After I posted about my challenges navigating Microsoft licences I received further contact from Microsoft via twitter (@Windows7AU) with the name of a person to contact directly at Microsoft (Michael). Michael seemed much more motivated to help me than anyone I’d spoken to up to that point. Not only that, he even called me back as promised (more than I’d experienced up to that point).
Unfortunately, the news Michael had for me was not great. Since I had bought an “Anytime Upgrade” (just a product key in a box) not a plain old “Upgrade” (which comes with a disc), the technical guys told him there was nothing that could be done. If only I had bought an Upgrade (which do, of course, cost about A$40 more). Although JB Hifi had specifically told me that they could not take returns of software that had been open, Michael at Microsoft encouraged me to try, saying that JB could return the Anytime Upgrade to their distributor and that he was happy to speak to them to smooth the way.
JB Hifi fortunately obliged and so, forty odd dollars and another trip up the road later, I was able to “upgrade” Home Premium to Home Premium. Of course I ended up paying more than I would have done had I simply purchased an Anytime Upgrade right at the start, but having installed a fair amount of additional software and tweaked the setup to my liking, I really could face wiping everything and starting again (not to mention the fact that I’d have ended up paying more on my monthly data bill anyway).
For me the most interesting thing about the whole experience, apart from the challenges of licenced software (and to all those advocating the use of Linux instead, I have also been battling with installing eeebuntu on an SD card for the same machine, but that’s another story), is the power of twitter. I managed to get much better service from Microsoft by posting here and communicating with @Windows7AU on twitter than I did by calling phone support.
If you go into a shop and jump up and down making a fuss, you are likely to have your problems addressed as your performance may be bad for business, putting other customers off. If you ring a call centre and make a fuss, no-one else knows what’s going on. Social media like blogs and twitter allow you to tilt that balance back in your favour!
Thank you to Michael at Microsoft and @Windows7AU for smoothing the way for me.