Whatever happened to customer service for Handheld PC owners?

John Ottini | Handheld PC Writing Team
February 26, 2007

Over the past year, I’ve noticed that more and more developers have abandoned support for their Handheld PC software titles. Although, I’m not pleased with this trend, I totally understand (from a business standpoint) why they are doing what they are doing. Production of Handheld PCs is all but dead and (in their own words) the demand and purchase of HPC software has almost completely dried up. Therefore, it’s only natural that their resources are going to be focused on projects that will meet consumer demands and in turn bring profit to their business. Like it or not, this I completely understand!

 

HELLO, GOODBYE

What I don’t understand, is why they decide to totally remove their HPC software titles from the marketplace? So many developers I’ve contacted, simply tell me that since they no longer produce or support their HPC software titles, they will no longer sell or allow potential buyers to register the software. This is a really strange business practice, which I find difficult to comprehend. After beaucoup time, effort and money spent developing the software, they suddenly decide that it is no longer worth selling and the software is placed in a black hole (so to speak), never to be seen again. I know it’s their software and it’s their prerogative to do whatever they want with it, but wouldn’t it be better to use the example set by Ilium Software and release the software as unsupported freeware? Yes, I know that this can’t be done with all HPC software, because some developers use the same registration code across all platforms (HPC, PPC, Smartphone, etc) therefore it’s unfair to release it as unsupported freeware. In that case, why not just sell the software to HPC users who want it, with the clear understanding, that it will no longer be upgraded or supported? I don’t even expect them to spend time, money or website space advertising it, but at least allow users who want it, to download and register it!

 

Can’t get no R.E.S.P.E.C.T !

Another (perhaps more disturbing) trend, is that many developers who have chosen the path of no longer upgrading or supporting their HPC software titles, have now decided to completely ignore, any questions or inquiries from their HPC registered supporters. I can’t tell you how many times in the last 6 months, I have emailed or posted (to their forums) HPC software related questions, only to be completely ignored by the developer. Perhaps, I’m just being paranoid, but I don’t think that is the case, because I’ve had other HPC owners confirm my suspicions. Let me clarify, that this is not the practice of all developers, some have been very attentive and do respond to all inquiries, HPC or otherwise. Why some developers would show such disrespect for HPC users is beyond my comprehension and it’s very disappointing to think that it’s ok to treat us like yesterdays news because they are no longer interested in supporting our platform.

Poor customer service is not soon forgotten and if you are like me, it will be very difficult, (should I choose to switch to a different platform) to support developers who have chosen to disrespect me as a former customer. At this point, you can pull out all the popular clichés, “What goes around, comes around.” or “You reap what you sow.”, but in the end we all lose.

 

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