They Mess Up, I Pay

I think I now know the secret to infinite wealth, or at least a part of it. A Microsoft product that I use started giving me problems. While searching for a fix I found this message on their web site.

“A supported hotfix is now available from Microsoft …(snip)… If you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 service pack that contains this hotfix. To resolve this problem immediately, contact Microsoft Customer Support Services to obtain the hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Support Services telephone numbers and information about support costs, visit the following Microsoft Web site…(snip)”

I could not download the hotfix on that page or anywhere else. So if I understand this correctly, the hotfix is available at no cost when it gets added to a service pack, which may come out months from now, but I need to pay for it (or rather for the support call) if I want to fix the problem immediately.

When it suits itself Microsoft goes ahead and makes Windows automatically download a hotfix, install it and even reboot my computer. And here they cannot give me a link to download the hotfix and fix the problem myself. I need to cough up the dough to fix a problem they created or wait for months for them to hand it to me for free.

As a software developer I am disgusted at this kind of behaviour. As long as software is written by humans, there will always be bugs and goof-ups. The least that a developer can do is take accept responsibility, come up with a solution and offer it to the user for free.

Ironically, as I type this I can see the familiar Windows icon of a yellow shield in my task bar. Hovering the mouse over it shows me the message: “Updates are ready for your computer. Click here to install these updates.