Amazon was founded in the garage of Jeff Bozo’s rented home in Bellevue, Washington. Bezo’s parents invested almost $250,000 in the start-up. In July 1995, the company began service as an online bookstore. … In the first two months of business, Amazon sold to all 50 states and over 45 countries.

In October 2018 after a steady onslaught of bad press about its labor practices both in the US and beyond Amazon increased it’s minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour. One earlier report documented how some Amazon workers were forced to pee in water bottles to meet workplace demands, and another from July found some employees have suffered from workplace accidents that left them homeless.

Sales for Amazon surged passed $200 billion in 2018, increasing 31% to $232.9 billion, compared with $177.9 billion in 2017. Operating income in the year tripled, to $12.4 billion, compared with an operating income of $4.1 billion in 2017. There’s the rub. How much income tax did Amazon pay on that huge multi-billion dollar profit? Zero! To top it off, Amazon actually reported a $129 million 2018 federal income tax rebate—making its tax rate -1%!

Although and have more than earned their impressive growth by offering quality products at reasonable prices, with fast shipping, often overnight, and superb customer service, the same cannot be said for Everything from their dysfunctional website including a failed search engine, sporadic translation (often not available at all), and lost orders, no follow-up on orders delivered to the wrong address, fraudulent warranty on electronic items imported from the US (there is NO warranty), nonexistent customer service, and no way to contact anyone in management. Complain all you want to Amazon in the US but you will get nowhere because they say that Amazon Mexico is a separate company. Amazon in Mexico is destroying the excellent reputation that Amazon has worked so hard to earn. The way that Amazon Mexico operates with no accountability to Amazon in the US sends a warning to any Amazon operations in other countries.

In the mid-1870s Alexander Graham Bell, who was Scottish-born but lived in Canada, invented an analogue electromagnetic telecommunication device that could simultaneously transmit and receive human speech. In March 1876 he successfully patented his invention in the United States under the title of “Improvement In Telegraphy”. His device later adopted the name now used worldwide, the telephone. Bell also patented it in Canada and transferred 75% of the Canadian patent rights to his father, Alexander Melville Bell, with the remaining 25% of the Canadian interest being awarded to Boston telephone manufacturer Charles Williams Jr.

n 1879 Bell’s father sold his Canadian rights to the National Bell Telephone Company, formed in Boston, Massachusetts earlier that year by the merger of the Bell Telephone Company and the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, which in 1880 reorganized as the American Bell Telephone Company, initiating the Bell System. That same year the Canadian division was renamed to “The Bell Telephone Company of Canada Ltd.”.

Since its early years The Bell Telephone Company of Canada, Ltd. had been known colloquially as “The Bell” or “Bell Telephone”. On March 7, 1968, Canadian federal legislation renamed The Bell Telephone Company of Canada, Ltd. to Bell Canada. Bell Canada Enterprises (later shortened to BCE) was formed as the parent company to Bell Canada and Northern Telecom. As a result of the stock transaction used by Northern Telecom to purchase Bay Networks, BCE ceased to be the majority owner of Nortel, and in 2000, BCE spun out its share of Nortel, distributing its holdings to its shareholders. Between 1980 and 1997, the federal government fully deregulated the telecommunications industry and Bell Canada’s monopoly largely ended. That monopoly had allowed Bell to grow without any competition.

Facing stiffer and new competition from companies like Rogers Communications Bell expanded to other services such as internet and satellite and expanded its customer service operations by establishing call centers across Canada. Employees were well trained and well paid. They could also earn substantial bonuses by selling Bell services.

That all ended with a reorganization with closing all their call centers and contracting customer service to third party companies, many of them overseas in places like Honduras, the Philippines, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic . Staff in all these third party call centers were poorly trained, could barely understand English and were even more poorly paid. One long-term employee who worked at Bell’s call center in London, Ontario earned $72,000 with all her bonus payments. When the center closed she was offered a job at what was then called Stream Global Services and she was offered $24,000. Stream was a despicable company that treated employees like it was back in the fifties. They had performance metrics that were impossible to achieve meaning no bonuses. One metric was earned by reducing your average call times meaning you could not properly serve the customer. Numerous human rights abuses, such as telling one employee that if she took time off for surgery she would lose her seniority and be forced to start all over on the night shift to earn her way back to the day shift. When one employee submitted a damning confidential report to Bell Canada management, detailing the numerous violations, including defrauding a customer, Bell sent the report to Stream management and the employee was wrongfully dismissed without notice and not paid any termination wages. Unemployment Insurance Canada reversed the failure to pay for notice and commented that they had hundreds of cases filed against Stream.

In 2014 Stream Global Services was acquired by Convergys of  Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s 125,000 employees, now also based in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica, provide what they call customer service to major corporations like Bell, Rogers, HP, Microsoft, and Dell. No doubt customers of these companies think they are actually talking to people who work at these companies. Nothing but lies.

