I have to admit to having a soft spot for Freescale microprocessors. The first micro I ever used was a Motorola 6809 and for the first few years of my career I worked exclusively on 6800′s, 68HC11′s and 68000 processors. Times changed and I largely moved away from the product range, although I did return periodically as projects dictated. Well such a project has recently come up. The project requires me to make some modifications to an existing code base and as is often the case, the original compiler and its license file have been lost to the winds of time. Accordingly, I downloaded an evaluation copy from Freescale’s web site and got to work. After convincing myself that there were no significant issues with moving to the latest compiler version, it was time to purchase a license. And as the joke goes, that’s when the trouble started…
Freescale offers various versions of the compiler, and in addition offers various optional software components that can be purchased. Trying to work out which components I needed to purchase was incredibly hard. Anyway, after considerable time, I came up with what I thought was needed and had my client purchase the requisite licenses. Downloading and installing the licenses was ridiculously complicated (as in it took about an hour to wade through all the documents), but I eventually got there. I then invoked CodeWarrior and got a wonderfully obtuse licensing error message that seemed to be saying I needed to purchase an additional component. However the component wasn’t for sale on Freescale’s website…
Accordingly I called customer support. Here’s the gist of the conversation:
Freescale: This is is unusual. It shouldn’t do that.
Freescale: We don’t offer support for licensing issues over the phone. You’ll have to send an email to technical support detailing the problem.
Me: OK. How long is the response time?
Freescale: 48 – 72 hours.
Me: Do I have this right. Your product that I’ve paid for doesn’t work as advertised, you don’t offer telephone support for licensing issues, you require me to send you an email and it will then take you up to 72 hours to get me an answer?
I’m not sure what planet Freescale resides on, but this level of service simply doesn’t comport with what’s needed in the embedded space today. I think I understand now why I see so few Freescale designs. Is my experience unusual or is this the norm for Freescale today?