Vijay asks: Are we apologists for Microsoft?
Yes. Yes, we are. Absolutely, totally, without a doubt.
Please go read what Vijay has to say. It is a very positive look at the state of Microsoft partnership, to say the least. Kind of flawed at the close (HP’s scandals and internal affairs do not directly impact my bottom line, Microsoft’s incompetence does) but good summary overall.
If I were to put my finger at one thing.. one thing.. that Microsoft is doing wrong, and is the root cause of why Microsoft is easilly the most hated software and hardware manufacturer in the universe – it would be their total and utter lack of humility when dealing with their customers and partners problems. You will never hear a Microsoft official apologize, you will never see them use the word “sorry”, you will never see the slightest bit of remorse for the damage they continue to do not just to the partner ecosystem but to the customer as well.
For example, one of the nicest people I know at Microsoft sent the email earlier this weekend, using the following phrase “We sincerely appreciate your patience and efforts..”; It is this inability to connect with the pain of partners and customers that is costing Microsoft not just in terms of product sales but also in goodwill and faith customers place in the vendor. It is not hard to say sorry. We say it all the time. For Microsoft software. That is what makes us apologists, by definition.
Now that I’m done with the rant, there is actually a very legitimate reason for using these expressions. For example, Disney has for years emphasised that they are never to admit fault, guilt or remorse when they are at fault. There is never to be an admission of fault by a cast member.
Guest: “You messed up my vacation. You messed up my reservation. You didn’t wake me up.”
Cast: “I am sorry you feel that way.”
Notice they are not really sorry for any of the wrong-doing. They are sorry you feel that way. Anotherwords: “Dear customer, you’re wrong.”
If that is the type of behavior Microsoft wants to adopt in the small business I’m afraid Microsoft solutions will not stay here in the long term. I do not use “the most hated software company” words lightly, Microsoft is deeply despised by many of its customers and partners. It is a shame for those of us that work with Microsoft’s employees and know them to be probably the nicest people out there, both on and off the clock. However, this type of direct communication and the inability to show compassion for the pains, in an official way, that the ecosystem is creating is not going to be good for Microsoft. I hope they can take those words to their superiors and explain to them just whats happening down here. These changes must to come from the top down because there are already awesome people at Microsoft, someone just needs to stop the pattern of hiring marketing pukes that ruin the overall reputation by showing no respect, compassion or even acknowledgement of the mistakes when they happen. Microsoft needs more Kevin Beares’s, and less Joels.