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Google struggling to support angry Nexus One buyers

Prince McLean, AppleInsider

New owners of the Nexus One are complaining that they can’t find answers to support issues from Google, and that they’re being passed back and forth between it, HTC, and T-Mobile.

Google struggling to support angry Nexus One buyers
.A report by PC World detailed several of the hundreds of complaints users have posed to Google’s support forums.

Prior to the phone’s launch, many pundits predicted that Google’s positive brand familiarity with consumers would give it a strong position to market a smartphone. However, the new smartphone (or “superphone” as Google executives like to call it) is the company’s first attempt at selling hardware to consumers.

Like Microsoft, Google is discovering that selling software (or in Google’s case, giving away free software supported by ads) is a very different business than selling and supporting hardware.

Despite its global domination of the PC operating system and productivity suite markets, Microsoft has struggled to even break even with its Xbox franchise as support issues ballooned into a $1.4 billion write-off. The company’s effort to push the Zune against the iPod fell completely flat, even with major retail partners lined up to promote it.

Google avoided the difficult business of retail in the launch of the Nexus One. The phone was designed and built by HTC but is marketed and sold by Google directly from its website.

However, customers buying the device are finding that Google’s level of customer support is limited to email, which is only answered in a day or two. There’s no direct phone support available at all.

That might be sufficient for users of free software, but it isn’t being received well by customers who spent $540 on the new unlocked device. Users who went to T-Mobile or HTC reported getting a general runaround and bad support there as well, with some users complaining that they were told the phone doesn’t support 3G at all.

One user in the report said he’d spent an hour and a half being transferred between HTC and T-Mobile after Google failed to help. “T-Mobile also said Google hasn’t provided them with any support documents for the phone. Welcome to direct sales Google!” the user complained.

Another user facing similar issued wrote, “I guess I was under the wrong impression but I thought Google would handle the service on the phone.”

Apple has faced some issues at each launch of new iPhone models, but had resources in place to handle those issues based on its decades-long experience in selling and supporting consumer electronics.

When launching the iPhone, Apple staunchly insisted that AT&T and other carrier partners allow it to handle much of the customer support itself, which helped to head off the problem of users being passed back and forth between the hardware vendor, the carrier, and the software developer.

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  • gus2000

    Ah, poor Google. Apple made it look so easy, didn’t they?

  • http://ObamaPacman.com ObamaPacman

    Google’s direct support is always very poor. For example it’s hard to set up international payment with google checkout.

  • aftershave

    Even Yahoo is mature enough to provide an 800 number so you can talk to an actual human. I’ve had problems with my domains and got it all sorted within 15 minutes by telephone.

    Google, on the other hand, is just a nightmare to deal with when you have a problem. Part of the reason why I haven’t joined this “OMG CLOUD COMPUTING” frenzy is because the preeminent cloud services provider is utterly disinterested in helping its customers to troubleshoot stuff on a timely basis. Sometimes it’s very difficult to communicate things over email or on a discussion forum — you need a live person to talk to.

    If the nerd demographic is getting frustrated with Google’s tech support, imagine the chaos when regular people buy the phone. No Google Stores in your mall, I bet.

  • http://ObamaPacman.com ObamaPacman

    And good luck getting support on this Android Market Approved phishing app made by scammers:
    http://obamapacman.com/2010/01/banking-scam-app-android-market-approved-not-on-iphone-app-store/

  • gus2000

    “Don’t worry, Nexus Two won’t have any of the problems that Nexus One had.”

  • 4miler

    I am dubious about Google’s quality of email support. I’ve been a Gmail user since it came out, and email support is virtually non-existent.

    As evidence of Google’s poor customer support — I was once on Gmail’s suggestion website where users put in suggestions. I noticed spam, and a search for shoes, clothes etc yielded numerous spam emails that were literally many months old. This suggested to me that Google staff were not reading the suggestion website, because if they had, then surely they would have deleted the spam. That was proof to me that Google staff were not reading the user websites.

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  • osmosisinc

    Heh, We just stopped pushing $30,000/yr at Google for their Adwords product. Yeah, small potatoes compared to some, but we have never spoken to anyone at Google. Ever. Even when I have asked for support. Hell, even Fed-Ex pops by once and awhile for our piddly small-potatoes account!

    If they can’t support anyone that uses their flagship product, how are they going to support a bunch of end-users?

    I get “don’t be evil”, but Google could at least pretend to try to give half a s**t about anything but implementation.

    I don’t mean to start the Google Lovefest flame-wars here, but I for one am completely over them. My apologies to the devoted.

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