Microsoft says goodbye to “Windows Live”: Building Windows 8 blog

By Kip Kniskern | Posted May 2, 2012 74 comments

windows liveIn a post on the Building Windows 8 blog this morning, Corporate Vice President Chris Jones laid out the thinking behind what he calls “Windows Live, reimagined”, which perhaps most significantly, includes the zinger confirmation that Windows Live “did not meet our expectations of a truly connected experience”:

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..

And so with the introduction of Windows 8, Microsoft will apparently no longer be using the term “Windows Live” to refer to its cloud based services, partially because those services weren’t all cloud based, anyway:

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. This created some amount of customer confusion, which is noted in several reviews and editorials. The names we used to describe our products added to that complexity: we used “Windows Live” to refer to software for your PC (Windows Live Essentials), a suite of web-based services (Hotmail, SkyDrive, and Messenger), your account relationship with Microsoft (Windows Live ID), and a host of other offers.

The first and most important link to Microsoft’s cloud based services going forward will be your Windows Live ID Microsoft account:

When you connect a device or service to your Microsoft account, you’re automatically provisioned with a set of cloud services, including a contact list, calendar, inbox, instant messaging, and cloud storage. Of course these services connect to your 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 our API. Because these services are a part of your Microsoft account, they are shared across all Microsoft products and services. For example your contact list is shared across Windows Phone, Windows 8, Hotmail, Messenger, and SkyDrive, so when you add a contact in one place, it shows up in the cloud and on all of your other devices and services.

Once you’re connected, if you’re on Windows 8, you’re golden.  You’ll have full access to SkyDrive, to Hotmail, to your roaming Windows 8 settings,  and to Metro style apps.

But of course what is going to be a big concern for most many Windows users is what about what we’re using now?  What happens to Windows Live on Windows 7, to Essentials, and to the way we connect currently?  Of course we finally have a SkyDrive client on Windows 7, for the first time, and so SkyDrive can and should become a much bigger part of even a Windows 7 experience.  But for Essentials users, or even Windows 8 users who are expecting a full complement of Windows Live Essentials services on Windows 8, that doesn’t appear to be happening.  In a chart breaking down 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

you can see that although Photo Gallery and Movie Maker come along for the Windows 8 ride, Windows Live Mesh is left behind, and Windows Live Mail becomes the Mail app in Windows 8, a much deprecated experience.

Windows Live Essentials isn’t going away, at least not yet.  Jones refers to it in a single line thrown in at the end of the blog post:

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

So it looks like it’s goodbye for “Windows Live”, and “be happy with what you’ve got, it’s all you’re getting” for Windows 7 users.  Is that enough?  Will this cause you to move more quickly to Windows 8?  Were you confused by the Windows Live branding, or just disappointed in the poor performance and lack of updates of Windows Live branded products?  And finally, is no brand at all better than one that “did not meet our expectations”?

Posted May 2nd, 2012 at 11:54 am
Category: Featured, News
Tags: Windows Live
  • FremyCompany

    I’m all in with that move, as long as we don’t loose features. I’m afraid it will not be the case. The mail app in Windows 8 is very nice, but far less powserfull than WLM.

    However, we’ll still be able to install WLM on Windows 8, it is just that they’ll only bugfix it. We are happy with Windows Live services right now, I don’t see why it has to change.

    • Chris

      like with anything change is a part of life. Trends change. Example is messenger clients. Those are being used less and less in the place for facebook and MMS/SMS messages. 

  • FremyCompany

    I’m all in with that move, as long as we don’t loose features. I’m afraid it will not be the case. The mail app in Windows 8 is very nice, but far less powserfull than WLM.

    However, we’ll still be able to install WLM on Windows 8, it is just that they’ll only bugfix it. We are happy with Windows Live services right now, I don’t see why it has to change.

    • Chris

      like with anything change is a part of life. Trends change. Example is messenger clients. Those are being used less and less in the place for facebook and MMS/SMS messages. 

  • Tuxplorer

    I really like the Windows 8′s Metro styled apps equivalents for the Windows Live Essentials. I was never a big fan of the WLE suite. Obviously the Metro apps are still in preview stages and have some way to go, but it’s the right direction in my opinion.

