RE: Windows 98 glitches are driving consumers batty

Jim Whitehead (
Thu, 10 Sep 1998 09:40:59 -0700

What I found interesting about this article was the assertion by a Win 98
program manager that Win 98 was actually generating fewer support calls than
previous OS releases for Microsoft.

This has two implications for me:

1) It implies that people have greater expectations of software quality now,
than they did in 1995.

2) Since Microsoft is receiving fewer support calls, the product is costing
them less to support than other OS releases, and hence there is no cost
accounting feedback mechanism for the bad publicity the OS is generating.
Combine this with the higher than expected sales of Windows 98, and it is
likely that Microsoft will view this as a success, and a pattern to be
repeated, despite the bad publicity.

It strikes me that part of the Microsoft Windows strategy is to externalize
the cost of dealing with funky hardware configurations onto the consumer.
Which, on the face of it, is rather bold given that the product is designed
to provide a common user experience across all hardware configurations. So,
granted that there are more possible permutations of PC configurations than
people on the planet, making an OS that can flawlessly handle all of these
configurations is an impossible task. But, given that there will be
problems, there is a choice as to who will bear the burden of the cost of
dealing with these problems, consumer or producer. It's interesting that
there have been no concerted attempts to try to shift the burden back onto
the producer.

> > As if these problems weren't enough, Windows
> > Update, a new Windows 98 feature intended to help users avoid problems,
> >may make them
> > worse.
> Yet another quality product from Redmond

- Jim