Yes, this is a post about the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, but despite what you may be thinking, this is not a post about how awful the Metro UI is. I’ll deal with that later. No, this is a post about how awful “Microsoft Account” is.
You may recall my post of last week, where I was worried about whether Windows 8 would do anything to change the inflexibility of Microsoft’s back-end infrastructure used for digital distribution of apps and digital media. Well, now I’ve got my answer:
Yes, there’s been a name change: the Windows Live ID service has been rebranded to Microsoft Account, but beyond that, the same problem remains: once you have registered a country of residence in your Zune or Xbox Live billing account, neither you nor Microsoft can change it, nor even delete your account.
So the name change to Microsoft Account is the lipstick, and the pig of the billing account remains as porcine as ever.
I thought I’d try one last time to contact Customer Support via the online Chat channel to see if I could get my Zune account deleted without having to also delete my Windows Live ID. Nope. No joy.
As I wrote last week:
Unfortunately (for me), a few years ago I made the mistake of downloading and playing with the Zune software. Along the way, I created a Zune account using my Windows Live ID, just to try out the experience, not realising that the country of residence would be hardwired to the US without any possibility of change or deletion. At the time, I just shrugged my shoulders and thought no more about it.
And because of that mistake, if Windows 8 uses the same backend infrastructure as Zune, I will not be able to use my trusty Windows Live ID. If I did, I will not be able to purchase anything in Windows Store, because I do not have a credit card with a US address. Because of a badly-thought-out design in a Microsoft infrastructure, I’m expected to throw all the history of what’s associated with my old Windows Live ID away, and start again with a new one.
Windows 8 does use the same backend infrastructure. I’m screwed.
Update: It took writing letters to Microsoft, but I finally managed to get my old Zune/Xbox Live account deleted, and used my existing Windows Live ID to create a new account.