While catching up on the latest tech news last night, I came across a post that said Microsoft had acquired HockeyApp. My first thought was this is a joke. I immediately went to the HockeyApp blog site and, lo and behold, it is not a joke. Microsoft did acquire HockeyApp.
This news left me with mixed feelings. First, I’m happy for the folks at HockeyApp. I’ve been a long time user of HockeyApp, and I feel they have the best solution for beta app distribution and crash reporting. The acquisition is further proof that HockeyApp is an outstanding solution. Yet at the same time it saddens me that HockeyApp is now in the hands of Microsoft.
It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Microsoft. That wasn’t always the case. I used to love the technology coming out of Redmond, so much so that I worked for nearly 4 years for a consulting company co-owned by Microsoft whose initial purpose was to promote and showcase Microsoft technologies in the enterprise. But around 2005 I started feeling like Microsoft technologies were heading in the wrong direction and, by this time I was working for myself, I stopped recommending Microsoft technologies to clients. I also began transitioning my skill set to other non-Microsoft technologies. By the end of 2008 I was done working in the Microsoft world, a decision that I don’t regret one bit.
In 2010 my dislike for Microsoft became a bit more personal when an accounting mistake caused during the merger of billing systems after a Microsoft acquisition resulted in a collection agency calling me on behalf of Microsoft. I talk in detail about what happened here and here, and thanks to the first post being picked up on Hacker News the matter was eventually resolved. Still, I was left with a stronger dislike of Microsoft.
The combination of my lacking faith in Microsoft technologies and poor customer service experiences1 drove me away from Microsoft world, and in 2010 I made conscious decision to stop giving my money to Microsoft unless there is absolutely no other option2. I’m fully aware that my decision to stop buying Microsoft products and services has zero impact on Microsoft. Also I don’t view Microsoft as an evil empire or a horrible company, and not everything about Microsoft sucks. Heck, they are doing some really neat things these days. But based on my past experiences, Microsoft is not a company I want to do business with today.
It boils downs to a personal preference, much like my preference to shop at Target instead of Wal-mart or to buy from a locally owned store before buying from a national store or online. And this is why Microsoft’s acquisition of HockeyApp saddens me. A product I love is now in the hands of a company I choose to not do business with, and this means I need to think long and hard about whether or not I will continue using HockeyApp when my subscription comes up for renewal in October.
I know there are individuals at Microsoft who really care about and do provide outstanding customer service, and there are consumers and businesses out there that have had nothing but great experiences dealing with Microsoft. But my own personal experiences dealing with Microsoft have been less than ideal. ↩
When writing my books my publisher required I submit my manuscripts in Word documents, so I ended up buying a copy of Microsoft Word. Also I do enjoying playing video games on my Xbox, so Microsoft does get a bit of my money from time to time. But in general I have stopped buying Microsoft products and services. ↩