Matt Heaton first conceived BlueHost in 1996. However, he first created two other web hosts, and, before finally settling on BlueHost in 2003. In 2010, BlueHost was acquired by Endurance International Group. In June 2011, company founder Matt Heaton announced on his blog that he was stepping down as CEO to focus on the company hosting platform’s design and technical structure. In January 2017, the company announced that it will lay off 440 employees at Utah, in an effort to consolidate its business to “improve customer support”.

For many years BlueHost had the best technical support in the business. Part of the reason that BlueHost grew to be one of the largest hosting companies in the business with over two million clients. One client who had been with them for more than ten years couldn’t say enough about how impressed he was with their knowledgeable support agents. That all changed when the company laid off all of its domestic technical support workers and went overseas for technical support. They barely understand English, which is particularly bad with complicated technical issues, badly trained and no doubt paid poorly. Having had the best technical assistance they now have the worst.

BlueHost, like many other EIG-owned companies, is known for outsourcing technical support to countries with much lower cost-of-living like India, which results in a rather frustrating experience at times. It’s not as easy to communicate about technical troubles with a non-native English speaking person who often has a hard time understanding your problem.” –

The company, first named PC’s Limited, was founded in 1984 by American Michael Dell, who was then a student at the University of Texas in Austin. Initially running the business from a dormitory room, Dell started out providing customized upgrades for PCs. The venture proved profitable, and Dell dropped out of college that same year to begin building PCs. In 1985 the company released the Turbo PC, the first computer featuring Dell’s own design. Founded on the premise of creating and selling custom-built PCs directly to consumers, the company initially sold its products through advertisements and mail-order catalogs. By avoiding the costs associated with traditional retail markets, Dell was able to offer high-quality PCs at competitive prices. Dell emphasized customer support, sending technicians to service PCs and implementing a policy of risk-free returns. This business model proved successful, and the company quickly grew, expanding into international markets. The company, renamed Dell Computer Corporation, went public in 1988.

Dell released its first notebook computer in 1989. The following years were marked by advancements in Dell’s mobile technology. In 1991 Dell’s first colour notebook computer went on sale, and in 1994 Dell was the first company to offer long-lasting lithium-ion batteries. In 1996 Dell began selling PCs online and also used the internet for customer support. Online sales helped Dell overtake the Compaq Computer Corporation in 1999 as the largest seller of PCs in the United States.

Dell expanded its product line to include televisions, digital cameras, and a variety of computer-related products. In 2003 the company was renamed Dell Inc. to signify a move into the broader consumer electronics market. In 2016 the company and an investment firm acquired EMC, an American corporation that specialized in data storage. The merger, valued at approximately $60 billion, was the largest technology deal at the time.

Dell originally manufactured desktop computers at a state of the art facility in Austin, but they closed the plant in 2009 with the loss of some fifteen hundred jobs.  On January 8, 2009 Dell announced the closure of its manufacturing plant in Limerick, Ireland with the loss of 1,900 jobs and the transfer of production to its plant in Poland. Dell now manufactures in Brazil, Poland, China, Malaysia and India.

On April 23, 2008, Dell announced the closure of one of its biggest Canadian call-centers in Kanata, Ontario, terminating approximately 1100 employees, with 500 of those redundancies effective on the spot, and with the official closure of the center scheduled for the summer. The call-center had opened in 2006 after the city of Ottawa won a bid to host it. Less than a year later, Dell Inc. planned to double its workforce to nearly 3,000 workers and to add a new building. Journalists cited a high Canadian dollar and suggested high pay-rates as among the reasons for the cuts. The company had also announced the shutdown of its Edmonton, Alberta office, losing 900 jobs. In total, Dell announced the ending of about 8,800 jobs in 2007-2008 — 10% of its workforce.

Originally known for its high level of customer service the company began to collapse with numerous manufacturing quality issues, low moral, crashing stock prices, and the loss of numerous senior executives. Michael Dell returned to the role of CEO and Chairman in 2007, promising to restore the company to its former glory, but he has done little to improve customer service that the company was once famous for. Complaints about quality and poor customer service abound all over the internet, with many former loyal customers warning people to never buy Dell. As the owner of several Dell laptops over the past decade this reviewer agrees. Instead of fixing the problem, no doubt at zero cost, Dell has replaced defective keyboard overlays where the writing wears off the keys prematurely, nine times in four countries, at a cost of thousands under warranty. The solution was first proposed to Dell back in 2007 but they have done nothing.

Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, all of whom were students at Harvard University. Facebook became the largest social network in the world, with more than one billion users as of 2012, and about half that number were using Facebook every day. Originally called Facemash, then TheFacebook it soon became simply Facebook. Today there are 2.38 billion users, although many are coming under increasing scrutiny as being fake.

Since inception in 2004 Facebook’s growth has been exponential, eclipsing its former rival, MySpace. Early on Facebook reached a million users but MySpace had five million at the time. Today MySpace is pretty well gone.

