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Dust-Up in Automation

ScottENCO says WideOrbit owes them an apology in ‘alternative tech support’ dispute

WideOrbit hasn’t been in the automation business more than a day or two but their welcome letter to clients raised hackles with ScottENCO, a joint venture of ENCO Systems and Dave Scott, founder of Scott Studios.

The letter in question from WideOrbit founder/CEO Eric Mathewson mentioned “deliberate misinformation offered by our competitors about support and development for Google Radio Automation, SS32 and Maestro.”

ScottENCO took umbrage and contacted RW with a statement distributed by Don Backus, VP of sales and marketing for ENCO.

While ScottENCO was not named in Mathewson’s letter, they wrote, “it is clear that we were the target of his statement” and said Google officials earlier had acted similarly.

“We never claimed to have SS32 source code or access to same,” ScottENCO continued. “We simply hired a number of tech support veterans who were laid off by Google in order to provide SS32 customers a reliable alternative for ongoing technical support with a clear migration path to our new Presenter product, developed with industry legend, Dave Scott.”

In fact, ScottENCO said that in its original press release announcing a support program for SS32 users, “We clearly stated, ‘I’m sure that good support will be available for SS32 from the ‘factory.’ However, we hear questions from SS32 users. We’ll provide a choice for support and another upgrade path.”

ScottENCO also wrote: “The suggestion that you need source code to help stations out if they encounter problems is like suggesting that only the factory who built your car’s engine is equipped to change the oil in it!”

WideOrbit, the company concludes, should apologize for “totally unfounded and untrue accusations.”

Asked for reaction, Mathewson defended WideOrbit’s statements and reputation.

“We have made no comments regarding ScottENCO at any point in time prior to this e-mail,” he wrote to RW. “They have made a lot of accusations about WideOrbit and specifically and repeatedly have used our name in print,” pointing to the company’s Web site as an example.

“I think their statements are designed to mislead rather than inform. … It is just plain silly to compare changing oil to solving real-world, complicated problems in a radio station. It is inaccurate and misleading when they compare software source code to the blueprint of a building. The source code is the entire body of the software, not the plans used to write it.”

He defended WideOrbit’s reputation for customer service, saying that Traffic Directors Guild of America survey results rank the company as tops in customer support among broadcast vendors. “We intend to maintain this level of customer support with WideOrbit Automation for Radio and the legacy Maestro and SS32 product lines.”

Mathewson concluded saying he’d “prefer discuss how we are investing in our products to help the radio industry. Clearly our acquisition of Google Radio Automation combined with our existing significant efforts with WO Traffic for Radio demonstrates this investment.”