Yesterday Amazon updated it home page. That’s not exactly news, as it happens fairly regularly, but what it said did create a bit of news. The company announced that for the ninth year in a row, it had been voted number one in customer satisfaction. Given the way it treats customers, along with our love for shopping, this is not overly surprising.
Amazon also is not a competitor to Microsoft, so on the face, this wouldn’t even be fair, and that’s not a comparison I’ll make. This really is not about the online retailer, the news only sparked this thought. Why does Microsoft garner so much hatred from its customers?
There are numerous reasons that spring to mind when pondering this question. There are the reports of users being locked out of their PC’s by the company’s faulty Windows copy protection scheme. There have been updates that sent machines into endless reboot cycles, and the recent NSA allegations certainly have not been a benefit.
Amazon can simply please people by offering the best prices, free shipping and easy refunds if you aren’t satisfied. For a company like Microsoft this is all a whole lot tougher. And hence, it has resulted in a serious image crisis.
The real question is, how can it be fixed? It’s difficult to even speculate. The company doesn’t know what hardware and software you’re running, what changes you’ve made to a stock system. Hence, it becomes very difficult to push any update without wrecking a computer somewhere.
The harebrained copy protection schemes on Windows are perhaps the best route -- and I mean getting rid of them. The software giant needs to realize that the vast majority of people simply are not pirates. Most get Windows through buying a new computer, and those of us who upgrade tend to pay. And, in case Microsoft doesn’t realize it -- the real pirates know how to get around these schemes. It only hurts the average user when a false positive is returned, and it seems to happen a lot.
The whole NSA scandal is another story. Microsoft is dealing with this as best it can, promising that it isn’t providing information, at least willingly, to the feds. It offers a transparency report and has plans in place for a more open approach in the future, along with encryption of your personal data. Sadly, many don’t believe them, nor Google either, when it comes to this.
In short, the company has a serious problem on its hands, and there really isn’t any easy answer for fixing it. The predicament is much tougher than what Amazon faces each day, but the business model is also much more complicated. What’s the solution?