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Certainly the pay-per-use and enterprise support agreements can be said to provide a revenue stream, but after the associated costs, it isn't really a source of income (profit). Many product design goals include reduction in support call volume over the previous version as one of the measures of success.

Perhaps I wasn't clear. I did not intend to say that MSFT makes profits from this, but it does help offset the cost of support personnel.

Just answering a single no-charge support call costs at least $50.

Excuse me, but industry wide (and I know, I worked in support), the numbers are far lower. An average support call takes 30-40 minutes. Even allowing that MSFT calls take twice that, are you seriously implying that MSFT support personnel are making at least $50/hr? Besides which, no-charge are only during business hours. I assume that this is West Coast 8AM to 5PM For people on the East Coast, that means 11AM to 8PM. Most people work until 5PM, then take an hour to get home (in urban areas. Your mileage may vary.). That gives them one or two hours to greet the family, eat come dinner, then call MSFT and get a problem resolved before they begin getting charged.

All this is why I will never call MSFT for support. The one time I did, I knew far more than the support tech (whose "solution" was to reboot, run a scandisk and defrag, then reboot again). When this did not work (I did this just to show him it wouldn't fix the problem (a kernel error)), he directed me to support for which I would have to pay!

MSFT's support is as buggy as their software. And MSFT knows it. They would be clobbered if they waited to ship a better product. They would lose market share, because other companies with better products are out there, but they are eclipsed by MSFT's "NEW! SHINY! BUY!" mentality. The products aren't better, just more bloated and newer.

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