"If I can have honesty, it's easier to overlook mistakes."
-- James T. Kirk, in Star Trek episode "Space Seed", stardate 3141.9
Obviously Microsoft doesn't have the slightest respect for their customers
(note how I try to avoid the word 'contempt' here). Their track record speaks
louder than words on this point. Microsoft is a truly digital company:
Microsoft is number one, and the millions of consumers who use their products
are the zero's.
Before doing business with any company, most customers like to know if they're dealing with a reliable party. Well - to summarize:
Microsoft rarely fixes user problems. Granted, service packs for Windows
'95, NT, Office and such have been released, but only in an attempt to fix
blunders that should never have been released in the first place. And each
new service pack introduces new (and untested) features to Windows, so the
problem is always perpetuated.
Instead of solving problems with new interim releases, MS issues only major new releases with 'additional features' and loads of extra bells and whistles that distract the attention from the main issue: software quality. Could someone tell me what the real structural improvements there were in the latest Windows ME release?
Microsoft does not seem to have a quality plan, carries no ISO900x (or any other) quality certification that I know of, and apparently does not intend to acquire any. Worse, Microsoft does not seem to have full control over the contents of their own software. The 'Weenie Issue' in IIS and the 'Gray hair issue' are good examples. Granted, these may be relatively harmless bits of code, but the point is that if these can pass through Quality Control, so can serious flaws, security backdoors and the like. That's assuming that quality control is actually part of Microsoft's production process and that it's intended to do a serious job. If it were serious, it would have frowned upon hidden flight simulator and pinball games in release versions of Office. (Such deliberately hidden features are called 'Easter Eggs' and are usually put in by developers as a prank.)
In 1998 Microsoft released one of their major products (Windows '98) that turned out not to be millennium-proof. After no fewer than five service packs for NT4, users still needed to install several post-SP Y2K hotfixes by the end of 1999. (Can you say "Quality Assurance"?)
Microsoft refuses to support their own products if those products have been sold to the customer through an OEM distributor.
Microsoft products are designed to benefit Microsoft. Even in the days of Windows 3.11, they incorporated code to display an incorrect error message if the competing product DR-DOS was detected. How does the customer benefit from this? Microsoft uses their customer base as a pawn in the battle for market domination. Windows '98 forces the user to run Internet Explorer, regardless of the needs, desires and wishes of said user. There is no technical reason to do so, it is a monopoly issue only, as has been proven in the course of legal procedures against Microsoft. And who else but Microsoft would put a feature in MSN Explorer to spam your entire address book with endorsement messages gushing praise about "this exciting new product from Microsoft"? (Incidentally, this spam has your name on it. It's your reputation going down the drain.)
Microsoft manipulates the market by making it cumbersome to use competing products instead of offering truly better alternatives, enforces proprietary extensions to otherwise open standards and introduces deliberate version conflicts.
Microsoft is not above playing fast-and-loose with the law when it comes to killing off alternative suppliers. They prefer to use pressure and force to restrict the consumer's free choice, rather than to allow true and healthy competition based on the merits of different products. Their methods to accomplish this can be called doubtful from a legal point of view, to say the least.
Microsoft lies to the customer (yes, they LIE) to deny the quality of competing products and to make their own look more favorable. Microsoft will look you straight in the face and tell you that NDS is known for poor scalability, that Netware doesn't support basic file system features such as sub-allocation and compression, and that Windows outperforms Unix.
With the introduction of Office XP, Microsoft resorts to a new upgrade policy: force-feeding. You'll upgrade whenever Microsoft tells you to and meet their deadline, or else face a huge cost increase the next time you upgrade. That's the kind of freedom of choice that Microsoft gives you: either pay up now for something you don't really need, or pay much more a little later when (not if) new products will be made incompatible with previous versions.
Still Microsoft hails the free market and tells the customers that they
benefit from this.
Comments? E-mail me!