Trying hard to buy Microsoft Office: "untangling" (from) the "tenant account"

TLDR Over the last 24 hours, I tried buying Office 365 Business Premium (O365BP). Sharing my story may serve both as a cautionary tale and therapeutic purposes. Maybe someone has an idea how I can “untangle” from / my “tenant account”? :crossed_fingers:

Feeling at home with Office
I’ve been using Microsoft Office since about 2000. Over 20 years, it has become my sweet, sweet productivity addiction. I kind of know how to use it. It just took me under five years to get used to and not hate the ribbon interface. I like the general robustness of nowadays document layouting engine. I am addicted to Office to a degree that I even stopped my pretty convinced six-plus-month Linux-exclusive experiment simply because I did not want to work with a system that does not run Office natively. I’ve had some flirts with the wonderful procrastination instrument that is LaTeX working on books and even presentations but especially the latter is like dipping a typewriter in paint and using it as a brush: it’s fun, but it’s also a bit of a mess, and it takes ages - fashionably nerdy, though! OpenOffice or LibreOffice are excellent for what they are, but I never really got into the groove with them.

Licensing situation
Since I’ve changed from working at a university to working freelance, I decided to clear up my licensing situation and spring for a O365BP subscription.


  1. I tried to sign up my external email address (one I did not knowingly use with Microsoft before), “computer says: no” - the email address is linked to another account (does not say which) or guideline that prohibits selling me this particular version of Office (does not say why - just that “no”). Need to make a new account.

  2. Since I did not want to create another account (I already have two with Microsoft - I know, it’s a mess), I tried reaching out to the Microsoft sales hotline and ask them to untangle the accounts and, please, take my money. A hotline I’d expect to be well-staffed. Held the call for 20 minutes before giving up.

  3. Googled “Office 365” whether there would be another hotline and clicked the first link. To my surprise, I find that my internet provider (Deutsche Telekom) also tries selling me O365BP and is ranked above Microsoft. Interesting. They have another number. I instantly get through. But the friendly service person cannot help me untangle my “tenant account” (it appears that this is a kind of a Microsoft admin account that steers the other accounts, should you have more than one). Gotta talk to Microsoft.

  4. Went back to the Microsoft support site, used their call-back feature. No-one ever called back.

  5. In parallel, I went to the Microsoft support site to try out the live chat function. Joined live-chat, the window says: 5th in line. Put the window to the side, after about 15 minutes I am 6th in line, another 20 minutes and I am 7th in line. Briefly reconsidered all I knew about lines and came to the conclusion to close the window.

Microsoft seems positively swamped with people who overrun them trying to buy their licenses and needing some sort of assistance doing so. Both pretty impressive and somewhat surprising. I mean, I don’t expect much from support, but I kind of expect a bit more from help buying their product, no? Do they really feel that much extra load from the current circumstances regarding SARS-CoV2? Or is it just perfectly normal not to be able to reach them?

Bottom line
Does anyone have an idea where I should look to “self-untangle” from a / my “tenant account”?

Problem is fixed. You cannot use a personal account to buy a business subscription. Different type of animal. It’s a lovely introduction to what “Azure” might be and what it’s used for, though. Interesting!

Ok, the therapeutic part already kicks in - merely reflecting the situation helps solving it. Found this: It seems that simply since I must have created the account as a personal account beforehand, I now cannot use it as a professional account. It might be a stretch to call that insight “Interesting!”, but something is going forward, at least. :slight_smile:

Really loving the spirit of the article above: “I know, I know. Hang on, it gets worse.” :smiley:


That was my first thought, whether you had used it for a personal account.

If it is your own domain, can you use another address?

Are you going to use the O365 for email as well? Or will you continue with your current provider? If the latter, you can create a account.

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You poor thing! Telling you that AA for Office is a good idea is probably not going to convince the addict in you that self-flagellation doesn’t have to occur! I encourage you to seek help before you succumb to madness :wink: I don’t do much in an office suite, so LibreOffice was my solution.

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As an alternative, I will teach you about a feature of GMail you might use to your advantage. Well two actually.

In GMail, these two email prefixes are identical (I won’t form them into full email addresses for spam protection):
PHolder@ P.Holder@ P.H.o.l.d.e.r@ and so on. The periods don’t register. So if you have one gmail address, now you have half a dozen.

Additionally, for those sites that will support it, you can add absolutely ANYTHING after a plus sign: PHolder+FooBar@ PHolder+Microsoft@ P.Holder+TWIT@ etc… these are all the same accounts as with the ones above.

So now, if you need multiple related accounts, you got it.

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You hit the nail on the head. I just learned that following through with the Telekom sign-up. It turned out that a business accounts appear to take an Azure instance that require their own tenant account - which is the . The respective account is then but not .

That is actually pretty interesting. :slight_smile: What would you use this for? I find it hard to keep track on the accounts I actually did create. I might go off the rails given the ability to randomly add characters.

