We can’t be the only reseller to have been negatively affected the the December changes to the Eopen licensing site.

Microsoft replaced EOpen with Microsoft Volume Licensing Serivce Centre in early December and from the very start the change has been a disaster. Firstly the whole site went down and was unavailable for the best part of two weeks. That meant that if you wanted to add new agreememts, like we did, you simply couldn’t.

Then when the site came backup it had been replaced by VLSC. The idea of this seems to be to lock partners out of the volume licensing process as far as possible. Microsoft even in essence accuse resellers of being untrustworthy and a responsible for piracy of volume licenced products and therefore in need of being removed from the licensing process as far as possible. Now Microsoft want end users to be responsible for volume licence agreements directly and to then grant their reseller permission to access their agreement.

On the face of it, from Microsoft’s perspective, this seems a resonable idea. However in the real world the licensing process (their licensing process!) is too complex for the majority of end users to either want to, or be able to, complete it. The new process involves and end user logging on to a website, creating a Microsoft Live ID (“but I don’t want a Hotmail address”), registering a ‘business’ email address, accepting the licence agreement and then navigating through the deeply confusing web site to find a section where they can then grant their reseller permission, by adding another email address, to administer the licence. Then wait for a few days while you work out the process had failed somewhere.

The end user details we tend to include in the licence registrion process are senior decision makers – directors, owners, manager – just the kind of people who don’t want any involvment in signing up to Microsoft Hotmail accounts, licensing sites and the whole nine yards. Their first reaction to us is that this is exactly the kind of nonsense they pay us to look after. They simply want nothing to do with it. They want to purchase software from us and have us install it.

The other problem with the new site is that the process is simply not working. I spent the best part of 8 hours on the phone and emailing various MS staff over the last 10 days just trying to get 5 Windows 7 licences added to an existing agreement. Eopen just worked. You added the agreement number, authorisation ID and then the keys just appeared in your control panel. Now, we at least, are having to phone the VLSC call centre in India to try and get licences added to the control panel. The staff there seem completely unbothered by the urgency of these requests, clueless as to the new process, unintelligible, and have a stock answer of ‘try again in 24 hours’.

I see this weekend the site is down again. Being re-engineered by any chance Microsoft? Please bring back EOpen or just face up to the fact the end users pay their resellers to provide a service. Let us provide that service and get back to selling licences.

I personally am blogging, complaining and giving grief to any Microsoft employee I can find in order to get this changed.

by hostadmin on Feb 6, 2010 at 10:48 PM

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