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WinDiscrimination: Microsoft slaps Mac users; apologizes September 23, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Apps, Issues, Microsoft, The Other Side of the Fence.
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Several days ago users of Microsoft‘s Windows Live Messenger who used dotMac addresses to get their Windows Live IDs found out that they were being blocked from using the online service. When trying to log in, it would return an error message that told them they had now had to change their address in order to continue using the service.

Because of a recent system update, you must change the email address that you use to sign in to Windows Live Messenger. Until you change your email address, you won’t be able to use Windows Live Messenger.

Eh? Ex-squeeze me? Baking powder?

Other users who registered with other addresses like GMail were not affected, and only those with .Mac-related logins were specifically rejected from the Microsoft service.

MacNN contacted Microsoft about this, and MS officials told MacNN that it had recently become aware of an

…internal error during routine testing that resulted in customers using .Mac domains being asked to change their e-mail address in order to access to their Windows Live IDs.

Internal error. Surrrrre it was. Some code became wonky and spontaneously, independently and without human intervention, began mysteriously blocking their IM users, but somehow only those using dotMac addresses. Internal error. Creepy code, that.

Microsoft immediately created a support page for affected users and further apologized in a statement that read in part:

Access to Live IDs has been restored to our customers who use .Mac domains. We regret any inconvenience this caused for our customers.

Hmph. We regret it too.

(This begs the question: why would some folk who obviously use Macs actually sign up for a Microsoft online service? Does this imply that they deserve what they got? Hmm.)

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