Why Microsoft’s Windows Live is fading into the sunset

Microsoft today confirmed plans to stop using the “Windows Live” brand for its online services, as the new version of its operating system, Window 8, incorporates more of those services by default.

The move had been widely anticipated after previews of Windows 8 omitted the phrase.

For example, the new operating system will let people use what was formerly known as Windows Live IDs to log into their computers. In addition, what was previously called Windows Live SkyDrive will be incorporated into Windows 8. However, they will be known simply as Microsoft accounts and SkyDrive.

Microsoft vice president Chris Jones outlined the plan in a blog post today.

Windows 8 provides us with an opportunity to reimagine our approach to services and software and to design them to be a seamless part of the Windows experience, accessible in Windows desktop apps, Windows Metro style apps, standard web browsers, and on mobile devices. Today the expectation is that a modern device comes with services as well as apps for communication and sharing.  There is no “separate brand” to think about or a separate service to install – it is all included when you turn on your PC for the first time.

Windows Live was introduced in November 2005, and the branding caused confusion with the company’s longtime MSN Internet brand.

The confusion manifested itself in other ways, as well. For a short period, for example, the company went so far as to rebrand Hotmail as Windows Live Mail, before shifting back to Windows Live Hotmail. Now it’s just Hotmail again.

Suddenly my “live.com” email address feels like a collector’s item.

  • Guest

    Thank you to Microsoft for putting Windows Live to rest. I think I speak for everyone when I say this was the company’s worst branding move since “.NET” a few years earlier.

    • Guest

      Agreed.  Bad branding on a suite of products that could never find themselves.

  • Guest

    Better late than never.

  • LarryLurex70

    Would love to be able to get rid of the Windows Live Messenger pop-up on my computer every freakin’ time I start it up!

    • Guest

      Go into options and disable the run at startup flag.

  • Guest

    Live was a terrible brand name and the execution and updates were even worse. Whatever they call the new stuff, let’s hope it’s a) better quality b) more competitive c) better marketed.

  • Jonah

    Wow, very surprised you didn’t mention the antitrust issues Microsoft was navigating at the time, and even more surprised at how little the commentors understand about how big an impact the Justice Department played in the Windows Live offering. 

    You think if the Justice department hadn’t moved on to Google and Apple as their next source of cash that you would be using your Live ID to log into Widnows 8?  Absolutely not.

    • Guest

      I think most understand that. It doesn’t excuse the lousy job MS did, both on the products generally (which in most cases aren’t very competitive) and the naming/marketing (poor/nonexistent).

      • Jonah

        skydrive is better than google drive, live writer is regarded as a very good blogging tool, messenger has done every thing skype does before skype existed (and better integrates with social media sites chat function) and passport ID is arguably one of the most secure of the free authentication systems.