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Customers Question Tech Industry's Takeover Spree

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the ask-sun-how-it's-going dept.

Businesses 156

crimeandpunishment writes: "When it comes to the world's largest technology companies, is bigger better? Maybe for the companies, but maybe not for their customers. Tech companies, which have spent $350 billion buying other companies over the past few years, have marketed their acquisitions as beneficial for their customers, offering them a broader range of products, and making it easier for one-stop shopping. But changes in customer service may be offsetting any benefit. In the words of the chief information officer for a large association, 'When the smaller guys are gobbled up by bigger guys, in theory it's supposed to be better, but in our experience it's been worse.'"

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Bigger really IS better! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32803864)

Just ask my ex girlfriend.

Re:Bigger really IS better! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32803936)

So she dumped you for a bigger "dude".

Re:Bigger really IS better! (-1, Offtopic)

jareth-0205 (525594) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804140)

Thanks for explaining the joke.

Re:Bigger really IS better! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804232)

If she gets raped by a pack of niggers it will be her own fault.

Take over (4, Insightful)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#32803876)

When has anything a company has done been for your benefit?

Re:Take over (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32803932)

When has anything a company has done been for your benefit?

All the time. Sorry that they care about me more than you.

- A Shareholder.

Re:Take over (4, Insightful)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804426)

You jest!

The only shares I own directly are in my ESPP. My company has about 2B shares outstanding and I currently own about 4000. My company also has about $11B in cash last I heard.

If they cared about shareholders they'd be using that cash to pay dividends, or buying shares back -- more agressively than they claim to be -- to raise the share price.

YMMV.

Re:Take over (3, Insightful)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32803956)

Companies know that customers care about one thing: CHEAP! They shop where they do because of low prices. Sure, everybody says they care about service. But 9/10 times they shop where the prices are lowest. Why would Wal-Mart, Best Buy and every airline bother to care about service when they know they'll make more money selling cheap shit and giving the illusion of a bargain? This requires skimping on any extras such as knowledgeable employees.

In short, consumers are their own worst enemies when it comes to the death of customer service.

Re:Take over (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804826)

They shop where they do because of low prices. Sure, everybody says they care about service. But 9/10 times they shop where the prices are lowest. Why would Wal-Mart, Best Buy and every airline bother to care about service when they know they'll make more money selling cheap shit and giving the illusion of a bargain? This requires skimping on any extras such as knowledgeable employees.

Price is transparent, service is opaque. Sure, I could go to a company which claims great service and has high prices, but chances are good they're lying about the great service, and I'll just get nailed on the price.

With airlines, I decide based on schedule first, then price (taking into account extras like baggage fees). Unfortunately, most of the service problems are shared by all airlines (TSA, delays); they try hard NOT to compete on service by getting the FAA to mandate whatever obnoxious rule they are coming up with this week.

Re:Take over (2, Informative)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32805832)

I spent over 10 years working in IT for a major airline, and if you think the airlines are fond of operational delays, you're crazy!

Re:Take over (2, Interesting)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32806262)

So why don't they do anything to reduce the chance of delays, such as not scheduling more flights than an airport can actually handle during a given period of time?

Re:Take over (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32805848)

That's why we seriously need stronger consumer protection including actual enforcement of truth in advertising.

When the one and only thing the consumer can actually be sure of is the price, that naturally becomes the only comparison they will make.

Brand reputation is dead in an age when big name brands rootkit your PC and the badge on the product has nothing to do with who made the product.

Most consumers would much rather buy based on value (quality/price), but with everyone lying about quality that's not feasible.

Re:Take over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804000)

Making products I am happy to buy, like motorcycles, electronics, tools, printed books, food, etc.

Re:Take over (1, Insightful)

fotbr (855184) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804024)

That computer you're using -- it was made by someone, right? Ok, maybe you assembled it yourself. But someone else made the components. And those people were working for a company.

Or even simpler: You like your paycheck, right?

Go on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804072)

You were making some kind of point?

Re:Take over (2, Interesting)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804128)

Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong.
Those selected companies did what they did to make money. They do not give a shit about me, or you. They care about profits. I find it insulting when they pretend they care. The only thing they care about is my money.
I am not trying suggesting that they should care about me.

Re:Take over (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804192)

But the question was when they ever did anything you LIKE.

Sure, it generated profit for them. But you apparently LIKE some of the things companies make.

Re:Take over (2, Insightful)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804234)

I am not anti corporation. I am anti bullshit.
One company buys another for one reason, the second company has something the first company feels they can make money from.

Re:Take over (2, Interesting)

fotbr (855184) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804454)

Which again has absolutely fuck-all to do with the question. When was the last time a company did something you like? I'd say it's more often than you'd like to admit, because it's not popular here to admit companies sometimes do things that benefit them that you like.

Re:Take over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804556)

But the question was when they ever did anything you LIKE.

No, it wasn't.

Re:Take over (4, Interesting)

Altrag (195300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804248)

The company gives you a paycheck because without you (and their other employees of course), they wouldn't be in business very long.
They certainly don't pay you because they WANT to. They'd be much happier keeping their money if they could convince you to work for free. Salaries are a huge portion of most companies' costs.

Same with customers. Apple doesn't make iPods because they benefit you. They make iPods because you're willing to buy them (maybe not you specifically, but the more general "you're") and Apple gets money for it. If no one was willing to pay for an iPod, Apple certainly wouldn't continue making them. And flipping the coin, Apple would be quite as happy to sell you a rotten banana peel as they are to sell you an iPod. Apple only "cares" about what you in the sense that you won't give them money for things that you don't want. Caring about the customer is NOT an intrinsic property of a business, its a requirement for that business to be able to make money in a capitalist society where consumers have the option of not buying.

Even monopoly companies have to "care" about their customers in the sense of providing something of utility. A monopoly on rotten banana peels isn't going to generate a lot of income. Even without the option of purchasing from a competitor, the option of not buying at all is still available to consumers.

