Bonum Certa Men Certa

Another Take on the Microsoft/Novell Customer Satisfaction Survey

Customers choose vendor whom they trust. Trust has been the most major loss which resulted from the infamous deal. Confidence in the company/ies has, according to some sources, declined significantly.

It has been at last three weeks since the Microsoft/Novell survey was conducted and its results published as a joint press release from both companies. The survey, quite unsurprisingly given its conductors, showed that customers were largely enthusiastic about the deal. The intent of the survey was, quite evidently, to achieve acceptance among a wider audience, which may or may not be inspired by the remainder of the customers (the 'wisdom of the crowds' phenomenon).

The survey, however, contained many flaws. Whoever investigated the anatomy or method used in this study found it biased and self-serving. Among those who criticised the survey was Mary Jo Foley who, despite/owing to her excellent familiarity of/affiliation with Microsoft, could smell something funny. She pointed out various reasons and made observations which raised the readers' skepticism. She was only one among several people who took a look at the finer details of the study, rather than just focus on its bottom line, only to discover gaps and some mind-boggling facts, e.g. a third of those surveyes knew nothing about the deal at the time. To make matters worse, the survey, once investigated more profoundly, later revealed far more than initially intended. Essentially, it backfired.

There has been a worrisome lull on the matter in recent weeks. The interest levels have sunk and only the bottom line---however inaccurate---may be remembered. However, over the holidays, yet another interesting piece was published in ComputerWorld. To quote a fragment:

Now the folks who indicated they knew about the agreement weren't actually asked their opinion of it. Instead, the interviewer read a Microsoft-friendly synopsis of the agreement and asked if this was a good thing. Again, it's surprising that 9% of the respondents said no.

Fortunately, the marketplace seems to be seeing through this self-serving exercise. Gee, maybe Novell's marketing fiascos are now influencing Microsoft's - wouldn't that be a great legacy for this agreement!

Let's never forget what this survey should teach us. Rather than focus on some recent partnerships, we ought to remember that deceit which made some of it possible. Only honesty and trasnparency can earn trust in the long term.

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