Windows Live Wifi rebrands to MSN

By Chris | Posted February 16, 2007 10 comments

Yet more juggling between MSN and Windows Live brands. The Windows Live Wifi Suite, including the Hotspot Locator, are soon moving over to MSN. Unlike the Windows Live Hotmail rebrand, the timing is much better, with the Wifi Suite not yet available as a public download.

Whilte the change from Windows Live to MSN WiFi Center and MSN WiFi Hotspots seems slightly bizarre, it fits in nicely with older MSN services such as MSN Internet Access. When you consider that the MSNIA team is actually developing the Wifi service, it highlights just how keen Microsoft was to brand everything Live at the beginning of 2006.

MSN Wifi Hotspots will soon be available at http://hotspot.msn.com/ featuring over 130,000 wifi hotspots (it currently loads Windows Live Hotspot Locator).

Posted February 16th, 2007 at 3:20 am
  • http://www.mstechtoday.com Brandon LeBlanc

    Boo! What a stupid decision. And yet another decision that further confuses the branding between Windows Live and MSN. What a surprise. Gah! And I liked the Wifi desktop app too.

  • Chris

    Bit of a role reversal here Brandon, as I support this decision. The Wifi Center isn’t available in a public beta, therefore the rebranding is unknown to the regular user. It also fits in better with the aims of MSN than the aims of Windows Live, which to quote ideas.live.com:

    “Windows Live™ is a new set of Internet software and services designed to work together seamlessly to put you in control of the information, personal connections, and interests you care about. Windows Live makes it easier for you to stay in touch with your friends, and to find the information you need quickly and more safely. ”

    A Wifi Suite does not fit into that particularly well, whereas with MSN’s legacy Internet Access software its a better match. I do think that most users getting familiar with Windows Live will find it weird that this is an MSN Application. Can’t win them all though :)

  • http://khristopherr.spaces.live.com Khristopher

    This one should remain as Windows Live…. doesn’t make any sense. What a bunch of morons lol.

  • wargarurumon

    this has got to stop
    what are these guys thinking?
    and why don’t they even kill windows live,
    make a decision, now!!!!

  • http://sxmangel.spaces.live.com/ sxmangel

    Guess I have to edit my Favorites…**sigh**

  • JonT

    I don’t like the change but I can see why they have done it =)

  • LosHavros

    Looks like the saga of “is it MSN or Windows Live…..geez boss…we don’t know!” continues…

  • http://ShawnOster Shawn Oster

    I’m glad Microsoft is giving the Live brand a rest.

    Unless it relates to the “real” Live service, i.e. XBox Live, then it doesn’t belong in the Live stable. I don’t mean it has to be game related, just that it has to plug into the same contacts, assets, points, tag and account management as the original Live service. Perhaps I’m wrong but isn’t that the first real use of “Live”? Shouldn’t then everything that follows be true to that spirit?

    I’ve always thought Microsoft was desperate for a hip brand and Live was the only thing going for it that was doing well as a brand and icon so they co opt’d it and slapped it around on everything.

    It’s Marketing 101, if you say a brand you should come up with 3 to 5 core ideals that the brand invokes. Saying “Live” either gives you a blank look or so many vague phrases that you realize the word is just filler for the marketing proofs. Once you get those 3 to 5 core ideals you should also be able to strongly tie them into every single product that wears that brand, otherwise you’re doing harm to the brand itself, thus bringing every other product down.

    If I hold up XBox Live and WiFi Live and Live OneCare what do they actually have in common? Nothing, except Microsoft and maybe the Internet and even then they don’t relate the same way. XBox Live means “socially interacting with a set of people via a secured, proprietary service” while WiFi Live is just “a list of wifi locations” and Live OneCare, “anti-virus, firewall, spyware-stopper”. I don’t see much similarity between any of those products so thus they shouldn’t share the Live brand.

    The decision to drop Live from the WiFi gadget shows the clouds are parting and perhaps someone realized they were starting to destroy the Live brand.

  • http://paulstorms.spaces.live.com paulstorm

    No doubt, Xbox Live was first in the eyes of most people. Microsoft has been thinking about what has become “Live” for many years…as far back as 1999 when they were called “Megaservices”, and “WinTone” back then. Internet enabled software & services. That isn’t exclusive to one brand at Microsoft. Live is and should be used across Office, Windows, and Gaming.

    The only area where I really cringe is in the new “Live for Windows” gaming brand…linking Xbox 360 and Windows Vista machines. I get it — but people will probably be confused.

  • http://a-simian-mind.blogspot.com Shawn Oster

    Paulstorm, I have to disagree with you. Live shouldn’t be applied to Office, that makes *me* cringe. There should be a unifing concept behind Live so if a product has the Live label you get a sense of what it’s going to offer. Office Live doesn’t tell me much.

    Regardless of what Microsoft may *want* Live to be, it isn’t just “internet enabled software & services”. It’s the concept of a certain network with unique services and account management. It’s a unique way in which you act with those said services from a unified ID, your gamertag or zunetag or just “usertag”. Microsoft is a vicitim of it’s own success, they pushed the XBox Live network hard on consumers, they turned Live into a noun, talked about it as if it’s single service.

    The only reason people would be confused by “Live for Windows” is when they hear about something like “Office Live”. The average consumer still views Live as an XBox/Gaming concept. It means you have a certain contact list and way of communicating so when they see “Live for Windows” they instantly think, “Cool, I can play my XBox buddies from my PC”. Now they see “Office Live” and scratch their head, does that mean you can get achivements of doing a successful mail-merge?

    I can say the above strongly because the only time I ever hear about Live in the consumer segment is “See you on Live” or “Are you paying for the Gold membership on Live?” or “My router is crap, it keeps dumping me out of Live”. Live to my 13-year old cousin and even my 30-year old friends means a social gaming network, not the fact that they can get on the Internet.

    Interesting how views can so wildly differ, I can only imagine how it is in the Live camp.