At least for most products. These arguments break down in the face of "necessary" products such as electricity, running water, food, etc. Now food isn't so bad because you generally have the option of multiple suppliers, and competition keeps things fair. No such competition exists for things like electricity and water (at least in most cities). For those products, you can neither decide to purchase from a competitor nor decide not to purchase at all. As an off-topic rant, this is the reason why I consider "privatizing" these sort of products to be a terribly bad idea -- all of the monopoly power of a public utility with none of the public oversight. Pretty much bad for everyone except the new CEO and whoever he paid off to make it happen.

Re:Take over (3, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804326)

No such competition exists for things like electricity and water (at least in most cities). For those products, you can neither decide to purchase from a competitor nor decide not to purchase at all.

Well, you can "kinda sorta" - you could build an outhouse in your backyard or a full septic tank in your backyard, provided your local building code allows it. You could install a rainwater collector, filtration system, or simply purchase what water you need from an alternate supplier (though at the cost per gallon, that's suicidal). You could, provided the groundwater quality in your area isn't shit and again that local building codes would allow it, even dig your own well and install your own pump.

You could install a gas/propane/etc generator, or solar cells and some battery storage, if you want to try to go without being "plugged in" to the electric grid, or you could even do without air conditioning and heat what you need to in your house with some other form of heating like a wood-burning stove or fireplace. You could your cooking on a propane or charcoal grill.

Of course, good luck managing to do this in any major city or if you have kids, unless you're Amish or Mennonite. Raise kids in that environment, and the local constabulary will be up your ass with "child welfare" authorities in tow, looking for any excuse they can manufacture to take your kids away and force you to pay up for local utilities...

Re:Take over (2, Informative)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32805126)

You could install a rainwater collector...

Just in case anyone cares, it is illegal to collect rain water in Colorado (and probably other mountain states) unless you own the right to do so. I'm not commenting on whether it's a good idea or not, just mentioning it because.

Re:Take over (1)

auLucifer (1371577) | more than 4 years ago | (#32805620)

It use to be the same across Australia. Right until we had a very long drought and those in the know didn't expect water to last until 2010 in our capital cities. Some small towns were closed due to the drought... Then they finally offered rebates for when people bought tanks and removed a lot of the red tape to make installing water tanks appealing. So just wait until you get no rain for a few years and they might change, they'll start to wonder how they can tax rainfall though but I haven't seen talks about that in au in years.

Re:Take over (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32805790)

No such competition exists for things like electricity and water (at least in most cities). For those products, you can neither decide to purchase from a competitor nor decide not to purchase at all.

Well, you can "kinda sorta" - you could build an outhouse in your backyard or a full septic tank in your backyard, provided your local building code allows it. You could install a rainwater collector, filtration system, or simply purchase what water you need from an alternate supplier (though at the cost per gallon, that's suicidal). You could, provided the groundwater quality in your area isn't shit and again that local building codes would allow it, even dig your own well and install your own pump.

Some places have outlawed new septic systems, instead they require hook ups to the municipal system. At the same tyme though composing toilets are being used more and more. Some places have also outlawed rainwater collection. In Colorado [groovygreen.com] for instance they are illegal. Legally you, people, do not have rights to the water that falls on their land. The state has all rights. Which it gave away when it agreed to the Colrado River Compact [wikipedia.org] . Even though the river doesn't run through California, CA now has "rights" to some of it's water. As does Mexico.

You could install a gas/propane/etc generator, or solar cells and some battery storage, if you want to try to go without being "plugged in" to the electric grid

Go Off [offgrid.com] the grid [offgrid.org] .

Of course, good luck managing to do this in any major city or if you have kids, unless you're Amish or Mennonite. Raise kids in that environment, and the local constabulary will be up your ass with "child welfare" authorities in tow, looking for any excuse they can manufacture to take your kids away and force you to pay up for local utilities...

Actually more and more places are getting off the grid friendly, as well as homeschooling friendly. Many states and local governments offer help such as rebates for alternative energy systems, DSIRE [dsireusa.org] is a database of what is offered.

Falcon

Re:Take over (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804474)

Doing something that you like doesn't mean they care about you, and I've never implied that they did. They do things that make sense to them -- I've never implied otherwise. You like some of them, you don't like others. But you can't honestly make a blanket statement that they never do anything that customers like.

Re:Take over (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32805364)

...Apple would be quite as happy to sell you a rotten banana peel as they are to sell you an iPod.

Ah yes, I can see the fanbois [straightdope.com] now... Telling you that iPeels are the best

Re:Take over (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32805948)

Many small businesses and sole proprietors actually DO take pride in actually making the customer happy (as opposed to just happy enough to buy again). It's somewhere in that gray area where the business starts to take on it's own identity distinct from it's owners' that it ceases to actually care about the customer and begins merely aping care (like any successful psychopath will).

Re:Take over (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804874)

SWEET! I get modded "offtopic" because I don't agree with the slashdot groupthink that all corporations are inherently evil and that anything done for profit is bad.

Anon only because I'm simply too lazy to log in from my phone.

Re:Take over (3, Interesting)

cybereal (621599) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804122)

Though I feel your cynical view and agree it's probably the usual case, there is more than sufficient evidence to suggest that a genuine desire to please and benefit customers drives at least some businesses. They may be smaller, or only rare, but that's the same thing in nature. The trend would map to symbiosis where one organism relies on another cooperatively for mutual benefit. A balanced relationship between a corporation and its consumers forces this mutual benefit scenario as the corp needs the customers for income and the customers need (or at least think they need) the corp for some product or service. However, when the customers lose their alternative options, the failings of the corporation no longer have the same level of negative effect on the corp as they might have otherwise because said consumers have nowhere else to go.

Of course, this is why monopolies are bad. However, it's probably worth realizing that less-than-monopolies are also bad in exactly the same way. Good examples of this are Wal-mart, FedEx/UPS, and Google. All of these companies take their positions for granted and abuse them one way or another with little recourse as they have few if any general competitors. Though they may offer some good things like broad areas of service or one or two worthwhile operations, they generally pose a threat to any potential competition or even actively stifle it through business practices that only a monopoly could afford (like massive price undercuts or underpaid employees, questionable service, or invasion of privacy.)

