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Whispers from a ghost: Windows 7 and cloud computing

The key thing to understand about the power relationship involved when you deal with a supplier is that the extent to which the power shifts to the supplier as soon as you sign up is a joint function of the supplier's market share and the importance the service or product has to you. Give a monopolist control of the crown jewels - and you'll do better in your relationship with an armed mugger than you'll do in the business relationship you just signed up for.

Here's an announcement you won't have seen yet from Microsoft Azure Support:

Monday, October 31, 2011

To all Azure Solutions Customers:

We have revised our contact procedures to ensure that you derive maximum benefit from your investment in Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing Solutions.

Our Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing support platform and Customer Response Centre provides a central point of contact for account holders looking for effective and reliable technical assistance delivered in a timely fashion.

Before calling the Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing Response Centre please check our outages site to ensure that service to your account grouping is currently available.

Note that if your service appears functional but data and/or downloaded applications are inaccessible, we will regretfully not be able to help. Simply use your account identification to download new applications.

Before calling the Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing Solutions Resource Center please ensure that you have the following informations readily available:

  • If you are a contract customer you will need:

    • your 16 digit contract ID;

    • your 12 digit personal support ID;

    • the product name, release code, and contract support ID number for the solution you are requesting help with.

  • If you do not have a qualified support contract, please purchase incident credits from our incidents site before calling support.

  • All service requestors will need:

    • your network provider service ID and the certificate of compliance identifier (or Approved Operating Characteristics certification) for your internet gateway;

    • the type, manufacturer, specifications, Windows/OS release and patch levels, and client software identifiers for each affected client;
  • Please keep a record of these numbers:

    • Priority service: 1-900-697-2637

    • Regular service: 1-888-697-2637 (Contract customers only)

    At Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing Solutions Resource Center we are committed to your satisfaction. All inquires are assigned identifiers and and may be recorded for your protection. Follow-up inquires must site the unique issue identifier.

    To ensure that the support experience be most pleasant for you we have added two new features to the telephonic routing:

    • Automatic error cancellation. All IVR data receivers now loop on 18 seconds, so you do not have to correct any mistakes - only to wait until loop restarts and enter again.

    • Although we strive to answer your queries as quickly as possible, there will be some hold minutes. For your added satisfaction you can now select your hold music from three categories: Goldies, Eurovater, and Amercrap.

    It sounds like a spoof doesn't it? but it's actually the ghost of a future to come: warning those naive enough to sign up for mission critical cloud computing that putting all your eggs in someone else's basket is right up there with handing your wallet to a mugger and hoping to get your drivers license and credit cards back after he takes the cash.