Windows Live branding is dead, hello Microsoft Account

Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows Division at Microsoft, and Chris Jones, corporate vice president of Windows Live, took to the company's Building Windows 8 blog to detail the cloud service integration that will be featured in Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

In the blog post, Sinofsky and Jones state that the cloud services featured in Windows 8 will serve as an update to Microsoft's Windows Live platform, which has not met Microsoft's expectations of "a truly connected experience." At the forefront of the company's cloud services will be a Microsoft account, which creates an identity to be used across Microsoft services, from the Xbox to SkyDrive and beyond.  Microsoft accounts were previously known as Windows Live IDs, although the company will be updating its product lines in the next several months to note the recent branding change. In Windows 8, a user's account settings will roam across PCs via the user's Microsoft account.

Killing the Windows Live name will help eliminate some of the complexity associated with the cloud services offered, Microsoft believes. The "Windows Live" name created confusion among consumers, according to the blog post, as the company used the name to refer to its Windows Live software suite, web-based services, a user's account with Microsoft and other Microsoft products and services.

Microsoft provided a video, seen below, in which Jones promises the new cloud services "rethink Windows Live" to better serve customers. Jones shows how the cloud-based experience of Microsoft services, including SkyDrive and Hotmail, will be the same across the company's platforms and through a web browser. The video also briefly discusses how developers can implement Microsoft's cloud service APIs for their customer service.

Windows 8 and Windows Phone will make use of the following Microsoft cloud services: Microsoft accountsSkyDriveMail/HotmailCalendarPeople, Messaging and Photos. According to Sinofsky, Windows Live services are currently used by more than 500 million users a month. Additionally, Hotmail has 350 million active users, Messenger has 300 million active users and SkyDrive has 130 million active users.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Amazon launches Windows and Mac cloud desktop apps

Next Story

DirectX 11 graphics support for Call of Duty: Black Ops II PC

62 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

At the forefront of the company's cloud services will be a Microsoft account, which creates an identity to be used across Microsoft services, from the Xbox to SkyDrive and beyond. Microsoft accounts were previously known as Windows Live IDs, although the company will be updating its product lines in the next several months to note the recent branding change.

This surely has been previously talked about and reported? Microsoft announce this portion before, and even provided technical information on the transition from Live ID to Microsoft Account to one of tech teams a couple of months ago.

There is a timeline of the 'account' model - look up on WikiPedia.

The name change is to end confusion, as it originally was to be a 'wallet standard' login and be open and free. You know better than OpenID, but like 10 years before OpenID. However the mistrust of Microsoft in the late 90s and over the years, kept it from being used.

So it is no longer holding an agnostic name, as it would need for others to use, and will be Microsoft Account. Period.

So basically we'll need (optional, but still) a microsoft account to login into Windows 8. right? Because nowadays we use a Live account.

MidnightDevil said,
So basically we'll need (optional, but still) a microsoft account to login into Windows 8. right? Because nowadays we use a Live account.

You don't have to use your LiveID/Microsoft Account to login into Windows 8; however, doing so gives you better security and your Apps and settings can follow you around the world, at each place you login.

If you already have a LiveID, you already have Microsoft Account. Nothing new is needed either. Most people have one for Messenger or Hotmail or from their XBox Live subscription.

I wonder what will happen to Windows Live Writer, it's one of my favorite apps from the Live group.

Ely said,
I wonder what will happen to Windows Live Writer, it's one of my favorite apps from the Live group.

I expect a new windows 8 metro app called Writer, or something else as equally uninspiring.

Ely said,
I wonder what will happen to Windows Live Writer, it's one of my favorite apps from the Live group.

Look for a WordPress and other Apps to fill this area, like on WP7.

(I would like to see a new LiveWriter, but I think this is going to be left up to the App ecosystem instead.)

Interesting vid... I was skeptical at first about Windows 8 first. But the more I read about when Windows 8 and the changes that are being made the more I'm kind of being pulled in. I might setup a VMware this weekend and run Windows 8 and have a tinker around with Windows 8.

remixedcat said,
It'll be something else in a few months....

Knowing Microsoft, it is a safe bet. Even if their branding is considered a GOOD brand (i.e., Zune) they still abandon it.

Shadrack said,

Knowing Microsoft, it is a safe bet. Even if their branding is considered a GOOD brand (i.e., Zune) they still abandon it.

Didn't everyone hate the name Zune?

deadonthefloor said,
Geez, anyone using the CP of Win8 could have told you this.

I for one was never a fan of the 'live' brand.

Beats 'dead' though...

Glad it's going away too. Can be confusing to people who aren't familiar with it. Now I can tell my parents to get a MS account and be done with it. I'm using the cloud stuff more lately and I'm pretty happy with it. Liked how he showed the integration between PC/Phone and how seamless it was. Oh how I WISH we could do the collaboration stuff where I work. It would make our jobs vastly easier. Sadly a lot of people here are smitten with Apple.

laserfloyd said,
Glad it's going away too. Can be confusing to people who aren't familiar with it. Now I can tell my parents to get a MS account and be done with it. I'm using the cloud stuff more lately and I'm pretty happy with it. Liked how he showed the integration between PC/Phone and how seamless it was. Oh how I WISH we could do the collaboration stuff where I work. It would make our jobs vastly easier. Sadly a lot of people here are smitten with Apple.

I agree with you on this one. Not that my parents are think far from it...

PC+Novice-Parent=Disaster

deadonthefloor said,

Lol, like that's up to you.
You'll keep it for as long as MS let you keep it.

I do not think MS has a problem with that; I still have my old @msn.com from "MSN Classic" and "Microsoft Network" times........

Windows Live, live windows? It was a horrible brand name and never made any sense to me, this is a good move. Keep it simple and follow Apple.

derekaw said,
Windows Live, live windows? It was a horrible brand name and never made any sense to me, this is a good move. Keep it simple and follow Apple.

I don't think they should follow Apple. iTools, .Mac, Mobile Me, iCloud - if anything Apple are even worse at naming their cloud services and they're yet to produce something that people actually want to use.

in the Apple world you have always had an Apple ID. Apple Mail was recently renamed Mail, iCal was renamed Calandar and so on. MS has subsequently renamed their apps (programs) in a similar way.

derekaw said,
in the Apple world you have always had an Apple ID. Apple Mail was recently renamed Mail, iCal was renamed Calandar and so on. MS has subsequently renamed their apps (programs) in a similar way.

You don't seem to realize that Microsoft Account had a far different begining and intent that Apple ID.

It was originally a single sign on technology with Wallet features. (Long before OpenID or Google Wallet, like by 10 years or more.)

It was going to be free and an open standard, but the industry didn't trust Microsoft in the 90s, and they did everything they could to kill it and avoid it.

It carried a non-Microsoft Brand name, as it was a system that anyone could use, and thus was to be handed over as a standard. This is why it was called Passport and LiveID and other variation over the years.

Since it is no longer going to be used by anyone but Microsoft and to span the various product 'brands' (XBox, Windows, Music, etc) it is being moved to Microsoft Account.

Once and for all.

Apple ID was never meant to be anything more than an ID for Apple users. Quite a different system, technology and intent.

TRC said,
MSN Messenger, then Windows Messenger, and finally Windows Live Messenger.

Windows Messenger was the build in version of MSN messenger for "business users" (not that that ever took off). It coexisted with MSN messenger. Microsoft Messenger never existed AFAIK

XerXis said,

Windows Messenger was the build in version of MSN messenger for "business users" (not that that ever took off). It coexisted with MSN messenger. Microsoft Messenger never existed AFAIK

Actually, it did (still does) - it's part of Office:mac); just never on Windows.

XerXis said,
Windows Messenger was the build in version of MSN messenger for "business users" (not that that ever took off). ...

Now we have Lync!

ooh.. my xbox account's account account is not accounted for.... seems accounting accounted the wrong account. wait - what?

I always hated that branding and how they tried to shoehorn the word live into everything. Windows Live Movie Maker? It was a stupid idea from the beginning, glad to see they are dumping it finally.

TRC said,
I always hated that branding and how they tried to shoehorn the word live into everything. Windows Live Movie Maker? It was a stupid idea from the beginning, glad to see they are dumping it finally.

Yeah, it was horrible. I can understand them wanting to group everything together but they lost the brand day one. Everybody still called Windows Live Messenger, MSN/Messenger for example. How on earth a three barreled naming scheme at least got through I'll never know.

I just dont understand what was wrong with hotmail being hotmail. Why mix it with all that pathetic names like live, dive, pipe etc!

Forver said,
I just dont understand what was wrong with hotmail being hotmail. Why mix it with all that pathetic names like live, dive, pipe etc!

Hotmail is going to continue to be Hotmail.

Forver said,
I just dont understand what was wrong with hotmail being hotmail. Why mix it with all that pathetic names like live, dive, pipe etc!

The next version will be called:
Windows® Pipe™ Hotmail Dive™ Microsoft® Account™ 2012 Professional Edition (with Office 365™ Integration)

cyberdrone2000 said,

The next version will be called:
Windows® Pipe™ Hotmail Dive™ Microsoft® Account™ 2012 Professional Edition (with Office 365™ Integration)

Lol, or WPHDMAPE for short .