  • Tuxplorer

    I really like the Windows 8′s Metro styled apps equivalents for the Windows Live Essentials. I was never a big fan of the WLE suite. Obviously the Metro apps are still in preview stages and have some way to go, but it’s the right direction in my opinion.

  • Kit Y

    Windows Live is a casualty of Microsoft not really good at converting their vision to reality. Never liked the Wave 3 profile designs and still hates it.

    • Chris

      anyone remember the wave 1 or pre wave one? That bulky colorfull UI?

  • Kit Y

    Windows Live is a casualty of Microsoft not really good at converting their vision to reality. Never liked the Wave 3 profile designs and still hates it.

    • Chris

      anyone remember the wave 1 or pre wave one? That bulky colorfull UI?

  • http://alexsimkin.tumblr.com/ Alex Simkin

    RIP, Windows Live. But it’s time to move on, especially when the web services will be updated to not have the Live logo (with the metro redesign, I think) in a few months.

  • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

    RIP, Windows Live. But it’s time to move on, especially when the web services will be updated to not have the Live logo (with the metro redesign, I think) in a few months.

  • #TeamCortana

    There’s no denying that the move was influenced by the way things are done at Google, as their online services are not branded differently using some sort of a “live” moniker.

    • Chris

      Not to menton Google as really steped up their game in terms of design and features. 

  • jakebraca

    There’s no denying that the move was influenced by the way things are done at Google, as their online services are not branded differently using some sort of a “live” moniker.

    • Chris

      Not to menton Google as really steped up their game in terms of design and features. 

  • Travis Pope

    I’m less concerned with what they call it, and more concerned about how none of the experiences mentioned in the post are complete. Photos, Music, Video, Messenger are all really half ass experiences in Metro. Sure we’re still relatively far out from release but the closer I get, the more I start to worry.

    They also go out of their way to mention their companion web experiences, all of which could use feature additions and a new coat of paint. 

    The bigger issue here is also not just the Windows 7 issue, but all the desktop on Windows 8. Metro strips basic functionality out of everything. Quick someone go and try to tag a people in a photo using just Metro, go ahead, I’ll wait.

    To me it’s the same old song different week. You announce big changes when you have a viable alternative. Over and over again, they make one of these announcements on the blog and only leave us with some of the story.

    • http://alexsimkin.tumblr.com/ Alex Simkin

      I think the metro communication apps like Messenger will be much closer to their final form in the Release Preview, but not before that. :(

    • hypernovae

      Windows 8 is a preview..  If you want to see how Windows8 will be closer to release, pickup a windows phone – where it takes 1 second to tag someone in a photo..

      • Travis Pope

        I can’t wait for that, and i’m not saying that’s not coming. I’m saying they should wait until it’s here before they start announcing things like this.

  • http://twitter.com/harlemS Travis Pope

    I’m less concerned with what they call it, and more concerned about how none of the experiences mentioned in the post are complete. Photos, Music, Video, Messenger are all really half ass experiences in Metro. Sure we’re still relatively far out from release but the closer I get, the more I start to worry.

    They also go out of their way to mention their companion web experiences, all of which could use feature additions and a new coat of paint. 

    The bigger issue here is also not just the Windows 7 issue, but all the desktop on Windows 8. Metro strips basic functionality out of everything. Quick someone go and try to tag a people in a photo using just Metro, go ahead, I’ll wait.

    To me it’s the same old song different week. You announce big changes when you have a viable alternative. Over and over again, they make one of these announcements on the blog and only leave us with some of the story.

    • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

      I think the metro communication apps like Messenger will be much closer to their final form in the Release Preview, but not before that. :(

    • byronm

      Windows 8 is a preview..  If you want to see how Windows8 will be closer to release, pickup a windows phone – where it takes 1 second to tag someone in a photo..

      • http://twitter.com/harlemS Travis Pope

        I can’t wait for that, and i’m not saying that’s not coming. I’m saying they should wait until it’s here before they start announcing things like this.

  • uberlaff

    Elephant in the room…

    What does this mean for “Liveside”? ;) New name perhaps?

    • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

      We’re not changing our name, we’re too old and stuck in our ways ;) – but seriously, we’ve been following Bing, and Windows Phone, and the new stuff Xbox is doing… we didn’t change our name when it went from Windows Live Search to Bing, and we won’t now (we’ve got enough 301 redirect headaches as it is!) 

