With Microsoft, you can only live in one place. Ever!

Last Thursday, my latest purchase arrived via courier from Expansys: A Samsung Omnia 7 Windows Phone 7! I was quite excited to get my hands on this as it would be the second Windows Phone I’ve seen. I quickly set it up and played around with it for a few minutes. Overall I was very impressed. The UI is very fluid and nice to use. Aside from an annoying hiccup with the setup of my Windows Live Mail, everything worked beautifully. [Microsoft: Ask for WiFi accounts before trying to do anything network related. I had a PAYG SIM with no credit so trying to access my Windows Live account was never going to work before I’d connected to WiFi!]

I then plugged the phone into my PC and fired up Microsoft Zune. It too a little while to find the phone, which I found strange, but it was soon detected and it even did a quick update (not to Mango thought…). I then dragged on some music and setup WiFi syncing. So far so good. However, my next action was the point where it all started to go wrong….

I tried to sign in with my Windows Live account…


Let me put this into context. I’m Irish and moved to the UK four years ago, but more importantly, after I first created a Zune account. I hit the forums on and off for a few days and played around with the various settings of my Windows Live accounts. I quickly discovered that my Zune account was registered to my previous address in Ireland and whilst I could change street and town settings, my country could not be change. Not at all.

Turns out that this is a problem for a lot people, especially Europeans who do move from country to country.

I sent out tweets and contacted Zune support and unfortunately just got this fact confirmed. With Zune, you CANNOT change your country. This is really infuriating! I suspect there is good reason be it legal or whatever, but it doesn’t change the fact I perceive this as a massive pain in my arse.

I was ready to sign up for a Windows Phone 7 developer account with Microsoft and I’ve *very* glad I didn’t do using my existing Windows Live account before plugging in my phone etc.

So what’s the solution? I could, I suppose, change the regional settings on my PC to Ireland. but that would still require me to use an Irish credit card. Not a big issue. The other drawback is that any money I make from selling apps would be in Euro and I could potentially lose out due to changes in the exchange rate.

So my alternative plan is this: I have created  a new Windows Live ID just for accessing the AppHub. I’ll register that account with Microsoft as a Windows Live ID and signup to the developer program. When I sign into Zune, it should create a new Zune account for the UK and associate it with my AppHub Live ID. Should I move country again, I can just create new accounts like AppHubIE or AppHubUS. They’ll be regionally correct at least and by linking all these Windows Live IDs together, switching around between them should be painless.

This will work for selling Windows Phone 7 Apps, but doesn’t help with the purchase of Zune music.

What is your solution to this issue with Zune? If you have something, I’d love to hear about it so please email me or leave a comment! Thanks.