Microsoft Just Doesn

Steve Ballmer is busy trying to

convince investors that Microsoft is really NOT collapsing of its own weight,

despite all the evidence to the contrary.

But, while the software mega-giant

struggles with competitors Google and Yahoo!, trying to get people to use Mr.

Softie’s Web portal and search engine, it only takes a minute talking with a

long-time Hotmail email service user to see just how badly Microsoft treats

customers and how poorly they understand what people are looking for in a Web


I have e-mail accounts

everyplace from to and dozens of places which don’t even exist

any longer – I have them because it is one of the best ways I have found to get

a feel for how companies treat customers, especially the ones they can easily

get on the Internet just by providing a service as good as competitors.

If they actually offer a

superior service, the way is now doing by grouping conversations

together for easy reading, then they will be wildly popular.

But, athough I have a hotmail

account, I have resigned myself to using it as my spam bucket, not because I

wanted to, but because Microsoft (MSN) has done such a terrible job managing

spam. Since MSN obviously hasn’t a clue as to how to block any but the most

blatant spam, and is unwilling to give users an easy, meaningful way to

block repeat spammers themselves, why not use it to catch all the spam I get from surfing the web? Certainly no amount of work on my part could make it a GOOD email service.

Just consider today as an

example. I had 30 emails, 28 of which were spam, and 20 of those I had

previously marked as junk mail using the tab on the MSN Hotmail toolbar.

Some of you might suggest that I

don’t know how to manage my email properly, but I have had a Yahoo account just

as long and it was published in conjunction with one of my columns, both online

and in print more than 1,000 times, yet I have a lot less junk mail at Yahoo

because they simply do a better job of filtering it out.

There is a Junk e-mail filter on hotmail but I have it set to the “Enhanced” level and did so years ago.

Sure, there is a blocked sender

list, but I filled it years ago. I haven’t checked for a long time so it is

possible that there is now more capacity, but it is a real pain to use anyway

so I don’t bother.

Does Microsoft want more

visitors who would use services such as Hotmail and therefore keep coming back?

It doesn’t seem so.

Why, for example, doesn’t MSN

Hotmail have a button which can automatically block either a specific sender or

an entire domain with a single user click?

Why doesn’t Microsoft itself do a better job of blocking obvious spam?

Is it because they just don't think it is important?

Or, is it because they can't do it?

Many users have the suspicion that they just don't care.

If I can tell at a glance that a message with the From

field “Vonage” or “Housekeeping” or “Las Vegas” or a subject line beginning “Save

50%” is spam, why can’t Microsoft block this junk? And, if it simply can’t,

then how can the company expect anyone to place any faith in their security

products or ever attract a loyal following to it's web portals or search engines?

Get a clue Microsoft. If you want to attract people to use an online service so you can sell ad space, then you need to either treat them well, or at least convincingly pretend that you care about their web experience.

Or, you could stick to what you made your money on AND secure windows and IE instead. Fix what ya got and stop trying to beat companies such as Google and Yahoo! which are simply much better at what they do!