Last night I made a quick post about a tool called RemoveWGA with hope that I can shed some light on one of the most disappointing Microsoft moves in recent history. It is interesting to see how WGA works under the hood and address exactly what is being passed back and forth. Is it spyware? Well, read the page. While I have not been affected by WGA at all I never imagined how big of a deal this was for partners and customers. Frankly, I like the concept of pirated systems getting busted for doing what they do and hunted down by their "clients". Sure I got a ton of calls about it but I get a ton of calls about everything, it's the nature of what I do. But very rarely do I ever get a call where the other person is screaming at the top of their lungs to the extent that the speaker in the phone can't handle the volume. Thats the new kind of pissed I have not heard in quite some time, brought to you by WGA.
So the WGA thing. Great concept. Horrible implementation. And this got personal quick and it hit really close to home for quite a few of you. Click here to read the 17 comments on the post and pay particular attention to the comments made by Ramon. I sincerely hope nobody reading this will ever have that kind of experience. But if you think my visitors are raving lunatics then you need to look at Microsoft's own WGA boards. I have not seen anybody lose it so quickly outside of LUG flamewars. You will find this thread in particular very disappointing and perhaps telling of why this software is still so bad and why it infuriates so many.
Oh well, their software, their license, they can do what they want to assure its genuine. But let me offer you a bit of PR, software developer and CEO advice all rolled up into one: When your customers are telling you that your software sucks, when you put the reputation of your partners on the line with your bad software, when you've nailed people with a beta product without properly informing them of its status and when you've received over 1200 reports where people take issue with your software.. you sit back and you say you're sorry and you tell them what you're doing to fix it. You don't moan about how people only talk about the negative aspects of your software, you look at the bad stuff and you fix it.
P.S. Does anybody know if Phil Liu is at 1 Microsoft Way? I think I have a book I'd like to send him and his boss.. Folks, I realize you are in a big company and you need a permission when you want to go to lunch 15 minutes early. But if you're facing this kind of a PR nightmare and you need to seek approval to talk to your customers and partners… you might want to get out there while there are still some willing to listen to you.