Confession Is Good For The Soul (And, Bottom Line), Will Microsoft Ever Get This?

While many were thinking what they should do during the time that their Microsoft e-mail accounts were unavailable for 2 or more days of this week, I was thinking what the folks in Redmond would do about the problem, and if they would simply admit the problem was one of overload.

Since I have several accounts with the Hotmail and Live domain names, I do think that the problem is one that has been there for awhile, yet Microsoft seems to do nothing about it. They also are unwilling to admit it. This has been a problem for this company since the days I first became aware of it – around the release of DOS 3.3.  Microsoft has never been able to admit mistakes, and always waited until they were ‘outed’ by some third party to admit any knowledge of a problem.

Not only is this a bad process, it removes the wave of good will that would be generated by Microsoft’s confession of a mistake. The cost of this good will is small, and can not be overestimated. It can only be wondered whether, at each misstep, if the route of acknowledgement and apology was taken, how much larger a company Microsoft would be. Being open about mistakes might have averted the suits by the Department of Justice and the European Union, making the company transform from one reviled by many to one that everyone wished success.

It does appear that the die has been cast for the next few years, as Ballmer and crew remind many of the cast of villains from the Star Wars sagas. That role will be hard to transform, and it appears that no one in the top echelons wishes for the transformation. Imagine though, the difference in customer attitude between the average Vista owner now, and one where the customer has been sent a letter of apology, explaining what has gone wrong, what is being done about it, and the inclusion of some offer to both appease and bolster sagging sales for Microsoft, like the offer of Office 2007 or Vista flavor as a 2 for 1.

This would cost some revenue, but remember, had this course of action been followed since the days of DOS 3.3, the Microsoft legal department could most likely be counted in the tens instead of the thousands.