Bluetooth Nightmare

Because my old and beloved X30 Thinkpad has no Bluetooth capabilities I decided to purchase a noname Bluetooth dongle about one year ago. I never realy used it very much, because my T2 was stolen by some bad guys and my Treo 600 does not support Bluetooth.

Now – expecting the arrival of a new toy and for some other mobile gadgets – I decided to use the dongle again. Since last year, I had completely reinstalled my X30, so I had to install the Bluetooth software again.

Well, what a nightmare. The Bluetooth Dongle came with a software package from Widcomm. The old version 1.2 does not work with XP SP2 – and it does not support several usefull features, when you want to use it with a Bluetooth headset. So I looked for 1.4.x at the Widcomm web site. Without success. No downloads, no FAQ, nothing there. From another website I learned Broadcom acquired Widcomm recently. So I searched the Broadcom web site. Nothing. Not even a word about Widcomm. Well, Google helps, I thought. So I searched the web and found hundreds of people fighting with the same problem.

So whats the secret behind this Widcomm company? Why does nearly every Bluetooth dongle come with Widcomm software? And what the hell do they expect me to do, when I have to upgrade the software? Purchase a new dongle? What a business modell.

Finaly, I made it. Getting the Widcomm software was pretty easy. I found it finaly on IBMs website. But this sofware of course is restriced for usage with the specific Bluetooth dongle you purchased. So how to unlock this? I found a guy called Jon Scaife. He wrote a patch to use the Widcomm Software with your device. Unfortunatly, the download was closed. The guys at Broadcom/Widcomm are bad marketiers and not customer oriented, but they have obviously good lawyers. So Jon Scaife had to close down the download. Finaly, I found a good source to download the patch anyway. From now on everything worked perfect. Installed Widcomm, patched the software, rebooted, inserted dongle – done.

But still I ask myself: How can software companies like Widcomm be succesfull treating their customers like this?

Update: Publishing this articel and revisiting the widcomm site today I noticed they have now a redirect to Broadcom. Anyway – this does not help.

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