Unfortunately, this situation is an eventuality of all capitalistic business pursuits. Either businesses will fizzle out and fail or they will grow, become part of or overtake other businesses to get into a monopoly position. It's unclear if there could ever truly be an amicable solution that prevented this.

Re:Take over (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804472)

You're a goddamn moron if you honestly think that Google belongs next to Walmart in your list. Google does basically everything to benefit the user, and prides themselves upon improving the world. (and actually doing it, not just saying they are...) And, given the nature of the internet, competing services are literally a few keystrokes away, so the only people using their services are ones that actively WANT to.

Re:Take over (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 4 years ago | (#32806186)

Yes, I'd pick MS instead of Google as an example here, as MS was far worse.

Re:Take over (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32806080)

The severe limitation of corporate charter would help a lot. The point where a business gets large enough that no person in it feels that it's treatment of customers will reflect on their personal character is the point where things go seriously wrong.

That is at least a large part of why Smith was not in favor of large businesses.

Once you eliminate that, businesses have a third possible state where they grow to a practical size and remain there doing what they do well and support their owners and employees.

Our current "capitalism" is what happens when you do most of Smith's don'ts

Re:Take over (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804802)

You seem to be assuming a zero-sum game here. That a company's gain is automatically the customer's loss.

Fuse that notion with the 'broken window fallacy' attitude, another popular misconception, and the potential for confusion is limitless.

Re:Take over (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32805556)

You seem to be assuming a zero-sum game here. That a company's gain is automatically the customer's loss.

Fuse that notion with the 'broken window fallacy' attitude, another popular misconception, and the potential for confusion is limitless.

As TFA shows, you've got it backwards. The fallacy is in believing acquisitions automatically bring customers value.

Falcon

Re:Take over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32806180)

Sure they did..people would not be buying it if it was not beneficial to them in one way or another.

Want to work at home. This site shows a big list of employers that actually hire you to work at home. online jobs [toponlinejobs.org] | legit online jobs [toponlinejobs.org]

Also obvious (1)

Droce (1736948) | more than 4 years ago | (#32803882)

This changes everything we know about big businesses and customer service.

Surprise! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32803900)

Corporate actions that benefit the corporation (shareholders, management) rather than customers. And further benefit the bankers, lawyers, consultants, bankers, lawyers and more consultants.

Who the fuck cares about the customers anymore?

This seems to be a 'duh' article. We've seen this in so many sectors these days - aerospace (YoYoDyne^HBoeing), Banking (Goldman-Sachs), Energy (BP, ExxonMobilShellTexacoAndThousandsOfOtherCompanies). I can't think of any of these industries where customers benefited.

Re:Surprise! (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804596)

Who cares about the customer, in most instance those small and mid sized companies run by their owners. Those companies that a lot of people shift their purchases to once they discover them (they do take some discovery as they spend their money on customer service not B$ advertising).

These of course are the very same companies they get bought out by corporate executive serving companies (nepotistic, anti-customer, corrupt corporations). They are simply buying out the competition and of they deem it worthwhile the brand. The brand is of course a means by which they can sell their own crap marketed behind the quality and trust established by the old brand. This sale of trust (selling of crap pretending to be quality) used to much more successful when it could be hidden by mass media Fox News style campaign of lies but, the internet has buggered up that model no end. When they buy out a mid sized company it can of course take a decade for another small company to grow to replace it, giving the corporation that decade to recover the purchase price by screwing over the customer, with monopoly or cartel price fixing schemes.

Clearly it is most definitely not in the interest of human societies to allow corporations to grow beyond a certain size and obviously there are already quite a few corporations that should be broken up or have limited liability taken from them (make their shareholders liable for all debts if capital value exceeds a defined limit say in current market 10 billion perhaps even as low 1 billion).

You can't have your cake and eat it too... (5, Insightful)

hackel (10452) | more than 4 years ago | (#32803910)

If people really want this free-market capitalist monstrosity, then they need to accept the fact that what is best for the *company* always comes first. It really irritates me every time I hear people complaining that a corporation is not thinking of its customers first, or its employees... That is not a corporations job. They're one and only job is to make money for their shareholders.

If you don't like this--as you shouldn't--then the system itself is what needs to be changed. Don't blame the individual companies--they are doing exactly what we have set them up to do. Capitalism itself is the enemy.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (4, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804038)

That is not a corporations job. They're one and only job is to make money for their shareholders.

I don't see how that statement is a necessary and unavoidable part of capitalism. Capitalism is just an economic system that relies on people freely making economic transactions with each other. It does not inherently require the concept of "shareholders" and even the idea that a corporation needs to have owners is not absolute - a corporation is just a relationship between employees and customers, it does not need to have owners any more than the marriage between a man and his wife needs to somehow be owned by someone. There are lots of (unfortunately, small) businesses that do serve their customers, but we can, and should, support them.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (1, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804236)

Capitalism would be just fine if not for our ridiculous "corporate personhood" doctrine, the result of a few corrupt assholes in black robes called the "Supreme Court" getting paid off at just the right time [wikipedia.org] .

The end result is the corporatist government of the US today - laws written by the corporations, for the corporations, Fuck The People. Our two-party system hasn't helped much either, if you look at each party, it's not a question of one party being corporatist and the other not, it's just which corporations the party in question is a stooge of. Both parties are beholden to the MafiAA/"entertainment" types, which is why copyright law is so fucked up. Both parties are beholden to Big Oil - sure the Democraps talk a good game to keep their sierra club/PETA/ecoterrorist types on board, but at the end of the day, do you really think they're going to do something that seriously causes trouble for the big oil corporations? I doubt it.

