Microsoft truly hates its customers (or gives a flying f**k about them)

Recently my Hotmail account on Outlook stopped working. I got various messages (I think Microsoft just makes them up) but the most common ones were:

Task ‘AG Hotmail’ reported error (0x8DE00005) : ‘There is an error synchronizing your mail account. Please verify your account is configured correctly by first accessing your mail on the web. Error: 3219. Server. An error occured in looking up the user’s information in mserv. ‘

Task ‘AG Hotmail’ reported error (0x8004102A) : ‘Error with Send/Receive. There was an error synchronizing your folder hierarchy. Error : 80041004.’

I spent hours spread over several days trying to fix the problem. I Googled extensively and tried practically every solution that was suggested including a clean boot, deleting and recreating the account in Outlook, reinstalling, repairing and many more. Nothing worked. Of course, in the process I lost all my Hotmail messages from Outlook, although I could read them online (which is a pain). Finally, I wrote up a question on answers.microsoft.com and received this tip:

When you login to your mailbox via the web, do you see “Preview” in the top-left corner? If so, it means your mailbox got migrated to the new Office 365 platform for Outlook.com.

What!?! Anyway, turns out that “I have been migrated”. Scary sounding, isn’t’ it? I am sure some message appeared in Hotmail that warned me that I was being migrated, but I didn’t take it seriously. And why should I? Let Microsoft upgrade, migrate, find new businesses, just let me do my work, OK? Well, I was very, very wrong. Read on…

Anyway, that tip led me to a page describing Outlook migration changes. There I learned that I needed to recreate the account with a connection to the Microsoft Exchange server. I went ahead and did that, thinking it would be seamless – but that would be too much to expect from Microsoft, right? After a couple of error messages and repeating every step, I was finally able to do the needful. As I write this, Outlook is resynchronizing my account and some emails have appeared.

But the saga is not over yet. Apparently the process makes the Hotmail account and data file the default. So it is like a “first time use” of Outlook. What does that mean you ask? Well, for one thing, it destroyed all my rules! Not only that, some rules no longer work because of some change in the software.  Luckily I had a backup of the rules from a couple-three of months ago. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of completely reorganizing my rules and had made major changes a few weeks ago – all those were lost. As I connect with people, I add them to my whitelist, and all those people I had connected with over the last three months are gone from the whitelist! Another few hours of unproductive time as I fix that (Grrrrr!).  Not Microsoft’s fault, of course, but then what do they care? A company that cares about its customers would have explained the whole process and warned about the loss of data. My Hotmail account is rarely used (one need not wonder why), and I could easily have done without it or checked email on the web rather than put up with this!

There’s more, but in the interests of brevity, I’ll stop ranting here and just say this:

  • Why don’t the programmers and product guys at Microsoft understand that we don’t want upgrades? We’d rather have stability. I really don’t have time to fix all the problems you create for customers.
  • Continuing with that thought, Microsoft Office, of which Outlook is a part is supposed to be “Office Productivity Software”. Instead, it eats up days at a time, with some arcane bug or the other. I really, really beg for an alternative. (And no Google Docs doesn’t cut it, unfortunately).
  • I am pretty adept on the computer, having used Windows since 3.1, but what about the poor souls (like my wife) who aren’t really into technology? Why should they have to put up with loss of data, loss of time, loss of money and extreme frustration because of Microsoft’s inability or unwillingness to care about it’s customers.
  • This is just one example of the exasperating problems that Microsoft creates for its users. In its other software and even in the Operating System there are tons of more examples. Of features that don’t work right, or don’t work logically, or are simply counter-intuitive.

Microsoft really needs to sit and observe customers who extensively use its software and learn to not infuriate them. I could have a dedicated blog just describing my daily frustrations with Microsoft.

So, this was long overdue Microsoft joins the list of #CompaniesWhoHateTheirCustomers

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One Response to Microsoft truly hates its customers (or gives a flying f**k about them)

  1. voidlizard says:

    So good job, Microsoft. You’ve hijacked the software of a long time customer and made it unusable. If you think this is the way to get me to buy Office 360, you’re wrong.

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