The Windows Club

Microsoft decides to drop Windows Live branding with Windows 8 !

We had hinted earlier that Microsoft was thinking of dropping the Windows Live branding, as it did now feel that it did not meet the expectations of a truly connected experience. Microsoft is therefore deciding to move with the times and reimagine its approach to make the user experience much better in the times of Cloud.

Microsoft has decided to rethink Windows Live in the context of Windows 8 and the new opportunities it allows.

Windows Live was first announced on November 1st, 2005. As of date, Windows Live services are used by over 500 million people every month. These services run at a massive scale, which includes Hotmail with 350 million active users and 105 petabytes of storage, Messenger – the world’s leading instant messaging service with 300 million active users and SkyDrive with over 130 million users. While Windows Live Essentials are a suite of apps which are among the most popular in their category which includes, Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Movie Maker. Windows Live Mail is second only to Outlook

Although these are noteworthy they did not meet the expectations of a truly connected experience.

…Windows Live services and apps were built on versions of Windows that were simply not designed to be connected to a cloud service for anything other than updates, and as a result, they felt “bolted on” to the experience…

Now as Windows 8 gets ready for the release later in the year, Chris Jones, Corporate Vice President, Windows Live Team  says:

…it 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.

Apart from that, we also have a choice and control over what services we use, what information we share (with others and Microsoft), and how we access our services. That’s why using any of these services is optional, and can mix and match them with the software and services we choose.

So what then will be used in Windows 8 ? The users of Windows 8 CP who are using Microsoft account to sign into Windows 8 already know that the Microsoft Account is the identity service. Thus we can use Microsoft account to sign in and then use the same account for other services like for Store, Zune etc.

…You can sign up for a Microsoft account with any email address, and provide additional verification information including your mobile phone number and a list of your trusted devices.  We’ll be rolling out the change in nomenclature from Windows Live ID to Microsoft Account over the next several months across our product line…

In today’s world of cloud service, when you sign in to Windows 8 using Microsoft account, you are already automatically provided with set of cloud services, including a contact list, calendar, inbox, instant messaging, and cloud storage. These services connect to your Windows PC and your Windows Phone – they’re accessible from any web browser, and they’re accessible to different apps if the developer of the app implements  API. In Windows 8 you can use cloud services to roam settings across PCs , thus you can log into a new PC and pick up where you left.

“Windows 8 is designed to be cloud-powered, so it comes with Metro style apps for communication, sharing, scheduling, photos, and videos. Preview versions of these apps come installed with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and include Mail, Calendar, People, Photos, Messaging, and SkyDrive.  They’re all powered by cloud services, so when you sign in with your Microsoft account, your email, calendar, contacts, messages, and shared photo albums show up right in your apps.Family safety is now a feature of Windows accounts and no longer requires a separate download

Windows Phone comes with the same set of apps, powered by cloud services, and connected to your Microsoft account.”

Thus abandoning Windows Live brand, Microsoft now takes you into a modern world of convenience & cloud service!

For Windows 7 customers, you have a set of Windows desktop apps, including Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mail, Messenger, Family Safety, and the recently released SkyDrive for the Windows desktop.

The chart below breaks down the software and services in the new world of Windows 8:

Service Windows 8 Windows Phone Web/HTML 5(live.com) API (dev.
live.com)
Earlier Versions
Account Microsoft account Microsoft account Account.live.com OAUTH Windows Live ID, Passport
Storage/
Docs
SkyDrive app, SkyDrive Desktop SkyDrive app, Office app SkyDrive.com REST, JSON FolderShare, Live Mesh, Windows Live Mesh
Email Mail app Mail app Hotmail.com EAS Windows Live Mail, Outlook Express
Calendar Calendar app Calendar app Calendar.live.com EAS, REST Windows Live Mail, Windows Calendar
Contacts People app People app People.live.com 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 Photos.live.com REST, JSON (via SkyDrive) Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Movie Maker

As you can see there’s no mention of what future holds for Windows Live Writer which is apart of Windows Live Essentials Suite and is very popular. Hope it continues to be provided in the future and can be used as any other application in Windows 8.

In the coming days,  more details on Microsoft Account will be provided. Watch this video meanwhile.