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AT&T and Yahoo Kill Customer Support

We had a client using AT&T DSL whose Windows Live Mail stopped working. AT&T uses Yahoo mail servers for processing. Windows Live Mail kept asking for username and password over and over. Logging into webmail worked fine, but nothing would get mail into Windows Live.

We called AT&T tech support and were told that the customer has to log into webmail and send a message (to yourself is OK) to reset the account. Then you can use Windows Live Mail or other POP3 client (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.) They recommended that you do this once per month or else Yahoo will will stop authenticating email logins.

When our tech asked "Where is it written that we have to do this? I haven't seen it in any communication from the company and even when we logged into webmail nothing suggested we needed to send mail to reactive the account." "Sir, it isn't written anywhere," was the chilling reply.

This has the look and feel of a massive problems between AT&T and Yahoo. But what makes this really stupid is that neither company is winning any friends with this. Our customer had been an AT&T customer for more than a dozen years, but is now looking at alternatives. They've also taken Yahoo out of their search engines in Internet Explorer. How does this benefit either company? One would think they could have a pissing contest that didn't piss off all their customers.

Marissa Mayer left Google and became Yahoo's CEO on July 17. Hopefully, this decision was made before she came on board. Google has never stubbed its toe this badly, so one would hope that she would start by fixing this kind of silly customer-killing stupidity. Or perhaps Yahoo is so far gone even she can't fix what's broken.