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I think SharePoint is a great solution for building a business extranet, but IMO Office 365 requiring a Windows Live/MOS ID for external users to login to a SharePoint site just doesn't work in a business scenario - I really hate to say it, but this is actually the (ugh...) Google Docs approach (you have to sign up for a Gmail account to be able to use it), and definitely not something I would expect from Microsoft.
I have customers I need to collaborate with in an extranet setting who just don't want to sign up for a Windows Live/MOS ID to do it. They want to be able to login to my SharePoint site using their own, already existing e-mail address as a username (also, this would make their lives really easier when checking for notifications I might send them - one less inbox to check).
I think this is really hurtful for a business' image. My customers want their lives to be simpler and easier, and when I tell them they need to sign up for yet another e-mail account just to collaborate with me on my SharePoint site - well, it just doesn't work. Instead of being the guy who makes things simpler and easier (the guy they want to work with), I become the exact opposite, i.e., the guy who makes things harder and more complicated.
I've seen that this is possible with other hosted SharePoint providers. So why wouldn't Microsoft provide its Office 365 customers with the same capability, i.e., allow external users to login to SharePoint sites with their own, already existing e-mail address as a username, without having to sign up for a Windows Live/MOS ID?
I'm really looking forward to hearing other opinions on this!
Thanks for the feedback.
This is Tim with Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Support.
From looking at the Office 365 Service Updates page. The Email as Sign In (EASI) update will be rolled out some time around many. Please check the Service Updates page for future updates.
I will continue to monitor this thread if you have any additional questions.
Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Support
I got news for you Microsoft - @Hotmail accounts are email accounts that people use to join porn sites not legitimate business sites, so please stop making them a requirement for anything at the professional business level and why doesn't a Windows Live ID work as an external user for Sharepoint. At least mine does not. I was being force to either sign in with a MSOID or create a new hotmail account both of which are rediculous. We don't want to create another ID.
Are you willing to give any company who wants to have sign the right to verify users against your in-house server? I have my own server that runs an e-mail service that I use for a business reason, but if someone asks me to join as an external user, how can anyone with-out access verify my email an password against a server that I own and run? The only way would be to send an e-mail and wait for a reply, now you open another can of worms, because as many have fouind out, that can easily lead to its own set of problems.
Robert, thank you for the response. No I'm not willing to give ANY company or person access to my OFF-site sharepoint site. I want to invite clients that I deal with on a regular daily basis to access a page/subsite of our sharepoint site. Asking them to create a hotmail account or a new MSOID account is rediculous if they already have a Windows Live ID. If I had the ability to add them (using just their corporate email address) to the external users group and assign a password would be the best option.
Robert and Steve, thanks for your responses.
Steve, I know that what you said ("If I had the ability to add them (using just their corporate email address) to the external users group and assign a password would be the best option") is possible with other SharePoint hosts, such as Intermedia. And that's exactly what I wanted and expected from Microsoft.
Robert, before migrating from Intermedia to Office 365, I used this procedure with some of my customers and all went well.
As I've said, requiring users to have a Windows Live/MOS ID (or even, as Tim suggested it's possible, that they associate their business email address to the LiveID system) in this case seems to me exactly the Google, Pinky-and-the-Brain-trying-to-take-over-the-world approach (forcing people to sign up for an e-mail account if they want to use a certain service). IMO, not a good thing to do in a business scenario.
We agree - this has been a major road block for us to effectively use the SharePoint in Office 365. Our customers do not like the fact of having to sign up with a Hotmail or MOS ID either and would prefer and often ask why we can't just setup them up with the contact email and a password.
We have even gone to the extent of setting up a guess user email in our system and then just provide them with the emial ID and a password which seems to work only part of the time.
An additional issue is attempting to setup external visitors in Sharepoint - more than half the time we get an error message stating the server could not be found or it was busy, etc. - with no way to find out how come we get the error. We setup an email in our external email system under one of our domains listed in Office 365, gave it a password; set it up as a Visitor in the Outlook External, obtained a Windows Live ID for the email and password and then attempted to share the Sharepoint site with the Visitor / guest. Received the Accept email but when we attempt to accept it wants use to sign in through HotMail or MOS, We have tryed to sing-in in both HotMail, MOS and Email with out a Hotmail account and keep getting a server busy or not found error message.
Have to agree one of the biggest loosing factors to Office 365 right now is effectively and easily being able to collaborate with external customers. Seems to be totally defeative to the intent and purpose of Office 365.