It is rare that spend my valuable time with a complaint.  However, in my recent quest to get support for VMware fusion was met with a hard stop.   I have never been so amazed at the ramifications of a bad policy.

Here is what happened.  I use VMware fusion on my macbook pro to run a virtual windows vista environment.  I use that environment for software demos.  It needs to work.  I switched to a mac for ease of use (that is another blog).   Windows has a tendency to bloat…so my virtual environment ran out of space; I needed to increase the size of the virtual disk.   For one reason or another,  the standard disk-expanding procedure did not work.  Time *is* money, so I decided to call support to get it resolved.

Here is where the nightmare started.

When I called, I was prompted to press the # button for support for fusion.  I eventually got a message stating that there was online support only.  “Ok, I can understand that”, I said to myself.   I would just call back and let them know, I’m willing to pay for support to resolve this issue and get back to giving software demos.

I called back.

This time I pressed the series of buttons to get to a live person.

The nightmare intensified.

I was told that there is no phone support, even if I payed.  Never in my 25+ years in the industry has this happened to me.  I was shocked.   For those who know me…yes, I was speechless for a few moments.  I’ve had tough tech support cases at Broadlook, first when I started the company and I was sales, support, development and garbage man.  Now my tech support team handles everything under the sun.  We have never told a client “NO”.  Yes, sometimes, when there is an issue outside the realm of our software, we charge, we have to.  Sometimes we resolve firewall or Microsoft windows issues. It is not always our software, this is what paid support is for.   I was simply in disbelief.

My issue is still unresolved.  Where does this leave me?  This blog is “what keeps me up at night”.  This time it really will.  I will be re-installing Windows, adding all the software that my demo machine needs, transferring files from one session to another.

Here is my support ticket in case VMware cares: 1136362675

Here is the email of the manager who said “no”:  callum at vmware dot com

Notes to VMware.

-Microsoft, for all it’s faults, will help you if you pay for it.
-Support can be a revenue stream.  (said with a tone of Duhhh)
-If you treat your customers this way, competitors are going to eat your lunch, and I will enjoy watching it happen.  I don’t like being told no.
Parallels has an alternative to VMware fusion for the mac.  I called Parallels and asked if they had pay-for-support and they said absolutely.  In fact, the guy I talked to at Parallels was extremely helpful and also shocked when I shared the VMware fusion story.

At this point, I don’t want to work with VMware

Fast forward 3 months

I holded off posting this blog for about 3 months.  I switched to Parallels for mac which allows me to run a virtualized windows environment.  I wanted to wait until I had a problem and needed help with Parallels.  When I called Parallels support, I did have an issue that qualified for paid support.  The rep was probably surprised when I was enthusiastic and excited to pay for support.  In the end, I was not even charged, even though I was willing to pay.  My issue only took a minute to resolve and the tech support rep wished me well.

VMware: That is service.