When Microsoft is like IBM

by Volker Weber

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I would like to try Microsoft Teams, which now has a free version to promote it against Slack. And Microsoft is unable to provide that.

How did that happen? The Microsoft Cloud has two different logins: business and personal. A business login happens usually against your company's Active Directory while the personal login works with your Microsoft ID. Which looks like an email address, but can have multiple aliases. I have used my personal ID for many years without any issues.

As it so happened, I was recently invited to an existing Microsoft Team. They provide guest logins now, so you can collaborate with people outside of your Active Directory. Anything goes. A Gmail address is good to go. I got my invitation, I logged in, Teams asked me for my ID and password, and I gave it my personal ID. What I did not know then is that Microsoft created a business ID on the fly, that I cannot control. I don't have an admin that runs my Active Directory and could help me. When I log into a Microsoft service it now asks me if I want to use my personal ID or my business ID, and they both have the same name.

Long story long: I have since left the Team that originally invited me, they have removed me, but my business ID still sticks with me.

Enter Teams Free. I sign up, give it my ID, and wait for the notification. Guess what? It is probably assigned to my business ID and never gets sent out the SMTP way, because it would otherwise show up in my inbox. I ask Microsoft about it, and my inquiry gets bounced around in the company. After a full week, I receive an answer:

Hi Volker – Thanks for flagging this and sorry for your troubles. I looked into it. As you suspected, the issue is due to the fact that your email is associated with another work account. While the free version of Teams is in preview, you cannot delete the old account. However, this is something we are looking into addressing for the future. In the meantime, you will need to use a different email address when signing into the free version of Teams.

I cannot possibly be the only one being poisened by an uncontrollable business ID. And I would expect Microsoft to have a button somewhere that would allow them to nuke that ID. So I asked again and received a swift answer:

Hi Volker – At this time, there is no way to delete your business account. This is something the team is aware of and looking into fixing for future builds.

Enterprise computing without an admin is hell. Today is SysAdminDay. Go hug your IT guy. He deserves it.


This time last year I was trying to close down my MSDN / Visual Studio / Azure subscription, as MS couldn't give me what I wanted (a short term O365 subscription, including SharePoint, for evaluation).

MS escalated it to their outsourced technical partners, TCS. Things got really complicated then. The situation took months to "resolve", and to this day Microsoft still email me, despite the account being "closed".

I can only assume that they have a GDPR nightmare brewing…

Ben Poole, 2018-07-27

Yess! Impossible for Microsoft to get this Teams up and running for free, for people that has an Azure or other Microsoft ID. Blame MS🙄

Rolf-Thore Johansen, 2018-07-28

Similar issue here with issues between work account and personal account.
Also, Microsoft ask wayyyy to often for authentication.

Frank Köhntopp, 2018-07-28

Yeah, Microsoft's identity management and licensing issues are just as bad as IBM's. Might even be worse. Honestly, I think IBM tried harder to resolve individual problems, even if they had to break process/rules to do it (ex: directly edit a database not designed to be edited). My experience moving to O365 for everything on a Fortune 100 company was mostly positive, and almost all the negative issues involved this stuff. My personal collection of O365 accounts is considered to be irredeemably broken by MS, due to my participation in early betas and trials of several different service components throughout the process and their internal evolution around account backends, to the point where their actual recommendation is that I simply start using accounts based on Robert McDonagh as opposed to Rob McDonagh. Not kidding.

Rob McDonagh, 2018-07-30

If you actually have used an email address that is not gmail, but say vowe.net, you can try to google for „it admin takeover“.

Gregory Engels, 2018-08-06

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