A disappointing Windows Marketplace (mobile developer) experience.

windows-phone-7-frontMicrosoft 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:

  1. They are not able to change the company name.
  2. I’ll have to repeat the process and pay the fee again (no refund on the fee already payed).
  3. 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).

5 thoughts on “A disappointing Windows Marketplace (mobile developer) experience.

  1. indyfromoz

    Hello,

    I am guessing you either already have an ITIN or you are not aware of the requirement of an ITIN or I must have missed something in the application process for setting up a Windows Phone Developer account. I think what you have encountered is a bad start, however, if you are going through an ITIN application process, it could be rather painful – http://codejoker.com/2010/07/22/windows-phone-developer-account-setup-tips/. I am a micro-ISV developing on Microsoft .NET stack for the last 7 years and I occasionally develop iPhone applications. I find the latter more manageable in spite of the challenge of working with a new language/platform/programming paradigm. I had the same issue as yours 3 years ago when I signed up for the Microsoft Registered Partner Action Pack, they got me to register a new Live ID just for the Action Pack subscription!

    Cheers,
    indyfromoz

  2. RockyH

    Currently, this capability is not available for newly registered developers, due to required engineering improvements for WP7, but it will return by late August. The process will be developers contact Marketplace support and the modifications can be made by the support team.

    In the interim, the changes can be queued-up for modification in August. this message is beign reinforced with the support team to ensure it is accurately communicated. Developers can also change their profile details themselves during the annual Marketplace renewal process.

  3. Mitch Denny Post author

    Hi Rocky,
    Thanks for following up. I’m now in a bit of a limbo situation in that I can’t proceed – will I ever be able to use my existing Live ID again?

  4. Pingback: Windows Phone Developer Account Guide | CodeJoker

  5. Pingback: The Economics of Windows Store « notgartner

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