Microsoft is going to market late this calendar year with Windows Phone 7, a completely revamped mobile platform set to take on the likes of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platforms. From a technical perspective I’m excited about the platform and I think that it could easily be the technically superior option on the market. Unfortunately, being technically superior won’t ensure success – Microsoft needs to attract application developers to their platform – and that means they need to compete with Apple’s AppStore (in particular).
To find out what the experience was going to be liked I payed the subscription fee and signed up to Windows Marketplace for Mobile via the Windows Phone web-site in the hope that I could publish a few applications when the capability became available.
Unfortunately I made a small typo during the sign-up process (just the capitalisation of a single letter) and only noticed when I received the confirmation e-mail a few moments later. I rejected the confirmation message in the hopes that I could go back and correct the mistake and continue with the process. I realised that I was in for some pain when I couldn’t change the name of the company within the Edit panel inside Marketplace. Time for a support e-mail.
The good thing about the Marketplace support was that I got a speedy response, unfortunately the response was disappointing. I was advised that:
- They are not able to change the company name.
- I’ll have to repeat the process and pay the fee again (no refund on the fee already payed).
- I cannot use the same Live ID.
I just about fell off my chair, there are so many problems with that response. Firstly changing the name of the company must be a supported scenario because there are legitimate business scenarios (mergers/acquisitions etc) where a developer organisation might need to do this. I can probably live with #2, I made the mistake so if there are costs associated with GeoTrust doing an identity check then so be it, but it does leave a slightly bitter taste in my mouth since I though I was paying for a subscription that implied a level of support for circumstances just like this.
Finally – the one that really burns is if I did want to restart the whole process I can’t use the same Live ID. Whilst this is easy enough to do, identity management is enough of a problem without randomly creating Live IDs with every encounter I have with Microsoft. We use a standard Live ID account for all subscription/partnership related activities – and you can bet that not having this ID aligned will bite us in the future.
Ultimately I still want to move ahead with the Windows Marketplace and get some apps published but I have very little confidence that every time I step off the beaten path that I’m going to be asked to create a new Live ID and sign-up again. I’m hoping that someone from the Windows Marketplace for Mobile team sees this and can help me address the issues. Working with support hasn’t happened (so far).