Why it’s called Micro$oft

Today I updated VMware Fusion to 3.0 on my MacBook. My installation of Vista Ultimate didn’t like that, and promptly announced that this copy wasn’t “genuine” and likely pirated.

Now, I’ve owned, and paid for:
Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows ME
Windows XP
Windows XP Professional
Windows 2000 Professional
Windows Vista Ultimate.

A small fortune in generally crappy software (which I needed to have since I wrote cross-platform software, and needed to test it.)

I have each and every original disk, and each Product Key.

So I wasn’t particularly worried that it complained, as there is a built-in mechanism for verifying and activating… except this time, it didn’t work.

Verification told me to put in my Product Key (instead of verifying) and then told me that the product key was for an update, and couldn’t be used.
Activation told me to put in my Product Key (instead of verifying) and then told me that the product key was for an update, and couldn’t be used.
Choosing enter product key, told me that the product key was for an update, and couldn’t be used.
Visiting the website for activation… (follow me on this) gave me explicit instructions which (you’re ready?) to enter the product key, and that the product key was for an update, and couldn’t be used.

At no point did I get a phone number, or the “activation key” sequence I’d seen before.

You see, apparently with Vista, M$ has decided not to tell you the customer activation number, and instead offers to sell you a new key.

Well, I found the phone number via Google, (no, not Bing) and called.

“Dave” (with a strong Indian accent) kept interrupting me, to tell me things I’d already done, until I finally sat silent for 20 seconds and he wondered if I was still there on the line. This time I asked if he’d care to hear the full description of the problem. When he finally listened, he told me that he was in product activation, and that sounded like a technical problem to him. Would I mind if he transferred me?

Nope, not at all. Thank you. (I”m always overwhelmingly polite with these poor folks, who spend most of the day talking to irate computer-illiterates, as I’ve discovered that always works best.)

Off to “Jim” (with a strong Indian accent) to repeat the entire story again… and be told that was a question for the activation center, and that he couldn’t help. Would I mind if he transferred me?

Nope, not at all. Thank you. (Figuring that maybe I would not get “Dave” again.) I didn’t. I got “Tom” (with a strong Indian accent) and I repeated the problem yet again.

Well, obviously that was a problem for customer service, not activation! (Sure! Silly me!) Would I mind if he transferred me?

Nope, not at all. Thank you.

This time I got “Bill” (with a strong Indian accent, although I thought by now that surely I’d reached Gates himself… but the accent was wrong…) where I explained the entire situation for the 4th time.

And was told “it’s too bad that you’ve had the software longer than 90 days, so your free support has run out. You can visit our forums; buy a new activation key; or continue talking to me for an incident fee of $59.”

As I hung up, I’ll admit my thoughts were less than cordial.

And that, my friends, is why it’s spelled “Micro$oft.”

Tracy

PS. I finally did get it installed, but the way I did it was never even suggested by M$. It was to simply re-install XP and then update it to Vista. I had a backup copy of my Fusion XP file, and ran that, and installed the upgrade from there. On a Macintosh, the total upgrade time, from scratch, with all online updates: 90 minutes.

The same for a PC: 6.5 hours. Why? Because on a Mac, there is a cumulative update package, that will take whatever your current software version number is, and update it. One download. One update. PCs on the other hand have to go thru every single upgrade individually, in the order it was released, one at a time. There were 95 individual updates to be downloaded and installed. Total time for just the updates (on fast cable) was 5 hours (+ 1.5 hours for the software install in the first place.)

No. Really. I love my PC. I mean what’s not to like about the Registry?

Wait. Gotta stop. My tongue is bleeding.

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