Users reporting problems with Office Live Small Business e-mail migrations

Office Live Small Business users hustling to move your e-mail before Microsoft starts shutting down the service on May 1: Your calls for help aren't falling on totally deaf ears.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

It's April 30. That's the last day Microsoft is supporting Office Live Small Business (OLSB), its Web-site hosting and design service which is being succeeded by Office 365.

From some e-mails I've received, as well as from reports in Microsoft's online forums, it's been a less-than-smooth path for those attempting to get off of OLSB. While some Office Live Small Business users are taking Microsoft's suggested path and moving from OLSB to Office 365 -- a task which also is giving some users problems -- others aren't going this route.

There are messages from users in both ask.officelive.com and answers.microsoft.com frustrated by trying to migrate from Office Live to Windows Live and use their existing domain names and email addresses.

"It appears that a support person at Office Live has to manually release the domain name so it can be administered by Windows Live (via domains.live.com) and this is not happening," said one of those users who contacted me via e-mail. While some individuals are seeing their issues resolved, others are saying they're concerned about potentially losing their e-mail access; some also claim they have lost e-mail access during their migration.

"What is strange to me is that since the Office Live accounts are Hotmail accounts, why (didn't) they create a support method to simply request that Microsoft move the Office Live email accounts to Hotmail email accounts and prevent a vast majority of their customers from going through this pain," said the aforementioned user. "I understand that they will no longer offer the hosting service, but people aren't complaining about the ability to save or migrate their websites in anywhere near the number of complaints/concerns over losing their email."

The BuildItOn365.com site is providing those encountering OLSB e-mail migration issues with some tips and guidance. But that site also notes users are getting conflicting and confusing messages from Microsoft about the e-mail migration piece of the puzzle.

I asked Microsoft for an update today on the e-mail migration component of the OLSB shut-down. Spoiler alert: There's a little bit of good news in the answer to Question 2.

Here's the latest from a company spokesperson:

Q: For users with reported issues or open support tickets, what could or should they be doing given today’s deadline? A: We’re working to address open support tickets as quickly possible. OLSB users should check the Transition Center where we’re providing continuously updated answers to the most common questions and issues.

Q: Is today truly the day for OLSB shut down. No plans to delay it? A:: OLSB will continue to run through April 30, 2012 (Redmond, WA time). Tomorrow, we will start closing the service down site by site. We’re continuing our commitment to helping ensure a straightforward transition by arranging for custom email hosted through Windows Live Hotmail to still work for up to six months and providing a support form users can submit to recover OLSB data if they missed today’s deadline. This form will be available in the OLSB Community tomorrow (May 1).

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