Camera Lucida

September 24, 2006

What is wrong with corporate America

Filed under: Society, Software, Uncategorized — CL @ 6:48 pm

At a weblog called The Old New Thing, one of the MSDN weblogs, the author had this to say in a post dated August 2003 about how Microsoft responded to a complaint about its time zone map. Its response highlights a significant problem with how corporate America responds to adversity.

The Peruvian government complained to Microsoft that the border was incorrectly placed. Of course, if we complied and moved the border northward, we’d get an equally angry letter from the Ecuadorian government demanding that we move it back. So we removed the feature altogether.

Why in the hell would Microsoft worry about a complaint from Peru? The best response to that complaint would have been to ignore it completely. The next best reaction would have been a polite comment that “We do not attempt to ensure that this map is entirely up to date at all times”. It was a time zone map, after all, not a world atlas. But removing the feature altogether was the worst possible response. A feature that was useful to tens of millions of users across the world is removed because a couple of people in Peru made a complaint? This is an example of corporate wimpitude of the highest order.

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