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If GM Merged with Microsoft

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In this day of corporate mergers, takeovers, and conglomerates, we end up with some interesting combinations. I did a blog post some time back about this. Today's post is about what would happen if General Motors (a.k.a. Government Motors) merged with Microsoft. Let's take a look at some of the upsides and the downsides.

Computer companies often have a customer service telephone number where lovely young men and women in India try to help customers with their computer woes. GM doesn't have a "help line" for people who don't know how to drive, because people don't buy cars like they buy computers. But if the two companies merged, here are some examples of what calls to GM's HelpLine might sound like as GM had to deal with what computer companies deal with all the time:

HELPLINE: "General Motors HelpLine, how can I help you?"

CUSTOMER: "I got in my car and closed the door, and nothing happened!"

HELPLINE: "Did you put the key in the ignition slot and turn it?"

CUSTOMER: "What's an ignition?"

HELPLINE: "It's a starter motor that draws current from your battery and turns over the engine."

CUSTOMER: "Ignition?! Starter motor?! Battery?! Engine?! How come I have to know all of these technical terms just to use my car?!"


HELPLINE: "General Motors HelpLine, how can I help you?"

CUSTOMER: "My car ran fine for a week, and now it won't go anywhere!"

HELPLINE: "Is the gas tank empty?"

CUSTOMER: "Huh? How do I know!?"

HELPLINE: "There's a little gauge on the front panel, with a needle, and markings from 'E' to 'F.' Where is the needle pointing?"

CUSTOMER: "I see an 'E' but no 'F'."

HELPLINE: "You see the 'E' ... and just to the right is the 'F'."

CUSTOMER: "No, just to the right of the first 'E' is a 'V'.

HELPLINE: "A 'V'?!?"

CUSTOMER: "Yeah, there's a 'C', an 'H', the first 'E', then a 'V', followed by 'R', 'O', 'L' ..."

HELPLINE: "No, no, no sir! That's the front of the car. When you sit behind the steering wheel, that's the panel I'm talking about."

CUSTOMER: "That steering wheel thingy — is that the round thing that honks the horn?"

HELPLINE: "Yes, among other things."

CUSTOMER: "The needle's pointing to 'E.' What does that mean?"

HELPLINE: "It means that you have to visit a gasoline vendor and purchase some more gasoline. You can install it yourself, or pay the vendor to install it for you."

CUSTOMER: "What!?" I paid $32,000. for this car! Now you tell me that I have to keep buying more components? I want a car that comes with everything built in!"


HELPLINE: "General Motors HelpLine, how can I help you?"

CUSTOMER: "Your cars stink!"

HELPLINE: "What's wrong?"

CUSTOMER: "It crashed — that's what went wrong!"

HELPLINE: "What were you doing?"

CUSTOMER: "I wanted to run faster, so I pushed the accelerator pedal all the way to the floor. It worked for a while, and then it crashed — and now it won't start at all!"

HELPLINE: "Ma'am, it's your responsibility if you misuse the product."

CUSTOMER: "Misuse it? I was just following your owner's manual. It said to make the car go to put the transmission in 'D' and press the accelerator pedal. That's exactly what I did — and now it's crashed."

HELPLINE: "Did you read the entire operator's manual before operating the car sir?"

CUSTOMER: "What? Of course I did! I told you I did everything the manual said, and it didn't work!"

HELPLINE: "Didn't you attempt to slow down so you wouldn't crash?"

CUSTOMER: "How do you do THAT?"

HELPLINE: "You said you read the entire manual, ma'am. It's on page 14 — you use the pedal next to the accelerator."

CUSTOMER: "OK, so I don't have all day to sit around and memorize your manual, you know."

HELPLINE: "Of course not. But what do you expect us to do about that?"

CUSTOMER: "I want you to send me one of the latest versions that goes fast and won't crash anymore!"


HELPLINE: "General Motors HelpLine, how can I help you?"

CUSTOMER: "Hi! I just bought my first car, and I chose your car because it has automatic transmission, cruise control, power steering, power brakes, and power door locks."

HELPLINE: "Thanks for buying our car. How can I help you?"

CUSTOMER: "How do I work it?"

HELPLINE: "Do you know how to drive?"

CUSTOMER: "Do I know how to what?"

HELPLINE: "Do you know how to drive?"

CUSTOMER: "I'm not a technical person! I just want to go places in my car!"


I've seen several lists of what would happen if Microsoft really were part of building cars. I thought these classics should be part of my blog archives. Enjoy reading them for the first time, or enjoy seeing some old favorites with a few news added.

1. If you were involved in a crash, you would have no idea what had happened.

2. When you applied the brakes, a panel on the dashboard would light up saying, "Are you sure you want to stop?"

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason, and you would just accept this, restart, and drive on.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver would cause your car to stop and fail to restart. You would have to re-install the engine. For some strange reason, you would accept this too.

5. Sometimes a message would appear on the dash saying, " The gearbox cannot access the differential — do you wish to – CONTINUE – RETRY – ABORT?"

6. People would get excited about the "new" features in Microsoft cars, forgetting completely that they had been available in other cars for many years.

7. Sometimes, for no reason, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed the radio antenna.

8. If you upgraded your tires, you would have to buy a new car because the tires would not be backwards compatible.

9. New seats would force everyone to have the same size bottom.

10. The airbag system would say "are you sure?" before going off.

11. We'd all have to switch to Microsoft gas.

12. You would press the START button to shut off the engine.

My wife did a blog post this past weekend about our daughter Nora's bridal shower the previous weekend.

I look forward to my readers' additions to either part of my post.


"God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change ... the courage to change the one I can ... and the wisdom to know it is I." — unknown

=^..^= =^..^=

A computer's attention span is as long as its power cord or battery life.

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5 Comments on “If GM Merged with Microsoft”

  1. #1 Vikki
    on Feb 21st, 2011 at 9:12 am

    If Microsoft built cars:

    A particular model year of car wouldn’t be available until after that year, instead of before.

    Whenever you bought a car, you would have to reorganize the ignition a few days until it worked.

    Every time Microsoft introduced a new car, car buyers would have to learn to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

    Rob adds: Good additions, Vikki. I’ve seen those on some lists, but didn’t include them when I pared mine down. I thought I’d let some of them come back in in the comments.

  2. #2 Donna Lawrence
    on Feb 21st, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    While we were extras on the 1920s film, my 7-year-old was poking around one of the “Vintage” cars they were using as props. He was totally fascinated by the fact that you could roll down the window with this little handle, and the car did not even have to be turned on for it to work!

    Rob adds: It’s like I was as a child playing with my grandparents Victrola. We wound it up and played records, thinking how modern we were with our electric record players that could play both 33 1/3 and 45 RPM records. It’s weird to think how archaic our “technology” will look to people in a few years.

  3. #3 Melissa Endres
    on Feb 22nd, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Yet even more reasons to own a Mac. 😮

    Rob adds: I like Macs, but the prices are prohibitive. I’d love to have an iPad though. 🙂

  4. #4 Sue
    on Feb 22nd, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Hee hee… where is the “like” button? =)

    Rob adds: 😀

  5. #5 Cody Quam
    on Mar 10th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    if facebook were to merge with GM then the car accident rates would go up because people would be too busy playing farmville

    Rob adds: That would be no temptation in our car, Cody. 😀