Illegal immigration? The Democraps are sure that the illegal immigrants are going to become their new core voting block, just like the blacks they've kept uneducated in ghettos for the past 40 years are today. The Rethuglicans, or at least most of their higher ranking members, salivate at illegal immigration as a way to keep wages down and prevent the middle class from growing. And if someone from either side happens to talk about illegal immigration sanely, well, watch what happens to them - just look what happened to Lou Dobbs getting bounced from CNN when they went on their "Mexico Uber Alles" kick, or the fact that Duncan Hunter got basically held off camera in the Rethuglican debates.

Take a look at the Obama campaign - especially when they deliberately cut off every bit of default identity detection on donations in order to deliberately enable donation fraud [newsweek.com] and refused to fix their deliberately broken process [firstthings.com] . Wonder where all that money was coming from, and what "interests" it supported? I don't [nytimes.com] .

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804376)

Nice Supreme Court link. Purportedly you linked that to suggest that this was the case deciding the issue of the 14th Amendment as it applies to Corporations. Sorry, but you really should learn to read your Wikipedia entries more thoroughly, because your entire premise is full of shit.

The Supreme Court never reached the equal protection claims. Nonetheless, this case is sometimes incorrectly cited as holding that corporations, as juristic persons, are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

(emphasis mine)

Failed trolls are the funniest trolls.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804566)

I don't know who reedited that particular page - was it you, perhaps? Certainly, other pages say differently [wikipedia.org] .

Major danger of linking Shitopedia, I know. You never know who's going to make it change, for what POV, at what time.

Then again, the debate still goes on today [huffingtonpost.com] , for all the good it's really doing us...

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804336)

While the exact form of it (the legal fiction of a limited liability corporation) isn't inherent in capitalism, the argument that this sort of concentration of wealth and ownership is an inherent aspect of capitalism was really the central point of Karl Marx's Capital. The way that most civilized countries prevent that problem from overwhelming them is via the use of democratic government to check the power of owners in favor of everybody else.

The big exception to this has been the United States since 1980. Anyone complaining about excessive taxation or regulation today ought to read up on what US law looked like in 1960 or so.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32805056)

Who cares about Marxist bullshit? Marx is a douche and an incoherent douche. Never understood a word of Hegel or Feuerbach, poor bastard.

The limited liability corporation is something fundamentally against the libertarian beliefs.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804090)

A company that provides superior service is no more free market or capitalist than one that doesn't. This is not to say I like it when companies outsource service calls, I don't.

Maybe there are options, or maybe small modifications are in order, rather than saying the whole thing is rotten.

Pump-n-dump traders are the enemy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804170)

You're wrong, capitalism is not the problem. The short term, pump-n-dump traders are. No one who owns their own company looks to trim their staff this quarter to make an extra 2 cents a share and short themselves 10 cents a share over the next year. But that's what the pump-n-dumpers are all for.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804180)

The idea of the corporation is the problem. Capitalism works when one person decides how much risk he wants to undertake in order to gain something. Corporations take much of the risk away by spreading it out among thousands of shareholders. Without that risk, and associated responsibility, corporations can game the system. If companies were run by individuals they would rise and fall like they are supposed to under capitalism. As corporations they can linger on almost indefinitely because they are so resistant to economic damage.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32805286)

And in it's modern form the corporation also dissociates not only the responsibility and the shareholder but also the shareholder and the management. Companies are owned by other companies, by faceless pension funds. All of them run by a crowd of useless managers that will never bear the risk of being a business owner but will profit as if they were. This is what fucks the modern capitalism.

The concept of limited liability corporation must be banned from law.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804304)

People should stop buying products from companies they don't like their service from, eventually the company will indeed do what is best in their interest and that is to keep customers happy and consuming, or go bust.
Reality is that the majority of customers rather whinge than seek alternatives, so companies can make more money by decreasing the quality of their service in trade off to the increased dissatisfaction.
Free choice works fine; you get what you want, if you are not really that bothered about what you get then it is likely that company/person giving the service/product is not that bothered about what you get.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804358)

It really irritates me every time I hear people complaining that a corporation is not thinking of its customers first, or its employees... That is not a corporations job. They're one and only job is to make money for their shareholders.

No, that's a corporation's fiduciary purpose. What their "job" is depends entirely on who you are.

If you work for a corporation, their job is to keep you dutifully employed.

If you supply a corporation, or sell its goods, their job is to buy the things you make or making the things you sell.

If you're a government, then a corporation's job is to improve the life of your citizenry, by engaging in a healthy marketplace.

And if you're a CUSTOMER of that corporation... well, then their job is to make you happy, and F- them if they forget it.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804374)

Except that companies who use this strategy can and do fail at making money for shareholders.

In this condition a company can hang around stagnantly for years just because it has a dominant market share and therefore getting enough cash and leverage to continue an acquisitions strategy. Can even be three companies in exactly the same market 50/30/20 vampiricly sucking off the market and continuing to buy smaller players and reducing service to customers.

How do you suggest changing the system so the situation will not occur?

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804396)

Seen a Mike Moore film recently have we?

The clumsy sleight-of-hand that Capitalism: A Love Story tries to pull off, is to frame the issue as Capitalism vs Democracy.

If there was any lesson of the cold war it was that economic systems and political systems are orthogonal. You can have Democratic Socialism. You can have Democratic Capitalism. You can have a Socialist Dictatorship. You can have a Capitalist Dictatorship. Mike Moore wants Democratic Socialism, all the way down to the individual business.. but just saying that would be giving his audience too much credit, so he has to demonize Capitalism and declare that it is incompatible with Democracy. You want Democracy? Oh, well you can't have Capitalism then, so sorry.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (1)

hackel (10452) | more than 4 years ago | (#32806124)

Actually no, I had considered seeing the film but never got around to it.

