Friday, July 20, 2012

Dear Microsoft, I think I want a divorce, but you make it so hard to leave.

In March of 2011 I decided to register a domain name:  It was something I had been considering for some time.  Admittedly, I didn't do too much (see: a couple of hours via the web) research on the best way to go about this.  I have a couple of "friends" (more like wanna-be-know-it-alls) who swear by GoDaddy.  Anyone who knows me, knows I tend to go against the grain when it comes to what's consider "popular".  For example, I read those Twilight & Hunger Games books (yep, all of them) wayyyyyy before it was "in-style" to do so.  That being said, I decided to register my domain with Microsoft.  It seemed like a great idea.  For $15.00 I was able to register my domain name, keep my personal information private, host my site and have up to 100 business email accounts ( was so calling my name) - all for an entire year!!  In addition, I was able to create a site with Microsoft's (semi) user friendly built-in site designer or, if I preferred (because you know I did), upload my own Dreamweaver created site.  I was so excited when I received this email from Microsoft:

"Dear Angela, 

Welcome to Microsoft Office Live Small Business. Your domain name is now active.
Thank you for subscribing to Microsoft Office Live Small Business.

Best regards,

Your Microsoft Office Live Team"

AngeeBees had arrived.  Yeah, I thought I was styling.  I now had an entire "team" of people at Microsoft dedicated to helping ME?  All of those other people actually paying a monthly fee to host their site or hasseling with re-directing their domains to a "free", filled-with-ads-galore-site?!  Not me.  No, Sir. 

The part I didn't know was that Microsoft was planning on making some HUGE changes.

Fast forward to January 31, 2012:


On April 30, 2012, we are discontinuing Office Live Small Business. We would like to offer you an opportunity to self-transition to Microsoft® Office 365 for professionals and small businesses."

To be fair, they also offered  "an exclusive
6 month free trial, of Office 365 for professionals and small businesses and Office Professional Plus".  I could read between the lines.  Microsoft was looking to get ME and OTHERS to switch over to Office 365" and then after the "free" 6 months, they would charge us.  I considered it.  I checked prices.  In order to get what I was already paying for, I would need to upgrade to a plan that would cost $12 per month.  Hmmm.  Going from $15 to $144 per year was a serious stretch for me.  No way was I interested.

SELF TRANSITION?  Talk about leaving people in the dark.  Their "self-transition guide" was anything but helpful.  They made it that way for a reason.  The simple thing would have been to take them up on their offer.  But, we already know that is NOT how I roll.

anyone who has taken the time to create their own website knows how much time can go into it.  No way was I ready to mess with all of that again.  Some of those free hosting sites do not allow you to upload your own CSS code.  For this reason alone, I decided to wait until my contract was up and then I would deal with where I would re-register and who I would use to host my site.  Problem was my site auto renewed on March 20, 2012.   Microsoft was already in the process of selling my domain (and others) to a place called Melbourne IT.  Did I mention they are located in Australia?  Nice, right?  Unless you are there for the tourism, not so much. Microsoft sent out emails stating any sites not transferred somewhere else for hosting would no longer be active as of April 30, 2012.

So, I had two choices:

  1. Take the free 6 months, ultimately paying far more than what I signed up for or at the very least, be faced with the same problem re hosting at the end of the 6 months.
  2. Accept the transfer to Melbourne IT and take over the management of my domain; then find a hosting site.
I went with number 2.  I accepted their terms, logged in and then found out in order to keep the personal information associated with my domain registration private (as it had been with Microsoft for my $15 a year) I would need to pay an additional fee of $16.00 per year.  Also, my business email accounts no longer existed.  Not to mention the Melbourne IT site is NOT user-friendly.  I can't imagine what computer illiterate people have done in order to maintain their site(s).  Oh, wait.  I have an idea:  they are posting questions in forums all over.  People are confused.  People don't know how to maintain their sites.  People don't know how to re-direct their domain names.  I have read numerous forum postings discussing the Microsoft/Melbourne IT debacle.  The consensus is the same all over: People are upset.

I have always been a Microsoft user.  I run Windows on desktops and laptops.  I use Microsoft Office Professional.  I use Microsoft Expression.  I own (3) Xbox consoles AND pay for (4) Xbox Live Accounts.  I have been doing ALL of this for many years.

Considering the way I have been treated (along with many others), I am seriously reconsidering my relationship with Microsoft.
  The problem is - I don't know HOW I would begin to live without their products.  I literally use them every single day.

To Microsoft, I say:  Get it Together.  I am simply a small voice in a large crowd, however I am not the only person who feels this way.

As always, please leave a comment.  Thanks for Reading! :)

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