T-Mobile. The Un-Carrier. This company, led by it’s uncool CEO, John Legere, claims to be different. And, in a few regards, that is true. They led the march to do away with subsidies and contracts. Getting rid of the contracts was a good thing. However, the replacement plans by T-Mobile and the others leave little to be desired. This company also bills itself as having a fast, reliable network. That’s debatable. In the Richmond, Virginia area, anyway, they are spotty—despite having PINK all over the area map. Speeds are so-so. They also advertise the binge-on program where you can consume all of the video streaming, from a select few services, and won’t affect your data or speed. What they fail to say is that you need specific plans to qualify. Lastly, the ‘Get Thanked Tuesdays’ promotion only applies to certain customers—i.e. those who have Android or iOS devices and those not on prepaid plans. If you have a Windows Phone/Mobile, Blackberry or other device or you have those and are on a pre paid plan, you are out of luck. No thanks on Tuesdays or any other day. (To be fair, they did try to make up for it by giving me a credit, free pizza and, in last Tuesday’s event, they texted me the codes—but did not mention I had to use them right away. My fault there, though, it is in the rules.) The no hoops, hurdles and strings mantra does not apply if you use anything but iOS or Android.
Apple. Another company that loves to dump on its customers. But, Apple, at least, makes you feel good about getting dumped on. Hell, it’s a PRIVILAGE. This company has, for the most part, products that, if from any other company, would put you to sleep. But, they slap that stupid logo on them, charge a mint and invite you into these sterile, wood and glass stores, and attempt to make you feel like you OWE them a purchase. What’s really odd…and lame…is the uniforms the employees wear…..JEANS and BLUE T-SHIRTS. What the hell is that? You want me to pay two grand for a computer, I’m in what is supposed to look like a high-end store, and the person who is assisting me is dressed as if he or she was playing kick ball on a school lunch break? Seriously? And what’s up with that stupid watch?
Microsoft. OH MY LORD. This company makes it damn near impossible to like. Everything I have liked, from the Zune to Windows Mobile 10 to Windows 10 itself, has had features removed, been crippled in some way or out right cancelled. I don’t’ need to say anything about Zune…its dead and so is my 30gb player. So, I’ll move on…to Windows Mobile 10. Now, a few years ago, MS bought Nokia’s phone business. And promptly drove it into the ground. They released Windows Mobile 10 by gutting many of the nice features of Windows Phone 8, including stability, reliability and many, many features like the hubs. Now, the company says they are removing features because no one uses them, like FM Radio and the Kids Corner. Guess what? I DO! This is the same reason they removed Media Center from Desktop Windows. Guess what? I used that too. Now, Microsoft is further limiting another of its once great products: OneDrive. They lured you in with tons of free online storage, then cut it all out but 5gb (like Apple) but you could still do a lot. Now, that is being limited as well. You cannot use it to share files a lot or share large files. I guess they are getting hammered for bandwidth. I don’t care, they opened the door and invited us in, now they want to boot us out after an hour. Why should I bother at all? They did this with remote sharing as well. They killed off a terrific photography tool, photosynth. Their OneCare was great, they killed it. Windows Mobile has the potential to still be great, even with all of the neutering but, it, too, will languish. That’s what this company does best.
Honorable Mention: GOOGLE. Man, I could rant for days, but I’m not. Suffice it to say that I will likely be forced to use Android again. I don’t like Android, but my distaste for iOS is worse than my dislike of Android. One last thing, Google is far worse than Microsoft when it comes to product support and growth. Just look at the Google dead product grave yard.
This may sound like sour grapes, and to some extent, it is. I’ve been burned a lot by these and other companies. However, the problems stated here affect more than just myself. In the case of Apple, the deception costs real money. In the case of Microsoft, it’s not only money, but a lot of frustration as well. This company needs to stop its practice of introducing things, getting you hooked and then either taking them away or severely handicapping them. It has really made me re-think my whole Microsoft affinity.
So, what great Android phones are out there? I need a good, non-Apple replacement for my Zune too. My Zune HD is starting to have problems and I don’t know how much longer Windows will run the Zune software. I want a dedicated MP3 player, I don’t like using my phone for media. Lastly, what online storage solutions are out there that are low cost or free and are unfettered?