Capitalism isn't exactly "incompatible" with democracy, however it creates a heavily class-based society, relying on a very large middle and lower class with less education. And a majority of the population having less education than the rest *is* incompatible with democracy. If we were able to properly educate everyone, it might be a different story... But now most people don't even know when they are being had... They'll happily shop at Walmart, even if they consider themselves "liberal" simply because the dollar rules, and they want whatever is cheapest.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32806134)

Individuals making economic decisions based on their own personal preferences is a feature of both systems.. It's so hard to have a conversation with Americans about Socialism because they're just so indoctrinated with false information. Moore exploits this rather than try to educate.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (1)

mikestew (1483105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804452)

They're one and only job is to make money for their shareholders.

How do you propose they make that money? By consistently pissing off customers? By making sure that their employees are never gruntled? A company's purpose is often to make money, and it doesn't do well at that with dissatisfied customers and employees. If it does manage to make a profit with unhappy customers (which are often tied to disgruntled workers) in the long term, then it's the fault of the consumer for continuing to reward the company with their money.

You run off the flawed assumption that profits, happy customers, and giddy employees are all mutually exclusive. Either that, or you make the blanket statement for companies of all sizes. Maybe AT&T Wireless can get away with it for a while, but your local Mom-and-Pop is going to be out of business before the quarter ends.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (1)

hackel (10452) | more than 4 years ago | (#32806106)

The mom-and-pops are already out of business. So when we are talking about "corporations," it's really only large ones. The whole point of this article is that corporations are unable to achieve all three of these goals, so their new goal is to form a monopoly, that way they don't have to worry about making customers happy because customers have no other choice (I work for an airline--believe me, I know!). They don't have to care if the employees are happy because the economy is in such poor shape that a great many people are grateful for any kind of job. So it all comes back to profiting as much as possible no matter the cost...

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32806152)

Their strategy is to keep most of their customers just barely satisfied to come back to them rather than the competition (keeping in mind that's what the competition is also doing) and to keep the employees just barely happy enough to prefer their job to starvation in the streets. The race to the bottom is built into the system.

That doesn't sound like a very good world to actually live in though.

If you keep things at about the Mom-and-Pop size, personal ethics put the brakes on that race to the bottom and actually CAN result in a profitable company with happy customers and employees so long as the corporate behemoths remain non-existent.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804702)

"They're one and only job is to make money for their shareholders."

That's not a fact, it's a point of view, one usually held by the shareholders. The customers of a company usually feel that the company is there for the customers, and the employees feel that the company is there for the employees.

Fact is that a company needs employees and customers to not exist, and shareholders are actually only necessary when the company has need for capital and no other way of obtaining it.

Really, shareholders are less important than the customers and the employees. Bonds can replace shareholders for a company with good customers and employees.

Re:You can't have your cake and eat it too... (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32806332)

They're one and only job is to make money for their shareholders.

No, the one and only job of a corporation is to benefit the common or public good. In return for doing they are given limited liability. The first two corporations granted charters were the Dutch East India Company [wikipedia.org] in 1602 and the British East India Company [wikipedia.org] in 1604 just for this reason. The Dutch and British believed trade benefited the public yet shipping was risky. Both companies were shipping companies shipping cargo like tea from India to Europe, however ship owners were liable for the loss of cargo as well as crew and passengers. If any cargo was lost due to hurricanes or pirates the shipping company was liable for that loss. So government gave their investors limited liability with the understanding that if a company no longer serves the public good it's charter can be revoked [multinationalmonitor.org] . Of course as Thomas Jefferson foresaw and warned about the corporate aristocracy [nytimes.com] that "would dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." Corporations no longer have to fight government, they write laws now.

Also capitalism is not the enemy, the corporate aristocracy is the enemy. Do you really think you'd be sitting there surfing the web with enough to eat if not for capitalism?

Falcon

It's all competition (1)

Papeh (1812414) | more than 4 years ago | (#32803918)

Sometimes this can be bad for consumers - small companies have to be far more competitive (good for consumers) than large companies. It can also be good for them, if the "gobbling" up refers to a new technology, as a large company can go a long way to promoting something new. (WebM? We'll see.)

The Amazon method (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32803942)

IMDB, Zappos, Audible, Woot. What do they all have in common? They're all owned by Amazon, but you'd hardly know it from the outside. Amazon has given these entities quite a bit of autonomy, allowing their existing brand and customer service to continue.

Over seas customer service sucks! and some times t (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32803946)

Over seas customer service sucks! and some times they don't have any idea what you saying or what they are saying.

Why can't we use people in prison for low level cheap phone centers?

Re:Over seas customer service sucks! and some time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32803996)

Over seas customer service sucks! and some times they don't have any idea what you saying or what they are saying.

Why can't we use people in prison for low level cheap phone centers?

Because, frequently, their English is worse than that of the overseas help desk folks!

Re:Over seas customer service sucks! and some time (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804292)

Why can't we use people in prison for low level cheap phone centers?

Because cruel and unusual punishment is unconstitutional...

Re:Over seas customer service sucks! and some time (1)

Krahar (1655029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804302)

Why can't we use people in prison for low level cheap phone centers?

"That's an awfully nice computer you just described to me. Sure would be a shame if someone came by and crushed it. Are you interested in an extended warranty?"
"Are you talking to me? Are are you talking to me? I will destroy you!!!"
"Oh hello little girl, sure I'll help you. You know, I'm in here for being a friend to a little girl just like you."
"How the hell should I know, I steal 'em, I don't fix 'em"

Re:Over seas customer service sucks! and some time (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804398)

Funny, our customers say the same thing! When they call for technical support they get someone speaking english with a horrible midwestern american accent!

(We have more clients in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada then we do in the States currently. So even though they are dialing a local in country number, it's being VOIPed to our office in St. Louis, Missouri!)

Re:Over seas customer service sucks! and some time (0, Offtopic)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804584)

I did level 1 technical support for a big software company (here in the US no less) for a number of years. The amount of information I had on anyone who called was always surprising to me (credit card numbers, what purchases you've made etc etc). The amount of information I could glean from customers just by asking was just as shocking (some of it was required for us to ask! - like collecting a credit card number for a billable case). I'm surprised actually we haven't seen more identity theft because of this.

