Microsoft To Rebrand Windows Live Product Line For Windows 8 Launch

Martin Brinkmann
May 2, 2012
Updated • May 3, 2012
Microsoft, Windows, Windows 8

Windows 8 is not only the first Microsoft operating system that breaks with the traditional way of working with Windows, thanks to its Metro interface, but also one that is introducing new features and changes that will have an impact on many users. Microsoft announced one of the latest changes on the Building Windows 8 blog earlier today.

In Cloud services for Windows 8 and Windows Phone: Windows Live, reimagined, company representative Chris Jones describes a change that is coming to the more than 500 million Windows Live users.  Despite being highly successful in their own regard, Windows Live products like Hotmail or SkyDrive were not providing the connected experiencing that Microsoft was aiming for.

Jones notes that Windows 8 and Windows Phone give Microsoft the opportunity to design these products to be part of a seamless Windows experience, accessible "in Windows desktop apps, Windows Metro style apps, standard web browsers, and on mobile devices".

The backbone of the new Windows Live is the Microsoft account, which was formerly known as the Windows Live ID or Passport.  Users who connect with a device or service to a Microsoft account will automatically receive access to a series of cloud services, which are accessible from devices powered by Windows, other Microsoft devices, and the web.

These services are shared between apps and services. The contact list for instance is shared across "Windows Phone, Windows 8, Hotmail, Messenger, and SkyDrive". The blog post notes that customers will have choice and control over the services that they want to use, and services that they do not want to use. According to the post, "using any of these services is optional".

Windows 8 users benefit from connecting their Microsoft Account to the operating system, for instance from the new sync feature that synchronizes several preferences and other features of the operating system with the systems they are working on.

Microsoft Services and Windows Live

Service Windows 8 Windows Phone Web/HTML 5( API (dev.
Earlier Versions
Account Microsoft account Microsoft account OAUTH Windows Live ID, Passport
SkyDrive app, SkyDrive Desktop SkyDrive app, Office app REST, JSON FolderShare, Live Mesh, Windows Live Mesh
Email Mail app Mail app EAS Windows Live Mail, Outlook Express
Calendar Calendar app Calendar app EAS, REST Windows Live Mail, Windows Calendar
Contacts People app People app EAS, REST Windows Contacts
Messaging Messaging app Messaging app Integrated in Hotmail and SkyDrive XMPP MSN Messenger
Photos/ Videos Photos app, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker Photos app, Camera Roll REST, JSON (via SkyDrive) Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Movie Maker

Cloud services on Windows 8 and Windows Phone Video

Closing Words

You won't find Windows live mentioned in the apps that you use on Windows 8 or Windows Phone anymore. Everything has basically been turned into an app name-wise, which may be confusing at first for users who upgrade from an earlier version of Windows to Windows 8. You still access the majority of those services on the domain on the other hand, and it does not look as if this is going to change anytime soon.

Some Windows Live applications, like Windows Live Writer, are not listed in the table that Microsoft posted as part of the blog post. It is not clear yet if those products will be retired, or if Microsoft will continue to develop them as well.

The good news is that Windows Live services will stay optional just like they were before. With the new name come new opportunities for users to utilize the cloud though.

What's your take on the rebranding and announcement in general?


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  1. SCBright said on May 3, 2012 at 12:23 am

    Microsoft is forgetting one very important thing: not everyone around the world have high speed broadband connections or has access to it, not everyone around the world have touch screens and cannot afford to invest in such technology.

    Surely many people (like me) prefer to keep certain information private, not spread around the Internet since the Internet has been highly monitored by large corporations like Microsoft itself, Google and so on.

    It seems that they are developing a great Big Brother to watch even those that seem to belong to an elite.

    It seems that we have no private life (sign of the times). Sometimes I prefer to stay offline …

    I hope I’m wrong.

    1. Finvana said on May 3, 2012 at 10:04 am

      That’s why I don’t like any sort of syncing. I don’t want them to store in their servers “all” my private info.

  2. Gonzo said on May 2, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    MS needs to stop renaming they’re products and stick to something, same with Google for that matter. I realize it gets more attention via the press when you appear to roll out an “all new product” but it’s too confusing for users. Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail, and now Mail. It should just be MS Mail v1, v2, v3. Outlook (bundled with Office) should be MS Mail Pro. Job done.

    P.S. the term “Cloud” still sends shivers up my spine.

    PPPS – How much more spying on users are they doing?… errr Customer Experience Improvement Programs ;)

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