People are mad at Microsoft. Of course, there have always been haters, but recently Microsoft has turned even some of their most loyal and dedicated advocates into angry mobs. This didn’t happen because of one bad decision, or even a couple of boneheaded moves. The fury was set off by frequent and repetitive disregard for the customers, their needs, their desires, and their cries for change. Here are the mistakes Microsoft has made that your app developers need to avoid in order to build a large and dedicated customer base.
1. Don’t Secretly Put Stuff on Their Devices
Hogging users’ memory and data plans won’t earn their trust and loyalty.
One of the most recent incidents that set off a media firestorm of Microsoft bashing was the realization that Microsoft had secretly installed huge files containing Windows 10 upgrade data on machines that were not slated for an upgrade to the new OS. In some cases, Microsoft’s updates caused users to go over on their data plans, racking up extra charges for customers, some of whom could ill afford to pay. Additionally, the space these files consume take a chunk out of the memory users need for their own files. Users are angry, and so should they be. Don’t fill up users’ devices and gobble up their data plans without their consent.
2. Don’t Keep Charging Them for a One-Time Thing
Microsoft has talking heads spewing the party line, “Windows 10 is a huge milestone for us as a company, and quite frankly, the industry.” In reality, what Windows 10 is a milestone for is the industry’s move from selling a customer products to leasing the same products. No longer will users be able to buy their OS and forget about it for several years. In order to get a full range of services, they’ll be paying month after month after month … well you get it. Users won’t like this. Don’t keep charging your users over and over for what you can charge once and be done with.
3. Don’t Give Them What You Think They Need Instead of What They Think They Need
What went wrong with Windows 8? After all, that’s basically the same type of OS that’s popular for smartphones and tablets. The problem is, it is absolutely useless to the majority of users who must do useful work on their machines, such as creating documents, managing spreadsheets, producing presentations, etc. The touchscreen format simply doesn’t work for those functions like a keyboard and mouse setup. Microsoft couldn’t understand that the strong sales for mobile touchscreen devices has nothing to do with people changing how they work — it’s a completely new demographic in addition to the traditional computer user. Listen to your customers or prepare to lose them.
4. Be Careful How You Treat Your Rivals
Microsoft has been associated with antitrust issues since the 1990’s. Rivals don’t trust them and partners don’t trust them, so it was only a matter of time until that mistrust trickled down to the users. Being the bully may earn you their fear, but it will never earn you their respect, admiration, trust, and affection.
5. Give ‘Em Something for Free
What are you providing your customers without any charges?
Microsoft’s competitors like Google and Yahoo! offer their customers lots of incredibly valuable stuff for free. Where would the world be without Google Maps and Google Search and Yahoo! News or Yahoo! Mail? Microsoft gives nothing away for free. While Apple isn’t as generous as Google, it does provide numerous free products to schools, which is a valuable community service in an era when schools are hard pressed to afford basic necessities like copy paper and cleaning supplies. Don’t be the penny-pinching old miser. Be the cool guy giving out the awesome free stuff. Then people will love you enough to fork out for your other products (think Android — the most popular smartphone platform by far).
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Simon has worked in the software industry for over 20 years; intent on always producing work of the highest standard and creating software products that genuinely makes things better for people. Simon has previously held positions ranging from Developer, Technical Consultant, Head of Development through to CTO and more recently founder and CEO of several high profile technology companies.