Wednesday 24 October 2007

Business Principles: AMD Drops the Ball...

A while back, we were quite excited about heading down to Calgary to attend the AMD Microsoft Retail Tour (previous blog post).

One thing we were looking forward to was the bonus bundle:

Keystone - Ultimate Experience Bundle Offer

At that time, the pictured Windows Vista Ultimate in FPP (Fully Packaged Product - Retail) seemingly made the bonus bundle a very attractive option for us.

The tour itself was okay, with a lot of the information from Microsoft being a rehash of information on the 2007 version products being released or soon to be released.

The information from AMD was along the lines of what we were expecting as well. With the new Intel Core 2 line of processors wresting the performance crown away from AMD for the first time in 5 years, the information was a little on the iffy side as far as processor comparison charts and the like.

So, a question to you: Given your experience attending Microsoft and possibly Intel conferences and seminars of various sorts, what product license version of Vista Ultimate would you be expecting when the bonus bundled arrived?

If you have attended any type of vendor/manufacturer/supplier conference, you would probably answer FPP - Retail. Why? Because, in all of our experience, that is the only product licensing type we have ever seen being given away.

So, imagine our surprise when the bundle arrived and we had received an OEM version of Windows Vista Ultimate NFR.

Why does OEM NFR not work for an I.T. shop? Because, a desktop system does not last long in our organization. Once it goes out the door, it is gone. OEM licenses are not transferable to the new system owners. Our clients that purchase those systems are also purchasing a new OEM license with it. And, they activate the OS based on the new OEM license they purchased.

That is why we purchase FPP - Retail product and Open Value SA to augment our MAPS licensing for our internal desktop OSs. OEM does not make sense for us.

Our response was to send a note to the marketing company that sponsored the bundle: Keystone.

Part of the response from Keystone:
This offer is only available to either (A) a system builder or reseller of Microsoft software, or (B) an employee of a Microsoft retail partner. Complete eligibility details available at time of purchase.

As you will note, it does indicate that the packaging may vary from the picture. I thank you, in advance, for your understanding of this matter.
Unfortunately, there is no polite way to respond to the second line in the response.

So, we replied to Keystone and CCd AMD:
[We] have a beef with regards to the AMD/Microsoft TechTour bonus bundle. The images show Vista FPP and the description offers NFR for Vista. The general assumption, given previous Microsoft conference experience - they always give out FPP - is that we would receive a Fully Packaged retail NFR version. Instead, we received an OEM/OEI Vista Ultimate copy.

The caveat listed below the picture of the products, "Packaging may vary from picture", in my opinion does not cover the difference between OEM and FPP product. It covers whatever the product COMES in.

Given the fact that this is our first venture back into AMD product territory in over five years - we were burned very badly by a string of bad AMD based product - it is not boding well for AMD.

An OEM - NFR tag on the coupon for the Vista Ultimate product would have been the best way to describe it, and also would have resulted in a No-Sale as the deal would no longer appear to be one.

The OEM - NFR tag would have made things a lot more straight forward, as the message would have been, "This is the exact product you are getting" as opposed to, "This is the product you may be getting - or not getting".

I personally do NOT like this kind of advertising. As a business owner, our company being Microsoft Small Business Specialists, we take great care to make sure that our clients know exactly what they are getting. There are no caveats in our descriptions.

Please advise me as to how you want to proceed.


Philip Elder MCP
President & CEO
AMD responded that the presenter would have mentioned that the Vista Ultimate would be an OEM copy. Both my colleague and I did not hear that as we were avidly listening during the portion of the presentation that focused on the bundle.

What could we do? We followed up with the AMD representative and let them know that all was forgiven. In response, they in turned promised to rectify the situation after coming back from a vacation break. They only asked that we send them a reminder to do so after they were back.

We sent three reminders over three weeks and nothing happened.

It is unfortunate that the AMD did not follow through on their commitment to make things right.

We all know the cliché: "The customer is always right".

And, as small I.T. shop owners, this is even more true. There are times where we need to bite the bullet and make things right with our client ... even if it costs us.

There is nothing more damaging to a business' reputation than a cranky former client/customer ... as this blog post can attest to. ;)

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.

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