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Microsoft Support a Disgrace

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    Microsoft public technical support offerings have become so constrained, unhelpful, and costly that they are basically telling their customers to "F" off after the sale.

    The support phone lines are staffed by individuals with zero technical ability, and no access to any information that the general public does not already have access to.

    They used to offer 90 days of support from the date of your first contact, but now with Vista, it's 90 days from activation.  This change was obviously made in order to make the clock run out sooner so that more people would be excluded from support.

    Microsoft has basically shut the door on any kind of developer support, unless you fork over $245 per incident.

    This is the corporate attitude at its most ugly, and Microsoft now exemplifies it:

    "Pay through the nose for our products, but if you need help with them, just talk to the hand."

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    It's hard to tell from your post what you were trying to get help on and had problems, I hope that what ever it was you were able to get it resolved.

    I can't speak for Vista support directly since I don't really have contact with that part of the business, but I would like to counter your assertions about developer support.

    My team has worked very hard to continually improve the quality of support being given to the developer community through the MSDN Forums.  Just this year we began having support engineers working to answer questions directly in the forums.  These are people being paid to find answers to your questions for free.

    The answer rate for the forums is approximately 80%, and that's a big improvement for the last year or so.  It's a number that we're proud of.

    Are there areas we could get better?  Absolutely, but to characterize us as corporate attitude at its most ugly?  I think that's greatly exaggerating things, especially in the developer world.

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    Mr. Kelly,

    I do apologize for lumping developer support in with my rant about support in general.  I was still pretty steamed after my contact with Vista user support, and I let loose without enough discretion.

    The truth is you're right, the developer community support options are pretty good, and are probably the most comprehensive in the industry.

    My beef is with the user support for the OS. 

    The question I contacted them about had to do with an apparent bug in the Start menu.  Maybe I'll ask the question in one of the developer forums, and see if that gets better results.

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    And just in case no other people mention, if you're a MSDN subscriber, you get access to the managed newsgroups where most of your questions will be answered by skillful people usually within the same work day. I found them helpful and have not used my 2 support incidents quota yet.

    Recent Achievement unlocked: Code Avenger Tier 4/6: You see dead program. A lot!
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    Hi tropo

    What was the question? Perhaps I could help. 


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    My opinion of those in customer support changed dramatically after I worked for a large call center (for the worst 6 weeks of my life).

    A large US telco outsourced its DSL tech support to a call-center company.  I worked for the call-center in Canada servicing customers in the Eastern US.

    After two-weeks of traning which mostly focused on call-center etiquette, dealing with difficult callers, etc..., we were thrown on the floor and started answering phones.  I did well, because I am very technical. 

    Some of the people that were in my two-week orientation had ZERO technical ability.  They were absolutely useless at tech support, but it doesn't matter.  All that matters is your call time and how long (or short of a time) you keep the customer on the phone.

    So, I find it no suprise that base customer support from Microsoft is just as worse.

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