Windows Store Registration - A Timeline
As said before we made a bunch of small tools that fill some gaps in the Windows RT ecosystem. We built them in 5 days and wanted them to be published as fast as possible to the Windows Store to make some easy money.
The only thing that blocked our submissions until today, was the imposed process to register me and my company as a Windows Store Apps developer.
Even though my company is registered as a BizSpark startup, Microsoft needed two more verification procedures. One was a verification of the credit card, the other a verification of a official telephone book entry, and if that is available, a verification call to talk to me personally.
A timeline after the credit card verification finally went through:
- Received an email from Symantec about that they need an online telephone book entry or a signed letter by a notary.
- Called "Deutsche Telekom" to make that entry. Except to spell the company name, they asked no further questions, they did not verify if the company existed, and they told me that the entry will be available by the 16th of November.
- Sent the founding document of my company to Symantec, in the hope that they could make an exception and don't require the phonebook online entry.
- I asked Symantec by email if there is another option to speed this up a little and if they received the founding document of our company. Additionally I begged them to respond to my emails.
- Asked support of Microsoft if there is any progress.
- Microsoft said I should contact Symantec.
- Answer from Symantec on the email from Nov 14th: The listing does not show up, no further options.
- Asked Symantec four questions which never got answered:
- How are you exactly retrieving the listing entry from the Deutsche Telekom?
- How can this be called a "validation" at all, because both, the telephone number and the entry could have been faked?
- Microsoft already verified the company credit card, why is another verification required?
- ... and a question to verify if they really got the right telephone number.
- Additionally I've sent them a scan of a confirmation letter I've received from the "Deutsche Telekom" that shows that my entry is listed (but not saying where).
- No entry on the site Das Telefonbuch yet. I called Telekom directly to be sure that it will be published there. They could not tell me for sure and told me to wait a day.
- In the chat with Symantec. Tried to speed things up, but they needed the entry online. There was no other option.
- Microsoft support asked if there was any progress (a very nice gesture!).
- I've answered that I was in the live chat with Symantec, but the entry did not show up, and sent Microsoft the confirmation letter from "Deutsche Telekom".
- Received an answer from Symantec regarding that the document from "Deutsche Telekom" can not be accepted, the entry has to show up online.
- Email from Microsoft that they their email server rejected the PDF attachment of the confirmation letter.
- Sent an email to "DasTelefonbuch" asking if and when the entry may show up. Never received an answer.
- The entry finally showed up.
- Sent email to Symantec that the entry showed up.
- Sent an email to Microsoft with the exact query of the entry in "DasTelefonbuch". In addition I resent the scan of the entry confirmation.
- Live chat with Symantec, and callback. Finally.
- One issue with my email addresses, which I could not resolve, sent Microsoft an email about that issue.
- Answer from Microsoft: For some reason the attachments did not went through again and they could not read the entries, because it is in German.
- Answer from Microsoft: Suggestion for an alternative solution of the email problem.
- Solved the email problem.
- Told Microsoft that the emails are fixed now and sent them a shortened link to "Das Telefonbuch" which only shows the company address and telephone number as a result, and a screenshot thereof. Disabled my OpenPGP signature, because I suspected that this caused the drops of the attachments on Microsoft's side.
- Got an email from Microsoft stating that they have received everything they need from Symantec to "finish processing my account". It should be authorized in 2-3 business days.
- Waiting for my account to be activated.
- Checked online, our app is in the submission process.
- Received confirmation letter from Symantec that the identity verification is complete and Microsoft will now complete the activation of my account.
Now, all together, we do have lost 20 days here, but I wonder for what? This process seems completely unsafe and redundant to me. I really do wonder why it exists at all. It took me two days to even recognize that Symantec was doing this identity verification on behalf of Microsoft.
And why are there 20 days lost? Where is the time gone? Most of the time was lost in processes of which I think they could be automated and done in seconds rather than in days. Is there so much friction and bureaucracy involed? Are there actually people involved transferring phonebook entries, or doing the authorization process that took Microsoft another 5 days? And what exactly was the role of Symantec here?
I must thank the support of Microsoft and Symantec for their patience with me, because in hindsight, none of my emails seem to have actually mattered. ... but who knows, may be it would have taken another week or two without them.
I'm glad that we can now submit our apps now, which will take another ~10 days until they appear in the store, ... well, but only if they don't get rejected.