Friday, August 6, 2010

Why I'm No Fan of Microsoft

Once upon a time I was a "BIG" fan of Microsoft and their products. I got burned by them, left and never looked back. I'll spare you the details of why I was once a fan and will tell you why I no longer like Microsoft. This information is somewhat dated and Microsoft "may" have made some improvements, but I'm not looking back and could care less. I'd been and would be better off now if I had "NEVER" been a fan of Microsoft in the first place. I used to listen to the Microsoft detractors and share why I was a fan and maybe even encourage others to give Microsoft a chance. To any others whom I may have encouraged to use Microsoft and subsequently got burned too, please accept my apologies and regrets.

Microsoft was not involved in my initial programming experience, but along the way when I switched to IBM clone products because of their ubiquitousness in the work place I started playing with the Microsoft programming product that came freely with every IBM system because of the convenient access. I could generate code and test on any IBM computer without having to install any software. I also went back to college along the way and was "delighted" with the Microsoft student license pricing and convenience.

But then I returned to the workplace and began doing what I thought was some significant work that had potential to go somewhere. I had a small problem in that I was now doing this work with a Microsoft product that I only had a student license for.

The product worked well for me except I decided that it would probably be a good idea to get a valid commercial license just in case what I was working on got wings and really took off. This was in the very early days of Microsoft's Dot.Net products being advertised and released. What I was using worked fine and even though Bill Gates touted the Dot.Net product as allowing you to get your projects up and running faster and better than ever before, I didn't see a need to fix what was not broken and spend what was a lot of money for me to step up to the Dot.Net products.

I contacted Microsoft first in an attempt to upgrade my "student license" at cost of course. Microsoft would not do this for me since they had an interest in seeing users step up to Dot.Net. I then purchased what I needed over the internet "THREE" or "FOUR" times. Three or four times??? Yes. The product I needed arrived packaged and looking legitimate each time, BUT I scrutinized the EULA and the products "authenticity" with a fine tooth comb each time. All of them proved to be pirated versions that did not provide me with a valid license which was the whole reason for the purchase since I had a working product and only needed a legitimate commercial license so I could commercially offer what I was working on and not have Microsoft come back after the fact and tag me for not having my "i"s dotted and "T"s crossed.

Everyplace I purchased the pirated products from that had the appearance of legitimacy accepted their products back and gave me a full refund when I advised them the license agreement was not valid and did not provide what I needed.

Well, because of an obstinate Microsoft corporation that would not help me upgrade my student license to a commercial license, I finally bit the bullet and did what Microsoft wanted me to do and purchased the commercial version of Microsoft's Studio.Net suite. I think I paid in the neighborhood of $1200.00 for this back then which was a big chunk of money for a poor boy that really was just a "hobbyist" programmer even though he now had a computer science degree.

In only got worse from there. Bill Gates said you'd get your projects up and running faster and easier than ever before. Well Bill, that proved to be a "BIG LIE" from my point of view. Explanation follows...

I referred to myself as a hobbyist programmer even though I have a computer science degree. Well all the intricate details are a long story, but the short of it is I'm more of a commercial helicopter pilot with entrepreneurial interests in computer science than a professional programmer. My real job involved HEMS which provided me the time I needed to work on my hobby which I had high hopes for. For those of you that think helicopter pilots make "BIG MONEY", I started HEMS in 1990 with an annual salary less than 20K. I finished my career due to medical reasons in 2006 with a salary of only 52K. As a father of five with a stay at home mom for a wife the $1200.00 I paid for Dot.Net in 2001 tacked on with my brand new student loans was a big chunk of change.

I found the Dot.Net product to be a nightmare back then. I have no idea what it is like now and no desire to know. Here is my analogy of Dot.Net as it relates to my flying:
As a helicopter pilot and not a mechanic I have "NO" desire to have too assemble an engine just so I can go do a little flying. I don't mind doing my preflight inspection to make sure my aircraft is in an airworthy condition, but then all I want to do is crank and takeoff. If I had to assemble an engine each time I wanted to go fly, I doubt I would ever fly.

Likewise, as a coder that loves programming, I have no desire to assemble a "framework" just so I can do a little coding. Every time I tried to do anything with Dot.Net it was a nightmare trying to get anything to work properly much less my code. Microsoft provided technical support, but the money meter was running every time you utilized it. All of that may have been fine for a large company with the financial resources and support personnel to keep the Dot.Net product up and running and ready for a coder to write a little code. As a one man show I got pretty much burned out trying to get Dot.Net to where I could do a little coding without dealing with all the overhead problems. I experienced Dot.Net as the death of the hobbyist coder. I also put my programming and dreams on the shelf for a long, long time because of my Dot.Net horror story and Bill's false promises.

For all of you coders happy with your "student" licenses you better think twice if you're not planning on working for a larger company that will provide you with all you need to create "their" products.

For Bill Gates who put his word on "Get it done easier and faster than ever before with Dot.Net", you would if you are a man of your word, at a minimum sit down for a meal with this poor boy to discuss the issue. I'd even pickup the meal tab at the restaurant of my choice. At the maximum, you'd step up to the plate and become my venture angel. Yeah, fat chance either one of those two things will happen just like fat chance would have made my dreams come true.

Once upon a time I was a fan of Microsoft in spite of the plethora of detractors. Now I am no fan of Microsoft and have joined the ranks of their many detractors. If you are a coder that loves programming, do yourself a favor and seek other options besides Microsoft products.

Comments both pro and con Microsoft are welcome.


ps I'm not alone:


Post a Comment