Would you want a prisoner to know that stuff?

it's not about doing business better (4, Informative)

rev_sanchez (691443) | more than 4 years ago | (#32803948)

Takeovers are about reducing competition and increasing market share so the don't need to compete. One serious flaw in capitalism is that companies don't want to compete because it's difficult and generally not very profitable.

Re:it's not about doing business better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804254)

A large tech company spends way too much on acquisitions. The alternative is to actually invest in developing the technology and markets themselves. They usually have no shortage of talented developers. When a software developer thinks about competing the thought is to add a new feature or create architecture for a new product and ecosystem. When a ceo thinks about competing the thought is about market share and if cash is available the ceo can easily get market share by buying another product. Like you say this completely avoids any kind of competition and all that happened is the original product of the tech company generated enough cash to make this possible.

Microsoft have wasted a lot of money over the years on crap absolutely unrelated to what they did well.

Can a talented ceo using a heavy acquisitions strategy actually create a broader company actually admired by users,customers,software developers,shareholders?

Apple's recent success is due to concentrating on core business and actively developing entirely new markets from the inside out which is what real tech companies are all about.

     

Re:it's not about doing business better (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804758)

It actually ends up more efficient for everyone if just one company (or two or three for competition's sake) end up doing all the work in a particular area.

Unless you think everyone doing more work is actually a good thing (broken window fallacy springs to mind).

Re:it's not about doing business better (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32806318)

Yes, more efficient. Unfortunately, without the diversity and wide competition you get limited choice and unhealthy markets. They end up directing all of their efficiency at hoovering your wallet and giving you practically nothing in return.

Once corporations get large enough, they become indistinguishable from Soviet style planned economies except they don't even have to pay lip service to the workers.

Customer Support: not malice, it's bureaucracy (4, Interesting)

Nemilar (173603) | more than 4 years ago | (#32803990)

This past week I had two very interesting customer service experiences -- interesting because of just how different they were.

I spent probably 5 to 7 hours on the phone with HP technical support last week, trying to get them to assist me with a problem we were having with a pair of ProLiant servers. I was shuffled around to multiple departments (and, judging by the various accents, I would say I was probably shuffled to multiple continents as well), each one telling me that the next guy was the right guy to talk to about our issue (which of course he wasn't). This was for a fairly simple question about the functionality of one of their server administration tools, that no one seemed equipped to answer.

Conversely, we also had a hard disk in a ProLiant server go bad. With the serial and part numbers in hand, I was able to get a replacement shipped within 10 minutes.

The two completely different experiences I had suggests to me that when companies get large, they get very good at handling the common support problems, like bad hard disks. They develop procedures that save both the company and the customer lots of time, and are relatively painless. But what's lost is the ability to handle the out-of-the-ordinary service needs that customers have; the company is just too big, and the support guy (let's be frank, in some call center in India*) just doesn't have the resources or the knowledge to handle the problem. This leads to a frustrating experience -- whereas in a small company, these things tend to be handled quickly, because the support guy can escalate easily.

*HP doesn't even try to hide that their support is outsourced to India. If you log-on to their professional support, you can tell right away by the names.

Re:Customer Support: not malice, it's bureaucracy (1)

Minion of Eris (1574569) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804080)

Names don't mean anything by themselves. I work for a certain high tech company, in support, and we have people from 5 continents on my floor. There are more accents than skin tones. We are in Ontario.

Large banks and more (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804322)

Customer support at the large banks totally suck. They treat customers like some sort of necessary nuisance - even for help for trivial things; hence all the legislation that went through recently. Of course, the banks are finding a way around those laws to stick it to the little guy.

Take overs remove competition without competition, there's no need to treat the customer well because there's no need to. Case in point: The big 3 auto makers. For decades they had control of the US market and produced complete crap. It wasn't until the Japanese got here and kicked their asses that they started to get their act together - and then failed and got their bailouts.

Airlines. When an airline has a route completely locked up - they treat you like shit.

Cable companies: local monopolies stick it to the customers because they can.

Car dealerships have a legislated monopoly. Same thing - stick it to the little guy.

Power companies. Telephone companies. ISPs. You name it.

Larger = less competition = screw people because they can.

There are no exceptions.

Re:Customer Support: not malice, it's bureaucracy (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804700)

"But what's lost is the ability to handle the out-of-the-ordinary service needs that customers have; the company is just too big, and the support guy (let's be frank, in some call center in India*) just doesn't have the resources or the knowledge to handle the problem."

Sorry, but this IS intentional. Good support costs money-either upfront by designing products that don't require it or providing it. It's not bureaucracy that makes it hard to escalate a problem, it's policy.

It might not be malice and it certainly could be incompetence (of course, any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice) but it is most certainly deliberate.

Re:Customer Support: not malice, it's bureaucracy (1)

IICV (652597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804792)

HP doesn't even try to hide that their support is outsourced to India. If you log-on to their professional support, you can tell right away by the names.

What I really hate is when they tell their outsourced tech support representatives to lie to you about their names. They don't do it quite so much over the phone any more (I guess that's just too blantant), but you still get it in e-mail and chat conversations - you'll get people who claim their name is "John", but use the word "query" instead of "question" (which is something I've never seen a westerner do), or use other weird phrasings that I guess are common in India.

Also, I have to say that Adobe tech support is quite possibly the absolute worst tech support I've ever seen from a major company. They've actually outright lied to me just to get me off the phone.

(my company had bought licenses for Adobe Acrobat Standard, and I couldn't figure out how to download the actual software from anywhere. I thought maybe I could use the licenses on the Acrobat Pro demo and maybe it would activate as Standard, but it wasn't working. I explained this to Adobe tech support, and asked if there was a specific download for Acrobat Standard. They didn't know, so after being bounced around for a while the guy told me that it was probably because I had licenses for "the international version of Acrobat", and I'd downloaded the English-only version. There is no "international" version of Acrobat, as far as I can tell - just different versions for different language-sets. The real solution was that I had to pay another $20 just for the privilege of downloading Acrobat Standard, but I had the joy of figuring that out for myself (and that $20 wasn't coming back if I'd gotten it wrong))

Re:Customer Support: not malice, it's bureaucracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32806072)

Conversely, we also had a hard disk in a ProLiant server go bad. With the serial and part numbers in hand, I was able to get a replacement shipped within 10 minutes.

