- 4 Jan 08, 05:36 GMT
Don't disappoint your customers - it is a lesson that Microsoft is learning the hard way with Xbox.
Xbox Live, Microsoft's online gaming and community service, is often touted by the firm as the jewel in the Xbox crown and as the key distinguishing feature between its console and Sony's PlayStation 3.
It is - largely - a paid for service and is such an integral part of the Xbox experience that many users take it for granted.
But over the Christmas period the service partially collapsed for many users - with patchy performance and glitches.
Microsoft has held its hands up to a mea culpa and is offering every Xbox Live user a free download of a game.
This is becoming a pattern for Microsoft and the Xbox - first something goes wrong, and then the firm steps in to make amends on a grand scale.
I was struck by just how many people had commented on problems with Xbox Live when we invited readers of the BBC News website to send in questions to Bill Gates.
Many were furious with the problems they encountered during the Christmas period.
If Microsoft believe Xbox Live is a serious entertainment platform, perhaps one day to rival TV networks or cable services, it has to ensure it is robust and good value.
There are 17.7m Xbox 360 users around the world, with some paying £40 a year for Xbox Live.
Sony, on the other hand, does not charge for its PlayStation Network, although the service is much more limited than Xbox Live.
The offer of a free Xbox Live Arcade game is good customer service, but there will come a point when saying sorry just isn't enough for some subscribers.
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