Microsoft has been in the news lately for problems in its products and services, and the anti-Microsoft crowd is getting whipped into a frenzy over their chance to pillory their adversary. Over the last two weeks of December, the Xbox Live service, Microsoft’s online gaming service, experienced glitches as an “unprecedented” number of new subscribers signed up. These glitches have prompted a class action lawsuit as well as a preliminary offer by Microsoft to give all subscribers a free game from its Xbox Live Arcade.

Xbox Live Woes Prompt Class Action Suit Against Microsoft (Wired)

Microsoft Giving Xbox Live Users a Free Game (Slashdot)

This news comes on the heels of an Office Service Pack that Microsoft put out, which disabled the ability to save and open up older file formats. Microsoft originally reported that the change was a result of the insecure nature of these file formats, but it retracted that assertion and stated that it was the code in Office that opens those older formats that was insecure. Microsoft has since apologized and put out tools that make opening up Office for older formats available, but plenty of damage has already been done.

Microsoft Office Drops Support For Older File Formats (Wired)

Microsoft Apologizes for Disabling File Formats in Office Update (Wired)

I personally think it could be good for Microsoft in the long run to have some high-profile problems like this, as these problems will (hopefully) cause it to work harder to please its customers. In the meantime, it is good for competitors like OpenOffice, Google Docs, and others, as they will see their market share grow from the dissatisfaction with the problematic updates. In addition, these problems only add weight to my opinion that Microsoft updates should only be applied after extensive testing. Were you affected by any of the latest Microsoft gaffes?