Me vs Microsoft

Last year I bought my first smartphone - Nokia Lumia 800. Windows Phone 7.5 was the main reason, but also the knowledge of .NET Framework when it comes to the development of the apps. I am not a huge Android fan and despite the fact that I have few iDevices I just could not get my head around the Objective-C and write apps for iOS, therefore the choice for me was simple - Windows Phone.

Source of problems

My problems started when I was asked for my Windows Live ID (now it is called Microsoft Account) during the phone setup. WLID can be used with many services provided by Microsoft. Once you have an account, you can sign up for Skydrive, Xbox, Zune, Azure, etc...

I created my Live ID account a few years back before I moved to Ireland, so it had my Polish address saved. Hotmail (now Outlook) allowed me to change my address details and I did so: I changed the country and added a new address. I thought it was all done, but this is where it got bitter.

It turns out that the system is so fragmented, the changes I made, were only applied to Hotmail and only for the e-mail account only. For the record, users are able to update their account details, but can't change the country. I thought that this was a limitation of the web sites, but the same rule applies when using an Xbox. Yes, you can update your address, once it is within the same country.

But what's the problem?

Not one problem, at least 3 of them:

  • Uno: limitation of the available apps in Windows Phone Marketplace; apps were limited to those available globally and in Poland;
  • Dos: unable to associate my Irish credit card with an account - billing address would be incorrect; I want to buy some apps (give the money to developer and Microsoft) but I can't because the billing address of the credit card would not match the address on the account. Weird, isn't it?
  • Tres: Hotmail/Windows Live ID/Microsoft Account associated with other services;

Feel free to change order of these above.

Resolution

Because it was not possible to change my location/country using web applications or Xbox, I followed some advice and decided to chat to one of the Xbox Ambassadors. Once I described my current situation I was given another smack in face: it is not possible to update the account and change the location/country. The possible workaround was the creation of new account…very f*cking useful. Me - 0, Microsoft - 1.

I didn't give up and few days later after some digging on Xbox forums I found out it was possible to migrate account…using Xbox console. I don't own an Xbox, but luckily friend of mine was so kind and lent me one. Having all things set and ready, I started the migration. After all the details were entered I received an unexpected (and another) slap in my face: you can migrate accounts once every 30 days, but the new account that data needs to be migrated, needs to be at least 30 days old. Me - 0, Microsoft - 2. At that moment - I just gave up; I was tired, angry and didn't want to fight the battle that I was loosing anyway.

I couldn't understand that situation as it was bad for both: users and Microsoft. For users - being unable to get the right content, for Microsoft - not getting the money. I didn't want to get more upset anymore and I left the problem where it was for few weeks. Apparently Microsoft gained awarness of the problem as other people had the very same problem and obviously - they were also upset. One of the users wrote on the Xbox forum that it is possible to get the account migrated to another country, but the migration process can be done by Microsoft only. Users need to contact support directly, preferably via phone. There are some drawbacks - not all the content can be migrated and Microsoft Points might be lost.

Hope dies last. I didn't mind the drawbacks (no content or points what so ever) and decided to request the call-back from Xbox support. I received the callback and started the conversation, giving all the necessary details. To my surprise, I was asked for the console ID, so you will need an Xbox for that. At the end I was told that my request was logged and after some time (no time frame given) I should get an e-mail with confirmation that the requested changes were applied. Finally, after a week or so I got mine. The frustration came to end, better late than never.
Me vs. Microsoft - let's call it a draw.

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