Microsoft Creates New Spoken Language For Tech Support

Fake News written by James Baughn on Thursday, January 10, 2002

from the what-language-do-you-want-to-learn-today? dept.

REDMOND, WA -- In an effort to reduce tech support turnaround times while cutting costs, Microsoft announced today the creation of a new spoken language to be used by its tech support workers. This language, code-named "Billglish", will enable callers to summarize their problem and allow technicians to offer a solution without wasting valuable seconds.

A Microsoft spokesperson claims that the new language can compress random tech support conversations by a factor of nearly 100.

"If we can reduce the average tech support call from 18 minutes down to 18 seconds, then we can pink-slip 15% of our staff while reducing tech support waiting times by 95%," explained the Microserf. "It's a win-win situation, except for those unlucky tech support workers who will have to seek employment at Dell or (shudder) AOL."

Under Billgrish(tm), the English sentence "Please format your hard drive and re-install Windows" can be compressed to the statement "GOTO 10" for a conservation of several valuable seconds.

The new language uses a syntax based on BASIC mixed with some elements from the half-English-half-gibberish language that the Microsoft Marketing Department employs. For instance:


English: My Windows 98 system displays a 'Fatal Exception Error' message and crashes when I access the Start Menu about 10% of the time.

Billglish: INTERMITTENT ISSUE START MENU CODE 1
["Code 1" refers to a system crash with a Blue Screen Of Death. Since "crash", "bluescreen", and "bug" are curse words at Microsoft, the euphemisms "intermittent issue" and "Code 1" are used instead.]


English: I get a Registry corruption error when I boot.

Billglish: REGISTRY ISSUE
[The appropriate tech support response to this statement is, "GOTO 10"]


English: How do I turn off the Dancing Paper Clip in Word?

Billglish: DEL CLIPPIT
[The appropriate response is "LET VERSION = VERSION + 1" which means "Upgrade to the next version of Word" but doesn't actually specify whether the latest version of Word allows you to delete the Paperclip or not]


English: I've designed an HTML 4.0 compliant website but Internet Explorer 5.5 barfs and renders it completely wrong even though Mozilla works fine.

Billglish: EVIL HTM WINDOWS ISSUE
[First, Internet Explorer is never mentioned by name because it is supposed to be integrated with Windows. Next, any non-Microsoft product or industry standard is labeled with the generic term "EVIL". Finally, all acronyms are chopped to three letters in the same manner as extensions on MS-DOS filenames. The usual response to this query is, "LET SOLUTION = FRONTPAGE" which means "Use Frontpage to design your site instead" ("Solution" refers to any Microsoft product).]


English: My system has been ravaged by a malicious macro virus that was automatically executed by Outlook without my knowledge.

Billglish: EVIL SECURITY ISSUE CODE 2
[Here, EVIL refers to the non-Microsoft software (the virus program), SECURITY ISSUE is the security hole the virus exploited and CODE 2 is an euphemism for "system fscked up". The default tech support response is, as usual, "GOTO 10" followed by "READ EUL" to emphasize that Microsoft's End User License [Agreement] specifically states that the company isn't legally responsible for gaping security holes...er, "issues" in its software.]


English: I repartitioned my hard drive and installed Linux with a dual-boot configuration but now Windows no longer works.

Billglish: EVIL OS NO BOOT
[The usual response is "GOTO HELL"]


English: Hi, I'm Bernard Shifman and I would like to submit my resume for a job at Microsoft...

Billglish: [Okay, so Billglish doesn't have the syntax to cover this. A tech support worker faced with this non-Billglish statement would probably just respond, "GOTO HELL" and then Mr. Shifman would likely counter, "Prepare to be sued!"]


Microsoft hopes to transition its tech support system from English to Billglish during the next year. People who wish to call tech support after the transition period will need become a Microsoft Certified Tech Support Caller (MCTSC) before dialing the phone unless they want to pay a US$149.95 "translation fee". Microsoft will offer free workshops on speaking Billglish (or whatever name they decide to call the patent-pending language) during the next year but afterwards the cost will be fixed at $79.95 (which will include the upcoming Microsoft Press book, "Learn how to speak to tech support in only 21 days").

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