Glitch locks MS Licensing site

January 12, 2010 | 10:14

Tags: #authentication #flaw #glitch #licensing

Companies: #microsoft

A hiccup during the consolidation of three separate websites by Microsoft has left some business customers unable to access software downloads and licence keys on the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center - and the fix isn't one that's likely to please corporate sysadmins.

The flaw, which prevents some users from logging in to the site, started in December when the company attempted to link three different sites together in order to offer a single sign on for corporate customers looking to manage their licensing. Sadly, things didn't go smoothly - and despite the "vast majority" of customers being able to use the newly expanded site fine, many are being left high and dry with authentication errors.

The problem is a pretty serious one: the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center is the only place that corporate types can download legal copies of the software they hold licences for, along with the keys required to install the software. An inability to access the site also hampers companies' ability to renew licensing agreements - something which could potentially leave affected customers unlicensed.

Despite taking the site down for a week to investigate the issue, Microsoft has failed to find a fix for the flaw - and instead is dealing with the problem on a case-by-case basis, asking affected customers to contact their local support offices to get their accounts reset. While this allows them access again, overworked support lines means that customers could end up with a long wait on the 'phone before they get their accounts reinstated.

Microsoft's Lou Gellos said that his company "[knows] the inconvenience this has caused and [apologises] to partners ahd customers," and states that "we know what [customers] are going through and we are working as fast as we can." Despite such reassurances, CNet reports that at least one customer has been trying for several weeks to restore access to an account which is due to expire - which would leave him unable to legally use the installed software unless he is able to renew his contract successfully. The customer - who asked not to be named - blamed Microsoft for "leaving their very loyal, high paying customers out in the dust."

Any volume licence customers reading this who are affected by the issue, or is it merely a vocal minority having problems? Should Microsoft be doing more to find and fix the flaw? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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