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Summary:

Software companies often have a difficult time providing good customer service and a recent experience points out how not to support your program by alienating an entire platform to save spending a couple of thousand bucks on a Tablet PC.  The following is an exchange I […]

Software companies often have a difficult time providing good customer service and a recent experience points out how not to support your program by alienating an entire platform to save spending a couple of thousand bucks on a Tablet PC.  The following is an exchange I had recently with the Copernic customer support team.  This exchange was in reference to a bug support I submitted through the Copernic Desktop Search program to report that the lastest version of CDS does not work properly on Tablet PCs as it causes the TIP to flash uncontrollably, thus rendering the Desktop Search toolbar useless.  I have omitted the Copernic representative’s names to avoid undue embarrasment.  Full transcript after the jump.

JK:  Description of the problem:
    The desktop bar does not work at all with Tablet PCs.  (This was accompanied by a complete system info listing that CDS generated for the customer support team)

Copernic:  Subject: RE: [630761] Copernic Desktop Search Bug Report (Build 624 ENG)

We are sorry you have trouble with CDS.
What kind of problem do you have exactly with the toolbar?  Could you be
a little more precise please?

Can you enable it and see it on the Windows taskbar?
What happen if you type keywords and try to search?

Thank you for your time.

JK:  On a Tablet PC whenever the cursor is put in a text entry field such as
the Copernic Deskbar in the taskbar a floating icon appears that lets
Tablet owners enter text using the pen.  On the Copernic Deskbar this
icon flickers uncontrollably and makes it impossible for Tablet PC
owners to use the Deskbar as you cannot enter text into the box.

There are several Tablet PC owners complaining about this in response to
an article I published about the new version of Copernic on my website:

http://jkontherun.blogs.com/jkontherun/2005/02/copenic_desktop.html

I have the same problem with my Tablet PC too and unfortunately this
makes it impossible to use on that platform.  I previously published an
article about Copernic on my website and am quoted on the Copernic web
site in the Blogs section.  The problem appears to be related to how the
Copernic deskbar is updating the graphical appearance of the deskbar.

Hope this helps and that a fix can be forthcoming pretty quickly.  It
might also be a good idea for Copernic to respond to the above comments
on my website as this article will be read by tens of thousands of
readers.

Copernic:  Thanks for your feedback.  This is really appreciated.  Your bug report
has been sent to the development and I will keep you posted.

Copernic:  Do you have Cursor XP installed on your tablet PC?

JK:  No I do not.  I have heard this complaint from four different Tablet PC users with different hardware and software.

Copernic:  Did you enable "Write anywhere" on your Tablet PC?
If so, could you try this:
Disable the Write Anywhere feature

To disable the Write Anywhere feature, you must first uncheck "show the Turn on Write Anywhere button on the title bar".

[They included a screenshot of this dialog box here]

JK:  Hi. There is no Write Anywhere in the current version of the Tablet OS- the screen you are showing here is from the old version of the Tablet OS.

Copernic:  We have a new version of CDS.  Would you mind to download it and see if it behaves differently with your tablet PC?

CDS 1.5 build 638:

If the problem still exist then I am afraid there is nothing we can do for now. 
We cannot recreate your problem with an image of the Operating system of Windows XP for tablet PC on a traditionnal PC. 
We do not have access to a real Tablet PC and unfortunately, we do not
plan to buy one soon.   

The problem you reported will still be noted as a known problem and if ever we have the chance to have a Tablet PC then we will surely try to fix this problem.

I thank you for your understanding.

So the end result is they don’t have a Tablet PC, don’t intend to get one soon so they can support the platform properly, but want me to see if the newest beta version of CDS works better on the Tablet.  Since they don’t have a Tablet if it did work better it would be totally by accident, wouldn’t it?  Needless to say I removed CDS from my Tablet weeks ago (this exchange took place over a month long period) and am not going to try this new version since they have told me they don’t test it on the Tablet PC.  I give them credit for continuing to follow through with this process, even if in a misguided fashion, but to tell a customer with problems that they do not test the program on a platform with a million installed users, well, that’s kind of stupid, isn’t it?

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  2. Given that they’re up against Google and Microsoft in this market, I’ve got to say that’s more than a little shocking.

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  3. I had the same experience. Had to repeat my information several times, and when she emailed me asking if I had write-anywhere on, I knew they didn’t have access to a current TPC. Oh well.

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  4. Whats even more shocking is thats its not true, you can installed Windows XP Tablet Edition on a normal PC, I had to create a Windows XP Tablet Edition “SOE” for a client here and using that same process, can load up Windows XP Tablet Edition on a normal PC, its unusual true but it can be done and tested. They are just lazy and haven’t done much research into how to get Tablet edition OS on a normal PC.

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  5. OK, we hear you.

    We will go out today and buy a Tablet PC and try and work out any glitches with CDS support.

    We are very proud of the fact that we offer free and very responsive email technical support, and you actually get to talk with a real live person that gives you her name. Try getting that from the major portals…

    David Burns
    CEO – Copernic

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  6. For those of you following comments here, I’ve been in touch with with two executives at Copernic today who have, like David, acknowledged the problem and are taking active steps to correct it. They have a Tablet (or two) in house now and I’ve already heard from their VP of Technology that a fix is in development and should be released for testing shortly.

    Everyone makes a misstep here and there. This is an amazingly agile response from Copernic and I think they should be congratulated for recognizing and responding to the concerns that the Tablet PC community has raised.

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  7. Thanks for the update, Marc. You saved me the trouble. :)

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  8. Any update on this? After over a month, have they resolved/fixed it?

    FWIW, I too have had odd conversations with Copernic. Several of them documented in my blog (http://bloggit.livejournal.com), noting that they misrepresent the product features and they don’t handle moved Thunderbird files well. But it’s still up in the top two Desktop Search Products. (If MSN Desktop adds Thunderbird, it will be a distant second though. Fortunately for Copernic, that doesn’t seem likely.)

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