Microsoft eOpen web site rant

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    I’ve brought this discussion up with another person recently, but wanted to get a broader consensus about this. I despise the various administration portals for Microsoft licenses. eOpen is the figurehead for the debacle. Then there’s the MVLS site at and then the portion (the correlation between the two I have yet to discover). The SA benefits portal to manage TechNet subscriptions is another nightmare.

    Here are my main gripes:

    1. eOpen is an insult to paying customers: It is confusingly laid out and managing any more than a handful of licenses quickly becomes frustrating. It is awfully slow and unresponsive. My biggest gripe about eOpen is: it has unacceptably long and frequent service outages for “upgrades” and “maintenance”. Wait… this is the largest software company in the world. The exams I take are stuffed full of questions concerning high availability solutions using MSFT products. Is it too much to ask to implement some kind of high availability system that reduces if not altogether eradicates these 24 hour and greater disruptions?? This very day, it takes about a minute for any link I click on eOpen to finally respond. The click-through URL to get to the SA benefits portal for one of my licenses died on me and was replaced by this error:
      Software Assurance Benefits. The purchase of Software Assurance as part of your license agreement provides additional benefit entitlements. Due to a system error, these benefits cannot be accessed at the moment. Please try again later if you would like to administer the benefits associated with this license agreement.

      Thanks Microsoft! That pushes out my Home Use deployment at least one more day. I’ve already spent over an hour today trying to get to figure out where the benefits administration page is and why I didn’t get a PIN to manage the benefits. :mad:

    2. There are too many far-flung license management portals and sites. Between eOpen, the MVLS site at and then the one at, the TechNet license portal and who knows what other portals there are that I haven’t found yet or forgot about. How are they all tied together? What are their correlations with eachother? Sometimes clicking a linkl in one sends you to the other (for instance getting to license keys through eOpen sends you to the licensing service center)
    3. Parts of the site are broken for long periods of time. For example, go to the Licensing service center, click the “Software Assurance” title at the top of the page and then click the “Click here to visit the SA Benefits administration system.” link. It’s broken! And has been for some time. Does anyone even maintain these sites? Is there one or two poor and overworked people scampering around trying to get a huge workload done? Is this how Microsoft manages the virtual gold that I’ve invested in licenses? Should my company be worried?
    4. Unpredictable results for the sites make me nervous. This is really just a re-hash of the first bullet point that mentioned “planned downtime” and the third point that mentioned broken links, but I’ll rehash it since I’m in a poor mood at the moment. :) Whenever I need to do anything with the eOpen site, I cringe. “Is it going to work today?” I think to myself. I’m always worried that there’s going to be some strange outage or problematic workflow. “Am I going to be able to figure out how to do what I need to do?” I’m never certainif theres goin gto be some strange cat022 that I was heretofore unaware of when trying to do something with SA benefits or retrieving keys or whatever other license management tasks I need to do. Oddly, the Microsoft licensing tech support line is typically staffed by cheerful and helpful “North American Based” support techs. I would have thought they’d be answering irritated phone calls all day long. Maybe I’m the only idiot that has a problem with this situation.

    At the end of this rant, the one thing that looms largest in my mind is this: Does Microsoft care about their customers? They’re bread and butter is selling software. Businesses buy larges quantities of it… but we then get treated to an antiquated, unfriendly, unreliable system to manage our potentially millions of dollars of licenses? Grrr…

    Anyone else agree with me or did I just wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?

    EDIT: 10 minutes after posting this, I was in the MVLS site and clicked the Resources >> Licensing Information link only to be greeted by this lovely error: “We apologize but the site has encountered an error. Please contact support.” and a crumby HTML table of various help email addresses to use depending on which country I’m in. Nice.

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