So, you are currently looking forward to getting/purchasing a Windows Phone 8 phone or have just unboxed the device, but what do you need to do before you get started? While Microsoft services are recommended over competitors to further enhance features and overall functionality, they are not required.

You don’t have to go all out on Windows if you choose not to. In fact, Microsoft has made it so that you can continue to live in a house dominated by competitors and still get the most out of Windows Phone. So what are the Microsoft equivalents of what you can already use on a daily basis?

The services we talk about in this article are optional, but we strongly encourage you to set up a Microsoft account and get started. Creating one is very easy and you most likely already have an active profile. Have a Live ID or play on Xbox LIVE? Sweetie, you’re ready to go. If not, go to the registration page — more on that below.

Microsoft account

Why get a Microsoft account?

Here are a few reasons why you should set up an account on Windows Phone:

  • Protect your Windows Phone with automatic backup and location detection (Find My Phone).
  • Turn on Xbox LIVE, Xbox Music (free trial available), and Messenger.
  • Receive and send emails using (or Hotmail).
  • Sync your Windows Phone (and its contents) with your Windows 8 PC.
  • Take advantage of SkyDrive and a generous free quote.
  • Buy and download apps and games from the Windows Phone Store.
  • Twitter and Linked In integration in People Hub.
  • Get personal results in Local Scout, Music + Videos and Windows Phone Store.
  • Automatically sync contacts with Hotmail/Outlook.

The Microsoft account is the consumer’s key to access the services and products offered by the company. From Xbox Music to Outlook and Windows Store 8, it further integrates into Windows with the latest version of the desktop, bringing Microsoft account support for user management and device personalization.

Microsoft products