Posts Tagged ‘Windows Phone’

Microsoft, just say you messed up and move on

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

If you have one of these, it's possible you haven't been making many calls on it

On Monday, there were reports of “bricked” Samsung Windows phones due to a patch Microsoft had released. As you can imagine, this was not a stellar beginning for Microsoft considering this was the first ever patch they had released for the devices.

Instead of owning up to the “oops”, Microsoft has chosen instead to point out that it was only 10% of users that were affected by the glitch. Considering that back in December Microsoft announced that 1.5 million phones had launched in the first six weeks, that’s 150,000 users potentially affected by the glitch. Maybe that’s a “small number” in some circles but to me, it’s still a significant amount of people you’ve dismissed by saying only a “small percentage” was affected.

Microsoft’s track record with accepting blame hasn’t exactly been stellar. We’ve seen them dump blame on others when it comes to Internet Explorer problems. We’ve seen them dodge the question about whether or not Bing is mining data from Google. They’ve never gone so far as to say, “you’re holding it wrong” but I think they’ve come right up to that line and then backed off a little.

Here’s the thing… I think as a virtual whole, users are tired of big businesses minimizing or trivializing their mistakes when it causes issues with devices or software they’ve purchased. There was a time not so long ago when product stability overrode the incessant need to profit by launching an incomplete product. There was a time when quality meant something and companies went the extra mile to make sure the product they were launching was tested thoroughly before it ever saw the light of day.

I’ve heard the arguments that postponing a launch can cost a company millions. I’ve heard the arguments that the longer a product is tested, the more opportunity there is for corporate espionage. And I say to all of those companies… YOU’RE doing it wrong.

I’m going to give an example of someone who does things right… or as close to right as one can get when dealing with technology or software. Blizzard Entertainment has an amazing record when it comes to keeping a product secret and then turning around and launching a product that very rarely fails when taken out of the box.

How they do it is something of a mystery and perhaps we’re better off not knowing.

That’s not to say Blizzard doesn’t have its own mishaps. There have been times in the past when a patch has essentially made a game unplayable for a portion of their playerbase. When it does happen, however, Blizzard doesn’t trivialize their own fault. They admit it, they own it, the ‘fess up to it. When World of Warcraft was first launched and there were issues with patches that made the game unplayable, they gave me free subscription time. In one case, the game was unplayable for several hours and I was surprised to find they had added three free days to my subscription. Along with their apology, they’d given me something for free without hemming and hawing about it.

That’s rare in this day and age when it takes weeks and sometimes even months for companies to admit their fault and actually do something about it.

My advice to Microsoft is to stop pushing blame off on other parties or issuing statements saying that only a “small percentage” of users were affected.

Own up to the mistake. I, for one, will be much more forgiving the next time it happens.

Gritskrieg – End of Line