Over on a woodworking forum, someone asked for a recommendation for a new table saw and a lot of people came back recommending the Saw Stop. I won’t deny that it’s a decent saw, I won’t deny that it has proprietary potentially finger-saving technology, I simply have no interest whatsoever in owning one, even if I was in the market for a new table saw, which, granted, I’m not.
The reason I won’t buy one is exactly the same for the Saw Stop as it is for the Xbox One. Both companies made horrible decisions through their development phase that have offended me beyond belief. I am not opposed to the actual equipment, I am opposed to paying these companies one red cent, ever.
We all remember what happened with the Xbox One, where Microsoft announced that they were ending the used game market by locking games to the specific console they were first put into. You couldn’t take a game to a friend’s house to play, you had to have a continual Internet connection so that Microsoft could check that you were authorized to play that game on that console, and if your console took a dump, it was a hassle to reconfigure all of your games to play on the new console. It was a bad decision all around. Add to that the fact that they wanted a Kinect on every system which they could remotely access any time they wanted and take pictures of your daily life, that was enough for me to take a pass on this generation of Xbox. Even though Microsoft ended up changing their minds, the fact that they’d suggest such a thing in the first place is enough to not give them my money.
The same goes for Saw Stop. They do have a revolutionary technology that lets the blade stop before it causes significant physical injury, but when they were just starting out, they started demanding that every saw sold in the U.S. must use their technology. They even went before Congress to demand that everyone must license their technology, at a significant cost, if they wanted to be allowed to be sold in the United States. Congress told them to go pound sand and life went on as usual, but this kind of anti-competitive, hyper-authoritarian nonsense from both companies has left me with a permanent bad taste in my mouth. I don’t want the Saw Stop name anywhere in my shop. I’m not particularly thrilled to have Microsoft either, although that one is harder to get away from. And don’t suggest Apple, they are far, far worse than Microsoft when it comes to being control freaks.
Is it possible that someday, I might change my mind about these companies? Maybe. I don’t think it’s likely, but it could happen. It might be possible that I’ll try to ignore my distaste and buy their products anyhow but I don’t think I will ever forgive their actions of the past, no matter how much time passes. There are some mistakes that, once made, can never be unmade and I think in both of these cases, at least for these specific properties, that may very much be the case. They took people who may have been fans and made them bitter enemies. I’m one of those people. Maybe other companies ought to think long and hard on these examples before they make similarly disastrously decisions that may haunt them for years to come.