Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 11, 2015

Microsoft sucks–a letter to the CEO

Filed under: computers — louisproyect @ 4:52 pm

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO

Mr. Nadella,

Yesterday morning I downloaded Microsoft Office 2016 to my new Macbook and spent 3 hours working on an article for which I was to earn $350. In the course of doing a ‘replace all’ to clean some things up when I had finished but not saved the article, Word froze on me. I called tech support and was told by a fellow named Benny (SRX1295917095ID – Microsoft Answer Desk) that Office 2016 was not stable and that I needed to use Office 2011 instead, which I then installed to replace the latest version. The consequences of all this is that I had to rewrite my article from scratch.

Before I retired in 2012, I worked in corporate IT for 44 years including for some blue chip firms like Goldman-Sachs. If we had delivered a nonfunctional product like this to investment bankers, heads would have rolled.

About a year ago my wife and I went to a trendy restaurant in NY called Buddokan and had a meal that cost us about $150, which we didn’t care for very much. When the waitress came by afterwards, she asked how we liked it and I told her the truth. A minute later the manager came by and told us that we only had to pay for our drinks.

When I told Benny that the right thing to do was to refund my payment for Office and allow me to use the 2011 version for free for my troubles, he said no deal. Apparently Buddokan cares more about its reputation than Microsoft.

If you wanted to do the right thing, you’d refund my money but I imagine that you won’t. It is a shame that your standards are so low that you would allow such a fiasco to take place. But then again I have memories of Windows ME, software that required me to buy a new Dell long before it was necessary.

Yours truly,

Louis Proyect


  1. This is an old one, but …

    Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated “if GM had kept up with the technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.”

    In response to Bill’s comments, General Motors made the following contribution to the debate:
    “If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

    For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

    Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you’d have to buy a new car.

    Occasionally your car would just die on the motorway for no reason. You would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all of the car windows, shut it off, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this, restart and drive on.

    Occasionally, executing a maneuver would cause your car to stop and fail to restart and you’d have to re-install the engine. For some strange reason, you’d accept this too.

    Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

    You could only have one person in the car at a time, unless you bout a “Car 95” or a “Car NT”. But then you’d have to buy more seats.

    The list continues …

    [Read the full list at: http://homepage.tinet.ie/~nobyrne/ms-cars.htm%5D

    Comment by Reza F. — July 11, 2015 @ 6:07 pm

  2. Sorry the link was copied incorrectly!

    This one should work:

    Comment by Reza F. — July 11, 2015 @ 6:10 pm

  3. Just use Mac software. PAGES, the Mac fancy version of a text editor (which can spin off and convert files in many formats, and easily swallows MS Word files) works very well, and has an endless number of details. TEXTEDIT, the standard Mac text editor, is much more than the bare-bones editor of old. Also, PREVIEW, the Mac jpeg and pdf viewer can also perform a number of editing functions. Just dump Microsoft = Macrocrap.

    Comment by Manuel García, Jr. — July 12, 2015 @ 3:14 am

  4. I tried using Pages but found it unsatisfactory, mostly because replacing paragraph or tab markers is clumsy, plus replacing text in a highlighted passage is impossible.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 12, 2015 @ 12:23 pm

  5. Never move onto a latest version straight away! Do you know of a business that would do this?

    I have only just started using Excel 2010 myself and it does what I need it to do and more.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 12, 2015 @ 12:49 pm

  6. I wasn’t aware that an older version of Office was downloadable.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 12, 2015 @ 12:54 pm

  7. For composing, you might try using a Markdown-enabled plain-text editor like iA Writer, Byword, or Ulysses. Most have the ability to export to docx (or at least rtf) which you can reformat in Word. Or you can use pandoc and create docx output automatically, and attach whatever template styles you want. Plain-text for composing, and docx for publishing/submitting. This isn’t a solution to the problem you identify here exactly, but *composing* in plain text is almost always less error-prone.

    Comment by antecrypto — July 12, 2015 @ 6:50 pm

  8. Have you considered the free and open source…


    Comment by mister bijou — July 14, 2015 @ 1:08 pm

  9. The crappiness of Microsoft releases is legendary. But many organizations are now switching to Google Apps, which provides essentially no customer support at all, since it is only a giveaway (reminds me of the Fuller Brush Man in “Clara Cluck’s Talent Contest”–free baseballs). Except for the real-time collaboration feature, Google Docs makes Word look like a monument of the human intellect. In my book, it’s simply awful.

    Libre Office and Apache OpenOffice work reasonably well, though they can be slow and clunky on Windows (haven’t tried them on Linux or Mac). Since Libre Office has access to OpenOffice code, but OpenOffice cannot include LibreOffice’s new code, it looks as if Libre Office will probably turn out to be the better of the two.

    I’ve never been able to work as fast (if sloppily) with long documents in any of the more-or-less WYSIWIG tools as I once could using the vi editor with ms macros and troff on a Sun. But having been through that hell once, I have no desire to go back to it. I haven’t tried any of the things antecrypto is suggesting, but I wonder if they’re too techie for all but the few (will have a look).

    In that line, there’s always LyX and LaTex.

    Oh, the blessings of capitalism!

    Comment by Pete glosser — July 14, 2015 @ 5:25 pm

  10. I’m still trying to understand why Microsoft spent billions on Nokia only to destroy the company and ruin their own brand. They could have put half that much into developing Windows apps. which would have made the device competitive. As it is now, I’m pulling the plug on Sharepoint, MS office and moving over to Slackware. The only part of their eco-system I’m not parting with (at least for now ) is X-Box, due entirely to KI. In short, this guy makes Ballmer look like a genius.

    Comment by Chris — June 24, 2016 @ 4:48 am

  11. This article is pathetic. I get it, but woah, picking that Windows ME comparison, out of so many other far worse debacles, just makes me feel dumb for having read it in the first place; that GM letter to Bill Gates, on the other hand? Pure classic gold.

    Comment by NotYourMother — July 20, 2016 @ 2:28 am

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