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.
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
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: