Microsoft to drop Windows Live branding

Microsoft has decided to discontinue using the "Windows Live" branding from its suite of personal cloud-based services. First announced in November 2005, today Windows Live services are used by over 500 million people each month, and comprise web-based products such as Hotmail, SkyDrive and Messenger, as well as the Windows Live Essentials PC software, among other things.

Microsoft has frequently come under fire in the past for their product-naming choices, which some in the tech industry think have created confusion between consumers. With the impending launch of Windows 8, the folks at Redmond have gone in favor of simplicity and consistency by doing away with the Windows Live naming.

Windows Live ID to become Microsoft Account

As the change rolls out over the next few months, these Microsoft services will simply lose the "Windows Live" prefix - the features and functionality will stay - and users will be able to sign in using a Microsoft account (previously called a Windows Live ID.)

Windows 8 will come installed with the Calendar, Mail, Messaging, People, Photos and SkyDrive apps. Windows Phone 7 also already comes with these features built-in. These cloud-powered apps will keep your files, media and settings in sync across all the computers and devices associated with your Microsoft account.

So for example, if you have customized your Windows 8 computer's PC settings and you log in to any other Windows 8 PC with your Microsoft account, the settings will be set likewise on that PC. Or if you add a contact to your Windows Phone, it's added automatically to your Hotmail and Messenger contacts.

The following table from the Building Windows 8 blog will give you a good idea about what's old and what's new:

Windows Live before and after Windows 8

  Source: Building Windows 8
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