SMS now required for all Microsoft account activations?

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By pure chance, all of our Office 2016 sales for the last several months (perhaps a year) have been to existing business clients (who already have MS accounts) or to home users who handle their own activations. I have had no need during that time to create a new MS account (either for myself or on behalf of a client). That’s despite the sheer number of licenses we sell.

But today I did have to create a MS account for one of our biggest clients… and I have yet to be successful.

Now this post isn’t about Office specifically, but that’s the context in which I discovered this issue.

You see.. when creating a new MS account, it now asks for a phone number. It’s been this way for a while, and it’s creepy and off-putting, but most everyone has a phone number at least. What’s changed is that you can now only recieve the one-time code via SMS. That’s it. No calls. No alternate email. No letters. No telegrams. No smoke signals. It’s SMS or nothing.

Want an account? Buy a cell phone. Want to talk to MS support? You need an account. This is a problem.

So now the client is thinking about moving away from Microsoft products altogether (or at least Office). They’re a principled bunch, and aren’t going to jump through hoops just to make MS want them as a customer.

So has anyone else had this problem? Is the “phone call” method just temporarily down? Or is MS really that incompetent?

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