Hi Charles,
Thanks. I truly appreciate that. However, it really all comes down to
a fundimental difference in goals here.
When I started USA Games I had no desires to make millions in sales,
to be a ritch fat cat,  and always have done my best to treat my
customers as real people instead of just a consumer.  Part of that
comes from the fact I mainly write these games as a hobby, for fun,
and only want to make a little extra money to keep the company going
and to pay for a few things I may need personally. The other reason is
that I was raised to believe in the motto to "treat others as you
would have them treat you" type outlook on life. Of course, I slip
sometimes, certainly am not perfect, but as a whole I don't believe in
treating people unfairly or unjustly just to turn an extra buck or
two.  I am not so far above the rest of the members on this list that
I can't understand their own needs, wants, desires, and often have the
same problems they do with mainstream society. Therefore I am in touch
with my customers on a personal level, and can not treat them as
worthless peons.
With a company like Microsoft the people who have a controling
interest in the company such as Bill Gates and Stephen Jobs are making
millions of dollars daily. Not yearly, but on a daily basis. It is so
much wealth it is obscene. Even when they donate some of that wealth
to donations they get huge tax breaks, and just make it back in a few
days anyway.  So the fact they are making that kind of money and
continue to do so really makes you wonder if money is the one and only
thing they think about.
Now, how are they making that kind of money? Of course, the answer is
simple. They charge a lot for the software, far more than they need
to, and use restrictive licensing like you must properly license a
copy of Windows for each and every computer you own. So if you have 10
computers in your office you must purchase a total of 10 licenses of
Windows for those systems when one license should be enough.  They do
offer discounts for large numbers of site licenses, but it still gets
to be pretty expensive.
If that wasn't enough Microsoft charges for tech support. So depending
on your level of tech support needs you could be running up your
credit card getting help from them on Windows 7, Office 2007,
Microsoft money, whatever.  So the lack of frree technical support
means whatever you buy from them will cost even more money if you need
technical support.
If you are a game developer and you happen to want to support their
XBox 360 console prepare to pay for it through the nose.  You have to
purchase the XBox version of the XNA Studio, pay royalties to use the
XBox which runs into the thousands, and even after all that MGS,
Microsoft Game Studios, must approve your title before they will allow
you to redistribute it commercially for their platform. As with Sony's
Play Station the XBox is well out of the financial range of a small
time developer like me. They are probably making millions off of that
platform from third-party developers, and I can't pay that kind of
So when you really come down to it most of their customers are just
peons. A bunch of nameless, faceless, customers who just happen to be
handing Microsoft money hand over fist. As long as that kind of money
keeps coming in it is just business as usual. Worse they constantly
try and find ways to cut an even larger part of the market without too
much expense. It is easy for them to say, "who cares about the
individual when they have millions and don't know the person or need
his/her money?"


On 5/12/10, Charles Rivard <woofer...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> These corporations treat their call center employees the same as they treat
> the competition and the customer.  It's a dog eat dog corporate war, and the
> American people are the dog food.  At the credit card call center I used to
> work at, the management always said that the employee is the backbone of our
> company, and we responded, "Then quit breaking your back!"  They said that
> we have to look at the "big picture; the entire window."  We pointed out
> that a lot of big pictures are, after all, comprised of very small pieces
> that make the whole stronger, so how about taking care to retain that
> strength by taking good care of those little pieces?"
> Tom:  As far as USA Games Entertainment goes, thanks for taking care of the
> little pieces; the customers.  Keeping us up to date on the current
> development of your games, keeping contact in a personal way as far as
> answering questions, and continuing to work on games that weren't even yours
> to begin with.
> How's that for a way to get from politics back to gaming?  By the way, I
> didn't throw that in just to get back on topic.  I meant it.

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