Fluffy's World
Essays and Stories: Chapter and Verse

The Word for Today is
by Cathy Faye Rudolph

One of my clients just upgraded some aging Macintoshes, adding memory, a color card, and a color monitor. Still, there isn't enough power or memory on those machines to run Word 6.0, and the client wants to run Word. So the choice was Word 5.1a.

Except that no one sells 5.1a any more. All of the mail order houses have 6.0.

The client called Microsoft. Or tried to. After 2 hours in telecomm nirvana (on hold), they asked me to get in touch with Microsoft.

I bounced message after message off likely internet addresses like "sales" and such. Nada, Elvis-no such number, no such home. I found the Microsoft web site, but it's in marketing mode, and designed to ascertain how good the site makes you feel.

My client didn't want to feel good; they just wanted to give Microsoft some money.

I called the 800 number, and actually got a "this number has been disconnected." (Oooh, Bill, didn't pay the utility bills, you bad boy.)

The nice lady at the main voice number said that you get that message for the 800 number if there are more than 200 callers on hold. I kept calling back until I joined that elite corps, and finally spoke to a human.

Well, Microsoft won't sell my client Word 5.1a. "That's not the current version," he said. "Their machines won't run the current version," I said. "Well, yes, that's true," he admitted.

The crazy solution? The young man brightened when I mentioned that they already have a single copy of Word 5.1a in house. "Ah well, then," he boomed, "just buy a couple of licenses for Word 6.0. The part number is 0594055V600."

"But they don't want 6.0. They want 5.1a," I insisted.

"No problem," he continued. "Once you have the licenses, you can legally copy the 5.1a disks they have in hand for the other machines."

He couldn't see me rolling my eyes.

"One final thing," I said. "If I have any other clients who have older Macs, and who want to use Microsoft Word but can't run the latest version....and don't have a copy in house, what are they supposed to do? Find someone to sell them their copy of Microsoft Word 5.1a , and transfer their license?"

"You've got it," he replied.

Yes, I've got it. I'm not sure Microsoft does, though.

from And Another Thing... © 1994, 1995 Cathy Faye Rudolph.

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Last revised: August 16, 1995 by Wayward Fluffy Publications.

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