Facebook is reportedly considering a merger of its three messaging platforms – WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger – allowing users to send messages between the networks for the first time. Antitrust experts have noted that the merger of the three apps could make it harder to force Facebook to spin off WhatsApp or Instagram in the future, if a competition commissioner decided to force a demerger for anti-monopoly reasons.

There have been many other mistakes such as the data breach with Cambridge Analytica. Mark faced a lot of questions before the US Congress and has now been summoned to a similar appearance in Canada, although he hasn’t yet shown up and is at risk of being held in contempt of parliament. In his appearance before Congress Mark said they were hiring ten thousand more workers to deal with privacy and security issues.

Lately Facebook has been losing users in North America to Instagram which is proving to be far more popular with younger social media users. Although it’s still a young platform Facebook is now becoming the network for your parents and grandmother.

A very frustrating part of the Facebook experience is the lack of help using it. In the majority of cases there is no online help or documentation, or it is not up-to-date. Filing a help request more often than not simply gets a “we’re investigating” message and no real help from a real person. Facebook has also made so many changes that many sites outside of Facebook that try to help are quickly outdated.

Bill Gates and Paul Allen officially established Microsoft on April 4, 1975, with Gates as the CEO. The original name of “Micro-Soft” (short for microcomputer software) was suggested by Allen. In August 1977 the company formed an agreement with ASCII Magazine in Japan, resulting in its first international office, “ASCII Microsoft” Microsoft moved its headquarters to Bellevue, Washington in January 1979. Withe release of Windows 1.0. Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985, as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world’s personal computer (PC) market with over 90% market share, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced in 1984. In 1990, Microsoft introduced its office suite, Microsoft Office. The suite bundled separate productivity applications, such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. On May 22, Microsoft launched Windows 3.0, featuring streamlined user interface graphics and improved protected mode capability for the Intel 386 processor. Both Office and Windows became dominant in their respective areas.

After decades of phenomenal growth there are rumors now that Microsoft is dying. Much of their success was built on the strong and growing desktop market but that has died now in favor of web based applications. People are using laptops, smart phones, tablets, TV and other devices to work and play.

Microsoft’s biggest weakness is that they still don’t realize how much they suck. They still think they can write software in house. Maybe they can, by the standards of the desktop world. But that world ended a few years ago.” –

A company like Adobe actually likes what it is doing. It keeps its foot on the gas pedal and improves its products at a breakneck speed. This is the antithesis of Microsoft, which prefers to fret about the future and give up on products. As an example: the tale of Microsoft FrontPage, the long-dead Web development tool, is worth a Harvard case study.

This lack of self-confidence dominates Microsoft. It results in a lackluster response by the public to things such as the Windows Phone. That handset OS should be marketed as the only alternative to Apple’s iOS. Android should be seen as just an iOS clone, which it is. Yet how is Windows Phone marketed? What is its image? I have no idea; neither does Microsoft. When does Windows Phone come up in the conversation about smartphones? Never. How often was it mentioned during the iPhone 6 roll-out? Not at all. Does Microsoft ever leverage the fact that it invented the idea of a smartphone? Nope.

Microsoft is a company that lost its mojo and self-confidence in the late 1990s and has no clue what to do about it.

Maybe defending its turf, rather than surrendering, would be a start. It could fight back with a serious rebuke of the cloud and market against it—the stupid cloud is a counter-revolutionary concept taking us all back to centralized computing, where users have no control at all. But instead it buys into the whole idea! It’s mind-boggling.

Well, at least now the Microsofties can spend time playing Minecraft in their copious spare time, in between bouts of worry and self-doubt.” –

The problem with Microsoft has been that they’ve missed the boat on so many on so many new and promising ideas, plus they stopped listening to their customers. Gmail addressed the many issues with Hotmail and quickly became the standard for email. Outlook came too late to stop stem the tide to Gmail. Both Outlook and Hotmail are still riddled with junk mail, something Gmail does a lot better with. Internet Explorer was a problem stricken browser but still had a strong user base partly because it was Microsoft. Again, Google outdid them by launching a far better browser with a much improved interface and it soon became the dominant web browser, leaving IE and even the newer Edge far behind. Windows Phone was a total disaster.

Various versions of Windows were equal disasters, so bad that people stuck with Win95 for a decade. The release of Office 2013 was yet another disaster when programmers at Microsoft did away with the multiple colors available in earlier versions. That brought on hundreds of complaints, most critically from visually impaired users who could not longer see their screens now limited to dark grey, light grey or nothing. After hundreds of complaints posted online Microsoft finally responded, but in the most stupid, arrogant way that only infuriated people. “We’re currently measuring pain points”. What does that mean?

All it will take to finish Microsoft off is for someone with deep pockets, like a Google, to develop a better operating system, probably one that runs on the internet and on any device.