In 2008, after a lifetime of using Microsoft Windows and Office products, I decided to see what all the excitement was about Apple, and bought a MacBook Pro. I loved it. Since then, I’ve added a 27-inch iMac, MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, iPads and iPhones. When a new version comes out, I typically upgrade, and sell the old version. They all hold their value so well.
Recently, I became interested in the new Windows 8.1. Despite a lot of criticism, I liked the highly visual design, and wanted to give it a try. I bought a used Thinkpad (X201) from CraigsList for under $200, with a fully functioning version of Windows 7, and Microsoft Office 2013. The system has a great battery life, and it’s tough to beat a Thinkpad keyboard. The system was good as new, and everything worked great.
Unfortunately, I decided to upgrade to Windows 8.1. I’ve installed a lot of operating systems over the years, but the install was even easier than I’d remembered. The Microsoft folks had done a great job of pulling me back in with the new design, and I actually began to consider using Windows machines for the first time in more than half a decade.
That’s about the time I noticed the Windows 8.1 install had wiped out Microsoft Office. The programs are gone, and I’m left with five non-functional icons on my desktop. A quick Google (not Bing) search produced a list of similar complaints. I decided to call Microsoft Tech-Support for help. That’s when things really got interesting.
A few years ago, I had a problem with one of the new iPhone releases. I took the malfunctioning phone into the Apple Store, armed with all the reasons they should bend the rules and replace my lemon. I explained what was going on, and why I was frustrated. Before I could finish, the guy asked me to wait for just a minute, went in the back, and came out with a fully functioning new phone. Simple as that. No stress, no hassle.
My phone call with three layers of Microsoft Support went differently. After about an hour on the phone, they simply transferred me to the Microsoft Store to buy another copy of Microsoft Office. You know, to replace the one that they broke with the Windows 8.1 install. One of the guys I talked to suggested I monitor CraigsList, and see if I could track down the guy that sold the Thinkpad. If I could only find him, and get either the disks or the serial number, I could reinstall.
I opted for Plan B. I like the Thinkpad, so I’m going to keep it. It has a huge battery life, and the keyboard is great for mega-typing sessions. But I’ve deleted any remnants (the icons) of Microsoft Office, and downloaded a really nice office suite from Apache Open Office (you should try it!). It does almost everything that the Microsoft’s suite does, and I just feel better about using it.
Finally, I felt the need to apologize publicly to Apple. I cheated. I knew it was wrong when I did it, but I did it anyway. I swear, it didn’t really mean anything. And I really hope you’ll take me back. I’ve seen the error of my ways, and I’m truly sorry. It won’t happen again…
And to Microsoft: Windows 8.1 was a good try. I personally like the tiles on the front screen, and don’t miss the Start Button. I think if people understood it better, they’d like it. Unfortunately, it’s like changing the dust cover on a book. The cover says “bestseller,” but what’s inside (flawed program, horrible service response) is just the same sad story. (OP 2/13/2014)