It's been a long time since I looked at Microsoft's support policies. I know you don't get support from MS for an OEM version, they tell you to get support from the computer manufacturer for that. Which of course, is a roundabout way of saying there is no support. But do you get any support for the boxed retail versions of MS software?
Yes, for a certain period of time. After that, as you might expect, there are various options, none of them particularly cheap.
Or is a pay-per-incident-get-your-credit-card-ready-and-have-those-serial-numbers-re ady type support?
After the initial period, yes. Or, I think, you can pay for a support contract.
Now, many users never use the free support. I don't recall exactly how it works, but several times, I've had a problem with, say Windows 2000. I remember in particular a stubborn installation problem. The MS technician stayed on the phone with me for several hours, waiting for the computer to finish its rebooting so we could see if it worked. and it didn't, then she had me try something else. I had the feeling she was doing her nails.
(But she was right there when we were actually talking.)
I think the problem may have been a disk drive partition problem, you know, the old limit....
The free support period starts, not when you buy the software, I think, but when you first call. There might be a limit to that, I'm not sure.
Years ago (1995) I got some support for a problem I was having with Excel on a Sharp Win 3.1 laptop (circa 1995). At that time, MS phone support was free for the first 3 calls, I think. And the help I got was very good, it solved my problem in one phone call. But that was then, how is it now?
I think it is reasonably good. Support is expensive. "Shop time" for a tech might be -- if s/he's in the U.S. -- $40 per hour or so. (Shop time includes management overhead, etc.) I think that the techs spent perhaps 3 hours with me just on that issue. I didn't pay that much for the software! (It was an upgrade from NT).
I have used MS Knowledge Base support ever since I knew of it, and can usually get what I need from it. It's good that the MS KB exists and is free to use. But it takes a great deal of patience to wade through the search results to find your actual problem and solution. And sometimes it isn't there.
My point is that if the only support you get for boxed retail MS products is pay-per-incident, then that does not represent a higher support cost to MS. Just more profit for them.
No, it is as you remember. Their support costs might, in fact, be so much higher on the retail product, that they make more profit on the much cheaper OEM. In fact, that makes sense.... They sell many more OEM versions because one comes with most computers sold, and most people buy computers that way.
Oh, did I mention this is now the Abdul & Ivan List, and we also dabble in Protel? ;-) Sorry for the verbosity, folks. This is the last message I'll post on this topic for awhile. I'll let Abdul have the last word if he wants to. Take it away, Abdul...
Sure. Thanks. By the way, I do tend to write voluminously, but the mail still is only one line in your inbox. You are *not* required to read my mail! (Normally I won't be writing as much as in the last few days.... this is more like the old days....)
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