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Martin has worked with many customers in government, finance, manufacturing, health and technology to help them improve their processes and deliver more. He provides management and technical consulting that intends to expose processes and practices to gain transparency, uncover impediments to value delivery and reduce cycle-time as part of an organisations path to agility. Martin is a Professional Scrum Trainer as well as a Visual Studio ALM MVP and Visual Studio ALM Ranger. He writes regularly on http://nakedalm.com/blog, and speaks often on Scrum, good practices and Visual Studio ALM. You can get in touch with Martin through naked ALM. Martin is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 64 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Allow user to change the region for Windows Live ID billing

10.03.2011
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Recently I was burned rather heavily be Microsoft Billing due to their inability to change the region (country) of an account. Yes, you heard me right, there is NO way to change your billing region and the ONLY solution Microsoft can offer is to create a new account.

This would not be so bad if it was not for the plethora of services that have recently started using Live ID and I brought this issue up at the last MVP summit. My primary live id will always be the one I have had for ~10 years, but I now have to have another live id for every country I end up living in.

uservoice-logoIf you are already sold then you can vote on either of these user voice sites, but make sure that your opinion of this is heard:

Still not sure how this will affect you? Read on…

First Burn – Xbox

xbox-live-logoAnyone that knows me would have heard me rant on this one. If you spend 7 years using Xbox Live building up 15000+ gamer score and spending £2000+ (~$3000) on content and subscriptions only to loose EVERYTHING because I took a job in another country!

The result is that I (any this affects my family of 4) have two Live ID’s to manage. Both with content and neither with the full story.

For more you can read detailed Xbox shenanigans both on Xbox Live Accounts – Great But Don’t Move to Another Country! and Letter to Major Nelson.

Second Burn – Windows Phone 7

windows_phone_logo300x300

You would think for the Windows Phone launch that they would have solved this problem, at least for it. But after logging into my brand new T-Mobile US HD7 I was encouraged to download the “Tesco” application and I could only use my UK Credit cards!

This is not good… it is not a good experience, and I had to figure out how to hard reset my phone on the first day that I had it in order to change out the Live ID from martin@hins***ood.com to my new xbox martin-us@hins****ood.com address.

What if I go back to the UK and take my phone with me. Granted some of the apps are US specific, like a Walmart app, but most of the ones that I have bought would not have a problem. And what about the crap excuse of “tax” legal issues. What a load of tripe…. My Google phone and apps do not have this problem! I was barely off the plane when I saw US apps in $ and could buy them with either my US credit card or my UK one.

Not only that, but my phone is tightly integrated to Windows Live… SkyDrive, Facebook, Twitter among other things… it is just a pity that it is using the wrong Live ID.

What the heak Microsoft! Why are you driving me away!

Future Burn – Holy mother of….

Do you even realise what you loose when you create a new live ID? Can you name all of the services that use Live Billing that you will loose continuity on when you change country?

Here is the small list that affects me:

  • Xbox Live – Achievements, Gamer Score, Content (thousands of dollars worth), Membership
  • SkyDrive Storage – Photos, Files
  • Zune – I have some movies bought in the UK and some in the US
  • Office 360 – Documents
  • Windows Phone – Integration
  • MSDN Subscriptions
  • Azure Services – Online services, Servers, etc..
  • TFS Azure – Source Control, Work Item Tracking … etc.
  • Windows 8 Login – Settings, Wallpapers and Tight integration on all levels

With Xbox, Windows Phone and Windows 8 all using your Live ID for login into the system the problem hits ALL of Microsoft’s services.

  • You cant use your new countries payment methods
  • You can’t access any features that are country specific

windows-live
Figure: I am trying to decide if this is a joke

Yes, our online world comes together a long as you stay in the one country for the rest of your life!

Bottom Line

Like me, are screwed! For now…

The only possible solution that MUST be in place for Hosted Services & Windows 8 requires two things:

  • The ability to change your billing region
  • The ability for exiting screwed users to merge all of there content, data, services and profile data into a single profile

What do you think is going to be the response from Enterprise when their employees start having issues with signing into their laptops, desktops and phones!

“I am sorry, you may have bought that app from the US store and then moved to the US, but you can no longer buy it let alone use it. And that is just tough!”
-Fictitious Live Rep.

What can I do?

The only way to even attempt to fix this is to make sure that Microsoft realises how big this problem is now, and how it will affect users in the future.

While your vote here, or rants on your own blog may not help, it is the best we can do….

References
Published at DZone with permission of Martin Hinshelwood, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)