That's fantastic! Only 1 ten minute phone call to have a faulty component replaced? If HP get's any better

handling the common support problems

, they can save 16c per unit by not testing before delivery.

Not so much the size (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804014)

Not so much the size as the MO of large IT companies. Create a shell of sales, marketing and consulting while all development, maintenance and support is hollowed out and internally "outsourced" to units in very cheap countries. Even though the quality of all three go down they manage to win bids by in theory offering the same as their competitors for less. In practice it turns out much worse than expect, but that's quickly forgotten during the next round of contracts again with a tight budget.

Too much friction (3, Insightful)

kernelcache (1810198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804060)

A small company that has a few clients is more likely to provide very good support, as opposed to a large company with many clients. While large companies support large companies well, due to their capacity to effect change at scale, this is not the case of large companies supporting smaller companies. Typically, while say an account manager at a small company might do several things to streamline the benefits that their client(s) see, this may not be the case with larger companies which rely on various processes to get things through the pipe and ultimately down the line to their clients. Everything at scale will fail. One only has to look at government to see that being everything to everyone will ultimately not work. If you require 10 people to sign-off on a PO as opposed to 1 person then it's clear which PO gets completed first. Friction is the enemy of performance and the friend of low tolerance.

Acquisitions aren't even good for shareholders (3, Insightful)

zymurgy_cat (627260) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804130)

Something like half of all mergers/acquisitions fail to generate the returns expected. In such cases, it's usually the shareholders of the company being bought that reap the benefit (assuming they can dump whatever stock of the acquiring company they receive as part of their payment).

Think about it. It's basically a coin flip that company A buying company B will result in any benefit to the shareholders of A. If shareholders were truly wise, they'd tell management to just give them the cash they would have spent on acquiring a company. They'd make out better in the long run.

Re:Acquisitions aren't even good for shareholders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804486)

Biggest winner in medium size companies is often non-owner executives with new positions and share deals in the new company. It is a big incentive to go along with things at the least and then get out a bit later before it hits the fan. Often happens. Eliminating this incentive would help but then executives are usually big shareholders anyway. Making any benefits longer term would help a bit maybe. Really the only way to curb this is for big shareholders to seriously question executives and hold them very accountable during an acquisition process from either end.

Re:Acquisitions aren't even good for shareholders (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804644)

Think about it. It's basically a coin flip that company A buying company B will result in any benefit to the shareholders of A. If shareholders were truly wise, they'd tell management to just give them the cash they would have spent on acquiring a company. They'd make out better in the long run.

That does not follow. If half the acquired companies fail completely (i.e. produce 0 return) and the other half produce at 3x return, the shareholders of the acquiring company come out ahead too.

Re:Acquisitions aren't even good for shareholders (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32806356)

More like half produce a modest loss and half produce a modest gain. However, due to incestuous relations at the executive level, the CEOs nearly always come out ahead in the deals.

awesome summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804176)

It may seem better but it's worse. They say it's better but it's actually worse. Or to quote some guy: "in theory it's better, but it's really actually worse."

wasn't always this way (2, Interesting)

martyb (196687) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804222)

It wasn't until the late 80's IIRC, that the first software company takeover occurred: PR1ME Computer and MAI Basic4.

Up until then, software companies lived (and died) on their own. Though there was an awareness of takeovers in other industries, there was a pervasive sense that it would never happen in high tech. (At least at the companies I worked at.)

Then MAI Basic4 proposed a hostile takeover of the MUCH larger PR1ME Computer (where I was working at the time.). PR1ME took on a huge amount of debt to raise funds to buy out Bennet S. Lebow (sp?). Then followed several rounds of cost-cutting and layoffs.

I've survived several others since then. In every single case it had NO BENEFIT to the customer that I could see; it was ALL about corporate profits.

Yes, I know anecdote is not the singular of data, but thought I'd toss my first-hand experience into the discussion. (BTW this occurred not very long after Robert Morris unleashed the first internet worm; I was at PR1ME when that hit, too.)

Better for whom? (1)

Altrag (195300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804356)

Most people only consider one class of "customer" when they make these comments -- those customers that the small company originally had. The small company is by definition, small. The loss of a single customer (especially a larger customer with a lot of licenses) can be a disaster. So they spend a lot of time and money catering to their customers in the form of directed enhancements, timely bug fixes, support staff that know the product (and frequently the OS, other common products, etc that might cause problems with the product). These customers are most certainly going to lose out in terms of support when the small company is no longer small (whether by purchase or just by growing past a threshold). Large companies have a completely different focus on support -- handling the support load efficiently becomes more of a problem than ensuring that every single support issue gets handled appropriately. It turns into a form of the good old 80/20 rule (though I would guess that the numbers aren't 80 and 20).

There is however a second class of customer. This is all of the large company's customers that may not have ever heard of the small company. Assuming that the small company provides a useful service, the large company's customer base will be better off for having it available (and this will typically be the vast majority of the total number of customers, again by the definition of "small" and "large").

Of course, that argument only applies if the small company is actually small in terms of users. The internet has enabled a situation where a financially small company can still be huge in terms of user base, but in these situations there's a good chance that support will actually -improve- under the larger company, simply by the fact that the larger company will (typically) have a larger support staff relative to the total number of users.

And as always, these are "typical" scenarios. I'm aware that there's probably loads of counter-examples.

Re:Better for whom? (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804524)

Interesting theory. Can you give any particular examples where service improved?

My guess is that you can't, because now the support people are required to know a lot of things that previously they didn't need to know. So a smaller proportion of questions can be answered.

