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Apr 09

What happens when a vendor sells an outdated product?

I have been a longtime user of Copernic’s Agent Professional – So long, that I found a receipt for it from 1999.  Agent Professional is described as a Meta-Search tool, sending a search query to multiple search engines, parsing the results, and presenting a filtered list back to the user.  The product has worked reliably for years, with only the occasional bugs.

Copernic Agent Pro Main Screen

Main Screen of Copernic Agent Pro - Why would anyone in 2011 be searching to buy a 10-year-old operating system?


Of course, Copernic hasn’t developed a new version since 2004.  The proprietary search engine database that they claim has 1,000 search engines is infrequently updated, and cannot have new engines added by users.  The software refuses to work under Windows Vista or Windows 7, forcing me to run it under Windows 7’s Virtual XP Mode.

While the software seems to work fine with newer browsers (I’ve updated my Virtual XP Mode to Internet Explorer 8), unless you’re running IE, or have an older copy of Netscape Navigator or Opera, you’re out of luck for integrating the browser enhancements.  Want to integrate with Outlook, Excel or Word?  Unless you’re running Office 2000 or XP, it won’t work.

Copernic Agent Pro Categories

Categories Screen: How many of these search engines still exist today?

Of course, in the 7 years since it was last developed, we’ve seen the evolution of the web to Web 2.0.  Blogs, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have all come on the scene.  The product can’t search them (They claim to support MySpace, but I’ve not been successful in searching it – not like there are that many still using it).  Even Google gets shafted by their search in favor of CompuServe and Netscape Netcenter.

Yet, I can go out to Copernic’s web site and buy a copy of the program, and the two sister programs, Tracker and Summarizer.  Yet, other than the “personal” version of Agent, none of these will work with current Operating Systems.  Despite repeated requests by the “millions of users” of the product, all development has essentially stopped.

With Web 3.0 around the corner, it is long past time for this company to put developing the next version of these applications on a fast track.  If not, then stop selling a product that cannot meet the system requirements of newer PC’s.

Copernic was recently taken private by N. Harris Computer Corporation.  I put the challenge out to the corporate leadership of the new owners to get this division back on track and supporting their customers.

About the author

Michael Jones

Michael Jones is the founder of On The Spot Communications and On The Spot Blog.

A native of Ottawa, Kansas (approximately 60 miles South-West of Kansas City), he was born in the early 70's and lived most of his early life without traveling far from home.

He has since lived in Lenexa, Kansas (suburb of Kansas City), Houston, Texas, and now resides in Frisco, Texas (north of Dallas, Texas). He has had the experience of traveling to Tokyo, Japan and Tel Aviv, Israel, as well as numerous places around the USA.

A self-professed computer geek, when Michael's not working in his telecommunications job, he enjoys Model Railroading and Paintball.

Michael Jones is the founder of On The Spot Communications and On The Spot Blog.
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