Thursday, February 24, 2005

Dickie's bitchy part 2

Well, this morning I forgot my keys on the way into work. Actually, I hadn't forgotten them. They were in my coat, which I decided not to wear into work today. The coat was in the back seat of my car, but I thought that it was at home, so I headed back there.

Between that and the Microsoft extortion mail this morning (see: Dickie's bitchy below), I was a little grouchy. One of the reasons I head to work so early in the morning is to avoid traffuck. I hate traffuck and the later I go in, the worse it becomes.

After realizing my error, I dashed upstairs to let Shawn know that I was the one who opened the garage door. She was still groggy because I had just woken her up. I kissed her goodbye again and began to leave. She began to get up and looked slightly coherent, so I asked her if she loaded a new program on the PC last night. I had gotten some messages from Microsoft's Anti-spyware tool as well as Ad-Watch by Lavasoft and was wondering why I received them.

She then started to complain that she had gotten a bunch of those messages when she logged into the PC and that she dislikes them. I explained, patiently, that they are there for security reasons and that she should be aware of what the issues are and learn to deal with them as any secure computer user should. She bristled at the thought. Like most users, she sometimes just wants to sit down and use the damn thing and not have to worry about security measures and whether or not to approve them. To make matters worse, she deals with this information "all the time at work" and doesn't want to learn or deal with them at home. *sigh*

Well, this set off my grouchy nature again. I bit my tongue, tried to explain that this wasn't a big deal, that she could download programs and I wouldn't have a problem with it, but that I was just curious about the messages. At this point, I went awry and began to complain about the email from Microsoft mentioned in the earlier bitchy post. Shawn was exasperated. She started feeding on my emotions and reacting to them and she was still fairly asleep. She suggested that I write MSN an email rather than use her as a sounding board because I had one and one, no less, that worked for the company.

Actually, the fact that she works for Microsoft had nothing to do with it, but she was right about the sounding board, about me being grouchy, and about the email. So, this morning I logged into the MSN Hotmail account. I clicked their "Feedback" button and typed up my letter, attempting to use a calm approach and diplomatic language. When I clicked the send button, nothing happened. Soon, an unintelligible error message popped up indicating that some service was not available. I tried it again...and again. By this point, I was amused that this was happening at a time when I wanted to complain. The thought occurred to me that perhaps thousands of MSN email customers were feeling the same way and that our "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more" posts had crashed MSN's Hotmail feedback system. That's probably not the case, but it brought a smile to my face and lowered the grouchy factor just a tad.

Having been thwarted from doing the right thing, I decided to open the original mail and hit "Reply". This almost never works. I expect that I'll get a returned email from MSN Hotmail as address unknown. Still it offered me some sort of accomplishment, even if it is ethereal.

Shawn, if you read this, then let me assure you that you were correct. I'm sorry. As proof, here's the email that I tried to send. If I get that email returned, then perhaps I'll try to offer to them again. I'm being a good customer, have been a good customer, would like to continue being a good customer, so I'm letting MSN Hotmail know how I feel about their ploy:


Today in my MSN account inbox, I received a letter with an offer for Outlook Live at a 25% discount. The letter contained in it the following line:

"As an Outlook Live subscriber, not only can you get uninterrupted access to your MSN e-mail accounts from Outlook, but you will also enjoy many other benefits."

This disturbs me. I've owned a hotmail account since 1996 and an MSN account since 2000. My Hotmail addy is even a paid account - the upgrade, for storage purposes. I own the Office Suite of products (the latest versions, for reference) for my PCs, including Outlook and I use Outlook, not Outlook Express, as my email client. I've been quite happy with the service. One of the reasons that I use Outlook is because it offers me the opportunity to receive Hotmail and MSN Hotmail emails in an interface that also receives emails from my ISP account.

What disturbs me about the above quote is the implication that at some point my service may be interrupted if I don't subscribe to Outlook Live. Why should I buy a product that I already own and, as a loyal customer, have kept up to date? What is Microsoft's reasoning behind issuing such a potential threat? If you do cancel my ability to access my account with the current version of Outlook, as opposed to Outlook Live and Outlook Express (I can actually understand your reasoning with the Express product, since it is a free product distributed with your OS), what is the incentive for me to not look at competing office productivity products such as Star Office and Open Office as serious alternatives for the first time in my life? What incentive will I have not to drop my paid Hotmail account and switch everything over to Gmail, which, by the way, does allow Outlook and Outlook Express to access their mail services?

My point is that I've been a loyal and paying customer of Microsoft's for a number of years. I've mostly enjoyed the service I've received from your company. In fact, other than an incident with your customer service for MSN as an ISP, I've never had a problem. Therefore, there has been no incentive for me to consider competing services or products - until now. The email I received, complete with the line quoted above, does not bode well for my continuing support.

Like most people, I'm rather complacent once I receive a product or service with which I'm happy. It takes quite a nudge to motivate me to look to other options. The quote above certainly has motivated me to consider my options for products and services such as Office, Hotmail, and MSN Hotmail. Should you decide to discontinue my access to the email accounts with Outlook, forcing me to buy Outlook Live (as opposed to just continuing Outlook access and offering Outlook Live as the version in the next Office Suite), then not only will I consider other products, but I'll actively seek them out. As far as I can tell right now, Outlook Live does not add any great value to me and yet, you want to charge me extra money for that lack of value. It's ridiculous.

I hope that Microsoft realizes the error here and corrects it. I would like to continue offering you business beyond buying operating systems. However, if it continues down this path, I will not be able to do this because there will be competitors who offer the same products at a much lower price. I suspect that many other customers feel the same way that I do. It is not a good business model to promote a new product by insulting the customer base that currently uses your older products.

Thank you,

1 comment:

Scott said...

I like it. You could tighten it a tad and send a signed hard copy.