Monday, October 6, 2008

MS vs. Apple Support - Fight!

So, if you've been following my blog (insert snickers and jeers here), you'd know that my Xbox 360 died a short while ago of the infamous Red Rings of Death. What I may not have mentioned was that my MacBook Pro has been on the fritz for a while too. In fact, it's been on the fritz for the past YEAR or so, but I simply haven't been able to afford any downtime to get it fixed.

So now that my Xbox is repaired and on its way back to me, and I've finally sent the MacBook in for repairs... I suppose it's a good idea to sum up my support experiences on both sides. Both Apple and Microsoft do some things well, and other things in really, really, really dumb ways. Particularly Apple (you might be surprised!). The two companies seem like the antithesis of each other: MS being the faceless mega-corp, while Apple is known for their cordial and friendly service... The results may be surprising, read on.


So about 3 months into my MacBook Pro's poor lifetime the front latch (the thing that keeps the thing shut) broke. The lid would no longer close, causing all kinds of problems. Unfortunately at the time the laptop was my only link to the civilized world (the student ghettoes in Ottawa, Canada, cannot be generally considered as such, especially in winter). I got it fixed a couple of months later, when I was back at school (the school was an authorized repair dealer).

The warranty process was surprisingly hard to deal with. Apple has the best phone support line I've ever experienced - short waits (usually <5 style="font-weight: bold;">


On the other hand, my experience with Microsoft has been nothing but smooth sailings:

  • Called Microsoft, got a helpful rep who spoke perfect English. No trouble at all. She walked me through a few steps to make sure my console was genuinely dead. Within about 10 minutes of calling I was giving her my mailing address to send the return box. And then something bad happened to their system, and they were unable to process the return request. She gave me a ticket ID and asked me to call back at a later time.
  • Called back the next day, got an Indian fellow who didn't speak English so well. Thankfully, my return was already authorized, so I gave him the number and he entered the return into the system. Box was on the way. On the side note: troubleshooting the Xbox with him would probably have been a pain given how much of a communication barrier there was... I think *when* you call may be important.
  • Box arrived in 4 days. Not as quick as Apple and their 2-day turnaround, Apple definitely wins this one hands down.
  • Return was via UPS. This worked out great, since there were FAR more UPS shipping location than DHL. Did not require me to trek all the way across downtown. Unlike Apple, they did not provide me with a tracking number...

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