Takeovers/tech takeovers... (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804406)

While I am somewhat skeptical of a lot of the take-over-artistry that goes on, regardless of industry sector(there seem to be a number of places where, under the right circumstances, you can make substantial money by causing even more destruction that gets externalized in various clever legal-but-slimy ways. Any circumstances that encourage the best and brightest in finance to act as, in essence, high class smash-and-grab thieves is pathological any way you slice it.) I find the tech takeovers introduce an extra complication:

Software maintenance and development is Hard. Much ink has been spilled on the Best Practices of doing it; but a lot of firms are still just barely hanging on. Any disruption to their development process or roadmap can set them back months or years. Since, in many cases, the point of doing a tech acquisition is to offer a "total package" or a "solution" or a "suite" this means that, in addition to all the institutional and job-loss shakeups, you suddenly have two or more development teams, each bringing its own nasty legacy baggage to the party, trying to mash their products into some sort of "integrated solution".

At best, this is an evolutionary process. Over a period of time, they manage to evolve the products toward one another and eventually end up with something nice and coherent and refactored so forth. More commonly, major differences and glaring integration issues persist longer than the customer would like, and niggling little oddities persist for years. Sometimes, some mental giant decides to solve the hard problem of legacy by throwing one of the products away(generally the one that isn't his baby) and re-writing it from scratch in the idioms of the other product. Hello major feature and stability regressions...

We use Altiris some at work, and they were recently aquired by Symantec *scary background music plays* who has embarked on the "rewrite virtually from scratch" path. They have some sort of pie-in-the-sky vision of a "Symantec Total Endpoint Management Solution"; but, until they get that working, their support for the last pre-takeover version has gone to shit and the N+1 version has massive feature regressions, including stuff we use all the time, all over the place, and is thus unusable to us. Unless they get their act together fast, we may be forced to bail entirely. Win7 finally has something resembling adequate first-party imaging and deployment features, and there are other tools, including some OSS, for system inventory and remote control....

Nobody ever got fired (2010 edition) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32804600)

The driver for this trend is obvious. With the brutal cost cutting and streamlining going on across the board (except, perhaps, for the compensation of top executives), CIO's now need to be able to justify their continued employment by telling their CEO and board: "I cut the number of in-house applications from 900 to 150, the number of servers in the data center from 300 to 40, the number of IT suppliers from 23 to 6, the number of supported OS platforms from 12 to 4, the number of database platforms from 8 to 3 (etc)". Fewer sounds better and probably is better, even if those few cost more. Oracle, IBM, HP, Microsoft, SAP, and EMC are good candidates to survive the vendor cut list. Others, not so good.

Customer service (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804910)

Is really so 80's. Now shut up and buy this new widget from since there is no one else making them. And you WILL like it, or we will make you buy another in 6 months.

Benefit to shareholders (1)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804948)

Interesting that so many have asserted that the purpose for these large-scale mergers and/or acquisitions is to produce value for the shareholders. Any number of economic studies have shown that after a few years, the majority of such result in reduced shareholder value. A handful of executives make a lot of money; the investment bank(s) that orchestrate the acquisition make money; the shareholders on either side, not so much, if at all, unless they cash out quickly.

Having seen several from the inside, there's a secret code. When they say "synergy", they mean they're going to fire a whole bunch of engineers.

Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32805248)

I do NOT want Microsoft anywhere near my computer, my game console, my instant messaging system, my email accounts, my banking, my online transactions, ATMs, my cellphone, my car.

DO NOT WANT.

When you acquire a smaller company, I don't start using your products because it now says "Microsoft". In fact, if I'm using a product or a service from a company which you buy out, I stop using said products or services completely. You buy companies, not their userbase.

P.S.: The only Microsoft product I would use is toilet paper. Feel free to put your logo on every sheet.

Mergers (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32805320)

If all the bank, energy, media, communications, etc. mergers are any indication, I would say the customers are right. We certainly don't need any more "too big to fail" scenarios.

This is news?? (1)

mikein08 (1722754) | more than 4 years ago | (#32805488)

In ANY industry, the bigger the company the worse is the customer service. Period, end of story. No arguing. Customer service from Microsoft or Oracle? Surely you jest. Service from your local pc repair guy? Almost always. Any smart corporation will avoid Microsoft and Oracle product for critical applications. But most corporations are NOT smart.

Corporate Vs. Small Business (1)

helix2301 (1105613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32805838)

When a small company gets bought by a big company what the company gains with the funding they loose in the customer service that's just the nature of business in the modern day business market.

It sort of depends. (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 4 years ago | (#32805972)

There are different sort of takeovers, and they benefit different sorts of people.

For instance, when Microsoft bought FAST and incorporated the search into Sharepoint they made their sharepoint customers happy, however at the same time they ceased all development on the Unix and Linux versions. This merger obviously provided benefits to people, but not necessarily to the customers of the small entity.

As another example, when Oracle bought Sun, service went down hill rather dramatically and costs went up, on the other hand the alternative for Sun was likely bankruptcy so while as a Sun client you are worse off under Oracle compared to how Sun was, you're dramatically better off than you would have been under how Sun would have been.

Then there are win win instances like Google buying YouTube, YouTube is better resourced and still running, Google has a media distribution outlet.

Sometimes you get lose lose situations where a large company buys a small company to kill their product, which means the small companies existing customers screwed and the large companies customers don't get the benefits that increased competition might have brought to them.

Generally speaking of course the people who benefit from any merger are the people who own the companies involved. The people who own the buyer get rid of competition or gain a valuable asset, and the people doing the selling become stinking rich(or at least don't go broke), which is of course the reason sales are made in the first place.

Increase market share for the crash that is coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32806248)

Lets speculate that the world economy comes to a screeching halt. Say 20% what it is now.
If your market share is large, then you will survive and be able to rebuild quicker. Otherwise, if you've got little marketshare and income goes down by 80%, then you'll be battling with freelancers and small partnerships.

Maybe that's why they need a high market share, to be able to cut and rebuild.

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