Hailstorm: Microsoft seems to …

Hailstorm: Microsoft seems to be betting the farm on their new Hailstorm .NET project, which borrows a lot of ideas from Jabber — but you won’t find them admitting that anywhere. I’m wary of Microsoft getting into the services market simply because they have such a horrible record of not only screwing over their customers but also screwing over the business partners. Look at all the problems they’ve had with Hotmail and Passport. Do you really trust a company with such shady and monopolistic business practices with your personal and financial data — two of the online services they plan to offer? Sure, they have pretty good free email, but unless they can prove that their data and services are secure I wonder really how many people are going to use them. It’s all about trust.

Here’s an example: I was a very early Amazon.com user. I think I made my first purchase with them back in 1996 or 1997, long before the dot-com mania took hold. I was working for a small design and marketing firm at the time, and left the company unexpectedly, and happened to have an Amazon.com package enroute. Guess what? The package never arrived, or at least that’s what my former boss told me. I had my doubts, since I didn’t trust my boss at all, but I shrugged it off as a loss on my part. A day or two later I emailed Amazon’s customer service department to ask if they had any proof of delivery (this was before the automated UPS and FedEx tracking systems) and they told me that it had been delivered. I very politely explained the situation to them and they offered to ship a replacement order to me — free of charge. Wow, now that’s customer service! I have trusted Amazon.com with my personal info and credit card data ever since. Also, how many times have you ever heard of Amazon’s systems being cracked into? None? That’s probably true. The systems they store their data on must be very secure. Microsoft can’t say the same. I seems a week doesn’t go by without a report of Microsoft’s security being breached.

If Microsoft really wants to get into the services market, they absolutely must win the trust of their users. Otherwise, a future phrase I expect to hear a lot is “Hailstorm? Ha, that’s a joke. When it rains, it pours…”

Jim Warren says many of the same things I do, but with more detail.

Interesting. Apparently Microsoft has been changing the contents of the Hailstorm whitepaper as they go along. I don’t know what this means, but it’s interesting.

I really don’t like the new UI of Microsoft’s WindowsXP and .NET services. It’s too child-like. Almost too colorful and Fisher Price-y. I really have a hard time seeing this UI being used seriously by business executives. [via Scripting News]

Looking at some of the screenhots of WindowsX and the .NET services, I can’t help but to be reminded of the stuff Deepleap was doing.

Excellent article in Fast Company about customer service. Oh boy, I hope Microsoft is ready… [via Doc Searls]

Wiki: The Dumbing Down of Programming

I’m glad I am not part of the Frontier community anymore. Jim Roepcke eloquently describes the latest Dave Winer incident. Those who have had dealings with Winer in the past are not surprised. It’s kind of like companies who have been screwed by Microsoft. Would you do business with them again? Would you do business with Userland given the ugly nature and personality (in my opinion) of Dave Winer? With all due respect to Dave, who is a very smart man, I sometimes wonder if he realizes he’s doing himself more harm than good. When you ship a product that your customers pay for, treating them like crap and acting this way is yet another sign of a company that doesn’t understand the importance of customer service.

UnixInsider: A practical introduction to scripting the majority languages [via dangerousmeta]

Oh yeah. With all the news today I almost forgot to mention the rumors flying around about a possible merger between Organic and Razorfish.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at March 19, 2001 06:33 PM