I wanted to like LibreOffice, but it always felt like slightly off. Granted, this is as much an admission of limited capability to adapt to slightly different UIs and functions on my part as it is the slight incompatibility to MS Office that I am sure Microsoft loves to keep cooking…

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Well, remember that any email targeted at any of those addresses all land in the same place. This prevents you from “forgetting” about them if they’re used. But it prevents someone (say Microsoft) from relating them… it will see them as two different accounts. I use them to track who might end up spamming me. If I get an email addressed to PHolder+Microsoft I know that either MS has spammed me, or sold my address, or they were hacked, or something.

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If you meant using them for account credentials, then it can’t go too far off the rails if you use a password manager like LastPass (or any of the rest.) In fact it helps me, because if I need to know which credential I seek, I can search in LastPass… I type into the search Microsoft and I find the email address(es) I have used with them.

Fun and games. Yes, with business accounts you’re basically using Azure AD I believe in top of which you can build all sorts of federated logins. My work has several federated logins that can all authenticate against Azure AD and then into O365, Power Platform etc.


Same here, I could not get on with LibreOffice at all. I tend to use a mixture of Google Docs and O365 these days.

I ran on Linux for several years as my main workstation (and I’m thinking of going back), but Office was the one thing that could not be satisfactually replaced. OO.o and LibreOffice are great products, in isolation. But in business, where you are exchanging documents with clients, it is a non-starter, unless they are also using LibreOffice.

The formatting is often lost or, worse, changed. Things that fit on exactly 1 page in Word suddenly need 3 or 4 lines on a second page in LO; annoying at best, stupid at worst, where the salutation is on the first page and the space for your signature, followed by your name and title are on the second page!

If you are working on a 200 - 400 page document that has “lost” its formatting, it is a real pain to have to go back through it and reformat. Even worse, when you then have to send it back to the client and they think you are totally incompetent at using Office.

The biggest oops I ever saw was a presentation from a customer. They came to a company that I worked for. They brought a PowerPoint with them, which outlined the workflows they wanted us to implement for them. My boss only had OO.o on the presentation room computer (hidden computer linked to a large display built into the wall). OO.o moved the lines of the process flow charts around randomly, so they were (at best) starting in thin air near where they should or (at worst) were linking the wrong objects!

Luckily the client had brought a printout, so they quickly photocopied that for the meeting.


My solution for this is the fact that LibreOffice has a very easy option to export to PDF. It depends on if you expect a client to edit your docs I suppose, but I am hard pressed to imagine a situation where you produce something for someone else (who is not one of your employees) to edit.

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Exactly this.

I have this hypothesis (and I have a feeling of pointing out the obvious here) that different systems and particularly user interfaces require somewhat latent “types of discipline” to work optimally and that finding out and adopting these types of discipline may be the central hurdle of adoption. Over the top way of saying “gotta learn to use it”, but puts the focus on motivation to discover and endurance to adapt. Sadly, for office software, I have neither. Its like telling a carpenter to use a slightly different saw that locks up occasionally if you use it like the old one.

Then, there is just buggy software. Any software has bugs, be it OO, Libre, or MS.

Then, there are incompatibilities.

And here comes the crucial bit: it can be very hard and demotivating to tell a bug from an incompatibility from user error and failure to adopt. Then you turn diagnostician instead of simply doing what you wanted in the first place. This drift of identities from feeling productive to needing to fix stuff is the real source of the pain.

OK. This train of thought has taken me on a longer ride than expected. :smiley:

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One interesting consequence of this is that I now have two different accounts at Microsoft with the same email address. One personal that I could set up straight away and a business one that I had to first take the route, then link my domain, then set up my account. For sure, only the one with the domain link receives my mail. The result is that the account page shows the same addresses as identities, but with different icons (more of a corporate badge for business). All of this makes absolute sense now as both accounts reside on different domains, and it’s even pretty elegant, but it’s only obvious after diving into it. And getting help from all you guys. :clap: :bowing_man:


It was often specifications for systems, which were living documents. They would go into a document management system, but every time the system was changed, the documentation would need to be updated. I was also just one of about 2 dozen people (internal and external developers) working on the project.

Even when I was mainly using Linux as my main workstation, I kept a Windows PC with Office around in the corner for checking documents, before they went out. But it soon got to the situation where all external documents were only worked on on the Windows PC.

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I’m a Gsuite subscriber because I like their email offering over Microsoft. However when it comes to productivity software I’m all office. I use Microsoft 365 now. My email is in outlook, my notes from church are stored in onenote (Notebook I use at church transcribed to digital notebook) when I type up a blog post I do so in word, save it and then copy the text out to wordpress. I like how word feels compared to Google Docs. I know I’m odd.

Interesting! The slight incompatibility of FastMail with Outlook (no CalDav for calendar synching in Outlook, requires a plugin) made me move over from FastMail to Office 365 (, too). In what way do you like Google’s email services better but rather prefer Outlook for a client? Purely regarding plans or rather based on usability?

The reason I prefer Gsuite over Microsoft offering actually has more to do with Calendar. I’ve never been able to get Microsoft to work so easily to share. I publish one calendar to my website.I have a calendar for my personal appts, a calendar for bills and a calendar strictly for my work schedule with my employer. I share the public and work schedule with a couple people so we can plan events. I tried with Microsoft once and just didn’t work as well. Also I like that I can sign in with Google everywhere and its easy to sign up with that account as opposed to signing up with microsoft so ease of use on that front.