Microsoft: Pay Us To QA Our Free Buggy Software

from the that's-some-scam dept

We've certainly heard of invites to "exclusive" beta tests like Gmail, Orkut or Wordpress.com showing up on eBay, but almost all of those were cases where individuals who had received them were then turning around and auctioning them off because there was a lot of demand to get into the community. Having a company auction them off themselves begins to get a bit tricky. Microsoft is now trying to convince people to buy the ability to beta test their latest instant messaging software. This raises a few questions. First: who are these people they're getting people to pay them to test out and give feedback on "free" software that they clearly believe isn't ready for primetime? It would appear that they're basically getting people to pay Microsoft to QA its free software. Of course, that's Microsoft's right, and if they can convince people to do it, more power to the folks at Microsoft. However, it might make some wonder what kind of people you've attracted to your "beta" test. Update: As someone points out in the comments, it appears that the article we linked to at PC World may have gotten the story wrong. It may not actually be Microsoft auctioning these off, though they are promoting that the invites are for sale.
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  • identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, 21 Dec 2005 @ 11:33am

    Who can you chat with?

    The article wasn't real clear on what IM system this new software is compatible with. Is it another closed IM system where you can only chat with other people on the new system?

    If so, I can't imagine anyone paying to beta test a new IM client that only lets them chat with other beta testers...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Fred, 21 Dec 2005 @ 11:38am

    Not really...

    If you read the original MS blog posting, it's clear that MS isn't auctioning the invites themselves, but just pointing out that some people are listing invites on eBay. It's a bit odd that they are promoting such behavior, but it's not like the cash goes to Microsoft or MS employees.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kevin, 21 Dec 2005 @ 12:48pm

    No Subject Given

    Um, the article is about USERS auctioning off their received invites, not Microsoft.

    Pay attention.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 21 Dec 2005 @ 1:18pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      Um, the article is about USERS auctioning off their received invites, not Microsoft.

      Yes, we had already edited the story by the time of your post. However, the original article does say that it's Microsoft that's doing the auctioning, so you can understand how we thought that, um, Microsoft was doing the auctioning.

      It looks like, however, the article was incorrect.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Chad, 21 Dec 2005 @ 1:56pm

        Re: No Subject Given

        Either way nobody would have put it past Microsoft to actually try and sell off beta seats.... Thats the sad part.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rikko, 21 Dec 2005 @ 12:52pm

    This is the software industry...

    Any MMORPG player will tell you the same.. There's beta, and then there's "live", which is what marketing thinks is the end of development.

    No MMORPG I've ever played has ever had what I would call a flawless launch - DAOC had massive server outages and login server failures, not to mention wonderful exploits (like alt-tabbing to drop from the server if you were going to die). Shadowbane is still, to my knowledge, pre-beta software. At least they've got the lag looked after. City of Heroes had bigtime server crashes that could have been resolved if they'd been allowed another month of open beta. Blizzard completely underestimated their sales and sold more copies than servers could handle, resulting in frequently borked login servers and horrendous lag. City of Villains - it launched even more poorly than CoH. The servers stayed up but it was and still is bug city.

    And that's just the MMO world. Applications don't fare much better. Look at Windows. Look at Linux! To this day I'm unable to install any distro because installing onto an IDE secondary drive while installing GRUB onto a SATA master isn't supported.

    But that's just the way it is until we can produce some reliable method of AI software testing. I do QA professionally and it's overwhelming how many permutations you need to test either manually or through a designed test case.

    Bugs are unacceptable but there's simply no way around 'em. I guess the smart thing to do is to convince end users that bugs are GOOD because then *THEY CAN REPORT THEM AND GET A THANK YOU!!!*. Humbug.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Cam, 22 Dec 2005 @ 12:41am

    Get it right, hey!

    MS are NOT charging people to test the software. You want to buy it from eBay you'll be buying it from another tester, not MS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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