Great move. The Windows Live branding didn't click with non techies. Most only knew of "MSN" and Hotmail, and little else.

Denis W said,
Great move. The Windows Live branding didn't click with non techies. Most only knew of "MSN" and Hotmail, and little else.
I would call myself a "techie" and I always thought the "Live" branding was horrible

Rudy said,
I would call myself a "techie" and I always thought the "Live" branding was horrible

Anybody who is a techie who cares about branding is not a techie.

Windows Live offerings were/are amazing. It's sad to see them strip features of the collection of applications as well as make only simplified interfaces. True techies should be sad to see this move from MS.

MrHumpty said,

They are feature parity. Just a different way of going about it.
Yes but he made it sound like they took netmeeting and built Messenger from it

gate1975mlm said,
So then what will the next version of Windows Live Mail be called?

Anyone could have told MS that 'Windows Live' was confusing and horrible. Glad they are getting it right. Just calling an app what it does is fine enough. Mail all the way.

Anthony Tosie said,

Mail. It's just going to be the Mail app in Windows 8, apparently (not sure if they're going to make a new suite for the desktop). Check the link for a chart that shows a list of all the naming.

Edit: I mean the blog post link -- http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/arc...indows-live-reimagined.aspx

And they need a new suite for the desktop *why*?

For those customers that need more than the Mail app for Windows 8, Microsoft already has products that fill those niches - Outlook Web/365 and Outlook itself. Windows Live Mail was a product in search of a niche - which is, actually, part of its problem. The rest of Windows Live is having its lunch eaten (mostly by other Microsoft products - notably Office). It's not the branding - it's the *fratricide* problem. Unless you're Apple, you generally aren't permitted to capture your prospective customers to a major degree - look at the revolt going on simply in terms of Android and other Google products.

PGHammer said,

And they need a new suite for the desktop *why*?

For those customers that need more than the Mail app for Windows 8, Microsoft already has products that fill those niches - Outlook Web/365 and Outlook itself. Windows Live Mail was a product in search of a niche - which is, actually, part of its problem. The rest of Windows Live is having its lunch eaten (mostly by other Microsoft products - notably Office). It's not the branding - it's the *fratricide* problem. Unless you're Apple, you generally aren't permitted to capture your prospective customers to a major degree - look at the revolt going on simply in terms of Android and other Google products.


Because Outlook Express and Windows Mail are dead, and because not everyone buys Office, which has Outlook. And because a lot of people would prefer to stay in the desktop when using a PC instead of jumping into the Start Screen and its apps. I don't really see that as being a niche market -- I see it as being a fairly substantive market. It's obviously been big enough that Microsoft felt it was warranted to include an application in every previous version of Windows since Windows 3.

Microsoft said the branding is the problem.

PGHammer said,

And they need a new suite for the desktop *why*?

For those customers that need more than the Mail app for Windows 8, Microsoft already has products that fill those niches - Outlook Web/365 and Outlook itself. Windows Live Mail was a product in search of a niche - which is, actually, part of its problem. The rest of Windows Live is having its lunch eaten (mostly by other Microsoft products - notably Office). It's not the branding - it's the *fratricide* problem. Unless you're Apple, you generally aren't permitted to capture your prospective customers to a major degree - look at the revolt going on simply in terms of Android and other Google products.

Setting up Office 365 is not for the general user, and can be confusing to those who are not IT pros. First, you need to create a Internet domain, setup a server, modify MX records so that it will point to your domain, install Office on your computers, configure office to reference your domains, etc. Users do not want to do this, they want to type in their mail address and password, and start reading mail. MS does not make it hard because they have been too lazy to do it the right way, it is hard because it is the right way and gives IT people what they need.

Office 365, Office, and Mail are targeted to very different users. Apple tries to shoehorn everyone into one category, and they have not been a success at it (how many different versions of iCloud have they had now, all of them have failed). Microsoft has 3 different levels for people who have different needs, and to claim there is "fratricide" by giving people choice is disingenuous.

Anthony Tosie said,

Mail. It's just going to be the Mail app in Windows 8, apparently (not sure if they're going to make a new suite for the desktop). Check the link for a chart that shows a list of all the naming.

Edit: I mean the blog post link -- http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/arc...indows-live-reimagined.aspx

By that thinking someone is bound to sue again.. similar to the problem of Android saying just Browser. which is what it does. yeah I'd like to uninstall that and stick my own in. albeit right now Thunderbird 12 won't even let me send mail anymore so I was forced to go to Live Mail. Miss the old Thunderbird. which bothered to work. and even with all these upgrades.. Thunderbird doesn't have a built in export import function o_O