Operating System (OS).

“What do you mean by that?”

“Every time you release a new OS, you rearrange where everything is and how one accesses basic features. The productivity of my users decreases markedly for the next 6 months as they re-learn how to use their computers. This also applies to new versions of Office. Quit ‘rearranging the deck chairs’!!

“Your productivity goes down?”

“Yes! Most of my users are the sorts who only know ‘point here and double-click’. When you change the ‘here’, they be come very confused and it can take them months to adjust. That’s why we never upgraded to Windows XP and I am dreading the change to Vista. We will delay upgrading to Vista as long as we possibly can.”

She really didn’t seem to get my point. Microsoft’s propensity for making unnecessary changes to basic functions in their OS and Office products is the reason many small businesses and individual users have resisted upgrading to their most current products. I have a computer that runs Win XP only because that’s what my laptop came loaded with. If I’d been able to opt for Win 2000, I would have done so.

And now there’s Vista. From what little I’ve seen of it, it is once again a radical change, similar to the difference between Win 3.1 and Win 95 back in the 90s. My poor users at work will be totally lost!! Many of them are still running Win 98 on their home machines!

What really makes me mad is the arrogance exhibited by Microsoft. They just arbitrarily decided to change the way the whole world uses the Personal Computer. That’s how much respect they have for their users. Every new OS requires the relearning of where things are. They inconvenience everyone to their profit. How much money will be lost to this new OS in reduced productivity?? The small business I work for runs on a very tight margin. They cannot afford to have everyone take half again as long to do every computer task for 3 to 6 months as they relearn how to use their computers!!

I’d like to see businesses, large and small, get together and refuse to upgrade! If no one buys the product, maybe they will have to rethink their lack of respect for their customers. Of course, since new computers come with the OS pre-loaded, that will require the delaying the purchase of new computer equipment. Think the computer manufacturers will like that?? I’m betting not.

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