Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Dear Microsoft:

I hope you are doing well, notwithstanding the current economic melt-down.

I write as a long-time XP user. I have never been attracted to the products of your rival Apple, though I can and do use a MacIntosh when I am at a Kinko's to rent a computer and the MacIntosh is available. I always feel that becoming an Apple user would require drinking various forms of kool-aid that fail to interest me (and I am still a bit unimpressed that Apple, which knows better, still exploits DRM and non-interoperability of its music devices for competitive advantage). Yet I wish Apple users well, and I do not see all this as an article of faith or a great chasm so much as Coke or Pepsi thing.

Deep down, I know that I should be a Linux user, and support open source software development where I can.
You know, Elsa the lion was born free. When I know more than I know now about how to make software I enjoy work in Linux, I may yet go the Linux route. However, so many of the programs I really like right now are windows-only, and I know windows reasonably well. I have not yet switched to Vista, but this is not some indelible judgment about your new product, so much as a refusal to buy a new car during its first model years. In short, I am the very model of a loyal lukewarm windows user.

Using Microsoft products has its trade-offs. On the one hand, an incredible array of proprietary software and freeware and shareware permits me to do great things inexpensively in Windows. Windows is predictible, and easy to use. On the other hand, viruses, spyware and adware remain issues in Windows, many years after you announced to us all that this was your first priority for eradication. I know that nobody can help being the software people love to hack, but I pay a little toll in extra viral burden as a penance for using your product.

I did not write you to complain when a particularly virulent form of the faux anti-malware program malware latched on to my computer last Summer, though I spent weeks combing it out, making me feel a bit like a wire brush in a paint horse rodeo. I did not really mind that I had to switch to Mozilla, because IE Explorer seemed vulnerable to the things I kept cleaning out of my system. Mozilla is fun! (especially when government websites pretend they don't know how to work with Mozilla).

I soldiered on. I did not complain. I soldiered on.

Today, however, I came to the conclusion that our relationship has hit a bit of a rocky place. Remember that 3rd service pack you kept trying to get me to install? Well, I finally installed it. It required me to clear space for it, as I have procrastinated getting that 500GB hard drive far too long.

Your new service patch, however, put me out of service. Microsoft crashed my computer. We're talking roach motel. We're talking Raid.

These things happen. What is software if not buggy?

But when I call your toll-free number, trying to figure out how you crashed my system, and what I can do about it, you told me that you would charge me 60 dollars to resolve the problem your service patch created.

We've been going out a long time. I am not going to say "I am a PC", because that sounds a bit marital to me, and I prefer to think of our relationship and somewhere between a firm handshake and a kiss.

But I feel that you're not working on our relationship when you crash my system and then ask me to pay you to tell me how you did it.

In short, I am concerned that our relationship has become unhealthy. Microsoft is not my gigolo.

It's true that I will probably go buy a new computer with your Vista product. I will struggle to reboot my
computer once more in safe mode, so that I can put the music I made and the photos I took on a zip drive.
I probably will not change to Linux this time.

But in every relationship there comes a point in which one stops to ponder--is it over?

I can't quite say I'm pondering.

But right now I am paused. With an error flag. and a sense of fatigue.

My request of you is simple. Please don't crash my computer with your service patch. It makes me doubt your sincerity towards our relationship.

Best of fortune, by the way, with Zune. Go get 'em, Tiger.

Your user,

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