Microsoft Office Live Pains

Friday, November 30, 2007 9:12:11 PM

I'm usually not one to rant, but I have got to get this out.  A while ago I signed up for Microsoft Office Live, the free version.  I got the free domain name, played around with the templates, and found it to be completely useless for anybody with half a clue.  My domain sat, unused.

I've been working with a client on developing a website, and came to discover that he was using Office Live.  After looking at their features, we determined it would be best to archive his e-mail and move off of Office Live.  This is where things get fun.

Why did we choose to move away from Office Live?
You are locked in to either their templates or you can use "3rd Party Developer Tools."  This is Microsoft's way of saying you can upload straight HTML content, no forms, no ASP.NET, no capability for a form for visitors to leave you a message.  Come on, this is 2007 people, you would have to be completely ignorant to think that anybody would want this.

Moving the domain name
This is the beggest problem.  You have to cancel your account to move your domain name to your registrar of choice.  Which means you have to cancel your account, unlock your domain, perform the transfer, wait for approval and then, after all that, you can redirect to your mailservers.  During the process your mail is pointing to a deactivated account.  But hey, who still uses e-mail right?

Microsoft is refusing to relinquish the domain registration key, used to take control of the domain, without the cancellation but is now claiming you can "point your domain out" without the keys.  I've done a bit of DNS work in my time, including enough manual editing of named.conf and zone files from bind 4 and up.  I'm assuming that they are saying I can change my CNAME, A and PTR records, but if that is the case then why not just let me take over my domain?

Their excuse is that I can cause serious problems.  Sure, if I were an idiot I might screw something up, but nothing too serious that can't be undone fairly quickly.  The only problem that I am creating is that I can now easily migrate off of a Microsoft service.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to Microsoft bash here.  I have become a supporter of Microsoft over the past few years.  Nobody comes close to them in enterprise class network and host management.  C# is beautiful and I wouldn't trade it for anything, it captured my heart away from PERL and PHP, my first and second love.  But this is absolutely absurd.

Microsoft, please lighten up and give users some freedom, we aren't all stupid.  Some of us are capable of thinking for ourselves and, to top it off, we can even form coherent sentences without clippy.  Give us our domains and a way to manage them, or at least leave us as delegates with our registrar, MelbourneIT.

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