Monthly Archives: June 2011

It Took Five Techs Four Hours to Network Two Computers: Why does Microsoft allow this to happen, and are they paying a price for it?

My LAN connecting my XP laptop to my Windows 7 workstation was working perfectly. But I had to go mess it up by wiping clean my Laptop hard drive and installing Windows 7. My software all installed more or less smoothly, and I was ready to go – but I couldn’t network. Hey, I couldda crawled under my desktop on my hands and knees every time I left on a trip to plug in my flash drive and sneakernet files, but I’m getting old(er). I couldda used LogMeIn from my destination when I needed something, but Microsoft always does some upgrade or other that shuts down my workstation. LogMeIn goes, “knock, knock.” But no one’s home.

So I did the desperate thing and called MS. Five minutes and problem resolved, right? No, five techs, including two from their network SWAT team, and problem still not resolved. Until the last one, sweating hard, finally fixed it – four hours later. From a customer relations standpoint, total disaster. From a process efficiency standpoint, total disaster. Unusual? Maybe on the outer edge, but well within the range of what MS can (or can’t do).

So what’s the cost to MS – other than throwing away money on decreasingly less-than expensive labor? In terms of Windows and Office, I think none. At least not now. But whenever MS strays outside their monopoly markets, swat. Customers are going to slap them down. I don’t think it’s hurting them now other than wasting labor money. But where I believe it will kill them is doing anything outside of what they do now – and even stuff they currently do outside their bailiwick.

Can Traditionally Structured Airlines Become Customer-Centric, or Do They Have to “Break the Model First?”

Southwest Airlines broke the model while organizing and has stayed customer-focused ever since. Tellingly, however, when Southwest initiated service in several congested major airports (instead of secondary airports), its vaunted on-time arrival numbers took a whack. Is that because operating out of major airports “unbroken” the mold?

Several Asian airlines have achieved significant levels of customer-centricity seemingly within the traditional model. But perhaps East vs. West cultural differences gave them a route Western airlines can’t take.

What I’m driving at here is I can’t see any possibility American Airlines, Air France/KLM, British Airways, Delta, United et. al. can migrate very far towards customer-centricity. Before merging with united, Continental tried, but at the first sign of economic adversity folded back to the norm.