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Microsoft, you suck*

*When dealing with guests

Today I went to Microsoft to meet a friend.

I was a little early so sat in the reception and wanted to do some work. Unfortunately their “guest” WiFi requires a password to access. How last century.

Sadly, the receptionist would not provide a password without the approval of my “sponsor” (who was, of course, not yet here). Lady, if he was here, I would not be having to wait! That’s why you have a waiting area. When he arrives, I will not be waiting, and will not need access. I want the password now so that I can do work before he arrives.

How ironic is it that I could drive a few hundred yards away to any coffee shop and get all the free WiFi I need, but I can't get access in what is supposed to be a hub of IT? Microsoft, what are you afraid of?

I’d quite happily check a box that I accept terms and conditions of use of the public network. (Incase you are worried that I would use the network to do something illegal).

I’d quite happily check a box that caps my upload and download delivery (Incase you are worried that guests may be evaporating your profits by using the connection to download too many bytes).

I’d quite happily check a box that caps my bandwidth (Incase you are worried that my usage in your lobby may choke your upstream connection to the internet, reducing the productivity of your employees).

Or, is the real reason that you will not allow me access is that are you so bad at IT that, in reality, you have connected the “guest” WiFi network directly to your corporate network, so that if you gave me a password I could tunnel through and steal all your secrets? (This was your receptionist’s suggestion for the policy BTW. She said they were worried that if guests had free access to WiFi they could upload viruses to your corporate network).

Have you not heard of firewalls? Is there nobody in your company that can advise you how to separate and run two independent WiFi networks (public and private). If not, please feel free to contact me and I’ll offer my services at very reasonable rates. Does Starbucks know more how to decouple their customer WiFi from their internal network than Microsoft? How embarrassing.

Hotels have free WiFi, Airports have free WiFi, as do grocery stores, coffee shops and hair salons. Hell, when I go to Mountain View, Google provides Complimentary WiFi to the entire city and you can access it wherever you sit. It’s not hard.

Tell me, what is the point of your policy? What does it hope to achieve? What is it trying to protect? I hope your answer would be a very good one, but for the life of me I can’t think of anything that you could say to justify your policy, and would offset the total embarrassment it causes you. You simply look very foolish and petty. As much as I hate, with a passion, the sleazy practice of hotels gouging and extorting unreasonable amounts of cash for a couple of hours of internet connection, your policy sinks even lower than that. At least with the hotel I have a choice.

Sarcasm aside, do you not see the damage this policy is causing your reputation?


I've since returned on a couple of occassions, and I'm pleased to report that your receptionists now give out access codes without requiring an employee sponsor. Thanks for listening.


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