Windows 8.1

After a long day debugging access to Windows App store, spent the night downloading Windows 8.1 to my primary workstation.  A risk I know.  I typically download and test on another system first.  However, since I’ve been migrating work to Office365 Small Business I’ve less content to worry about losing, so I can focus on the applications that are on my desktop.  Sad to report Sony Movie Studio and Pinnacle Movie studio applications hang now and do not get past the startup splash.  I’ll remove and reinstall to see if 8.1 install corrupted any files, later today.

In the meantime, lost of IE add-ons no longer work, but the browser has sped up.  The UI is not much different and the “start button” in the lower left corner is interesting but I find I’m not using it much.  What will be more impressive is when/if Office applications become fully integrated into the new UI/UX.  In the meantime this weekend I’ll get back to book and office remodel

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Windows 8.1 Update and App Store: Microsoft’s Devices and Services strategy -weakness indicator

A week after Microsoft Level 1 help called and escalated to Level 2 with a scheduled callback for same day between 2pm -4pm, still can’t reach Microsoft App store.  Figured I’d upgrade to Windows 8.1 as inference was it would fix the problem while waiting for a callback.  Small problem; Upgrade to 8.1 links you to Windows 8.1 app store which doesn’t work.  Hmmm guest they’re really not interested in the Small and Medium Business market as much as the profess or readiness is an issue.

WIndowsStoreError

Over the past several weeks I’ve been tracking the various vendors: Microsoft, Apple Google, and Amazon as far as service quality; part of my Industry Analyst and IT Service Management (ITSM) background**.  A strong component of that is incident handling.  While uptime the customer experiences is the most important metric, handling a response in a timely manner is likely number two on the priority list, closely followed by customer communication.  Based upon that criteria Microsoft readiness to fulfill it’s new Business Strategy of Devices and Services is lacking.  Or may be Small and Medium Business (SMB) is just not the demographic it is going for now; instead using SMB as a buffer to its large enterprise customer business, as large enterprise is now in a transformation to Bring your own Device (BYOD) and virtual working, despite the fallback of Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard to an “on campus” policy.

On the flipside I can see why Apple is able to charge premium rates for products and services.  The AppleCare service representatives my wife and I talked with over the course of two weeks to resolve contact syncing issues, ICloud setup, and updating her IPhone to the new OS were impressive.  They continually pushed to ensure their systems and product issues were resolved, scheduling calls, and calling back numerous times throughout the week.   It looks like they are using consumer service as a training ground for moving to Enterprise Services.  If they make a move into enterprise services, they are likely to become the Mercedes-Benz or BMW in the market.  If Apple become the BMW of services, Amazon is likely to take on the role of Toyota or GM role, leaving Microsoft in the Ford, Nissan, or Chrysler position as it works out its ITSM issues.  Between Amazon and Apple, Microsoft is going to have a significant challenge is the services business if all they do is focus on the technology side the equation.

**yes, I event keep response records for the IT support I give my wife throughout the year and track support hours using QuickBooks -though she doesn’t get an invoice from me.  I might have to reconsider that some day 🙂

Windows 8 UI/UX and other service delivery issues

Had Windows 8 support reach out to me on Saturday to fix Windows App store issues.  After about an hour of the support rep. remotely managing my system, he escalated to level 2.  They scheduled a call for between 2-5 same day.  However, no reply call came. I expect they are pouring over the several system reports level 1 created to figure out the problem.  Interestingly enough, wife’s new Windows 8 laptop is now having the same problem:  Have internet connectivity as indicated by Outlook and IE browsing, but Store App reports no Internet access.  Been looking at the various forums and chat rooms since; seems to be a common problem emerging.

In the meantime after the last automatic windows update several of my applications do not load now.  These are mostly video applications: Sony Movie Studio Platinum 12 and Pinnacle Studio 16.  These were working the past year before the update, so I expect whatever crunch Windows App store may have also zapped my video applications.  Not going to be too happy if I have to rebuild the system again to fix this.   I can see why average end users, outside of Redmond, are not upgrading and switching to services like Google and closed systems like Apple.   Something’s broken in the design and delivery system.  I expect one of the causes maybe Microsoft’s success; the fact that there are some many products now and configurations, its hard to keep control of it all.  Justification for having Enterprise Architects and Configuration Management Databases (CMDB) and focusing on IT Service management (ITSM).

I was going to work on building a Server today, however, I think my time is going to be better served developing my own ITSM system for my home infrastructure.  Well at least MS Access works, so I’ll start inventorying my hardware and software this week.  Maybe I should consider starting an ITSM service for small business as I don’t see Office365 filling that role either; there are other critiques that point out that Office does not cover all of the office functions people do.  I was disappointed that Business Contract Manager and MS Accounting products were deprecated as they had almost enough functionality when integrated with the rest of Office to create a working small business infrastructure.