  • uberlaff

    Elephant in the room…

    What does this mean for “Liveside”? ;) New name perhaps?

    • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

      We’re not changing our name, we’re too old and stuck in our ways ;) – but seriously, we’ve been following Bing, and Windows Phone, and the new stuff Xbox is doing… we didn’t change our name when it went from Windows Live Search to Bing, and we won’t now (we’ve got enough 301 redirect headaches as it is!) 

  • Avatar Roku

    Disappointed they didn’t rebrand it as “Microsoft Skynet”

    • Hdhfh

      Sorry that sounds dumb. Keeping it simple under Windows is the way to go.

      • Ferdi

        Captain Obvious, we need you!

  • Avatar Roku

    Disappointed they didn’t rebrand it as “Microsoft Skynet”

    • Hdhfh

      Sorry that sounds dumb. Keeping it simple under Windows is the way to go.

      • Ferdi

        Captain Obvious, we need you!

  • tN0

    So what exactly is “Photo gallery”? A Windows 8 version of the WL Photo Gallery? And if so, why aren’t we beta testing this essential software *now*?

    • http://alexsimkin.tumblr.com/ Alex Simkin

      I think Photo Gallery is just a new name for Windows Live Photo Gallery, nothing more.

      • Chris

        The “new” one or the Windows Vista one?

        • http://alexsimkin.tumblr.com/ Alex Simkin

          A rebrand for Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011, I think, which came out in 2010.

          • Guest

            Well, at least they communicated this clearly, which of course is the very essence of good marketing.  /s

      • tN0

        If so, what is Windows Live Photo Gallery then? ;)

        They are mentioning both names so I think it would be two different apps. If it is just a re-branding, they could release the renamed version for Windows 7 as well.

  • tN0

    So what exactly is “Photo gallery”? A Windows 8 version of the WL Photo Gallery? And if so, why aren’t we beta testing this essential software *now*?

    • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

      I think Photo Gallery is just a new name for Windows Live Photo Gallery, nothing more.

      • Chris

        The “new” one or the Windows Vista one?

        • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

          A rebrand for Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011, I think, which came out in 2010.

          • Guest

            Well, at least they communicated this clearly, which of course is the very essence of good marketing.  /s

      • tN0

        If so, what is Windows Live Photo Gallery then? ;)

        They are mentioning both names so I think it would be two different apps. If it is just a re-branding, they could release the renamed version for Windows 7 as well.

  • http://egypitanchronicles.blogspot.com zeinobia

    What is happening to to Windows live writer ? 

    • Chris

      Do people even use spaces? Is that even around anymore?

      • http://egypitanchronicles.blogspot.com zeinobia

        I am speaking about the windows live writer editor which is popular enough among bloggers 

      • Jimmy

        Spaces was discontinued a long time ago in favor of WordPress.

        Many people still use Writer to blog for many platforms. Its strange they didn’t mention it, which makes me think they’ll expect separate apps for each platform (I.e. the WordPress app)

  • Chris

    meh. The past few years I’ve gotten hooked on Google services anyway I’ve lost intrest in microsoft as a whole really. So much that I have my live.com email being ported to my gmail. Though its nice to see Microsoft finnaly getting full force in the cloud space. 

  • http://egypitanchronicles.blogspot.com zeinobia

    What is happening to to Windows live writer ? 

    • Chris

      Do people even use spaces? Is that even around anymore?

      • http://egypitanchronicles.blogspot.com zeinobia

        I am speaking about the windows live writer editor which is popular enough among bloggers 

      • Jimmy

        Spaces was discontinued a long time ago in favor of WordPress.

        Many people still use Writer to blog for many platforms. Its strange they didn’t mention it, which makes me think they’ll expect separate apps for each platform (I.e. the WordPress app)

  • Chris

    meh. The past few years I’ve gotten hooked on Google services anyway I’ve lost intrest in microsoft as a whole really. So much that I have my live.com email being ported to my gmail. Though its nice to see Microsoft finnaly getting full force in the cloud space. 

  • hypernovae

    i left google after they killed everything that made them unique.. 

  • byronm

    i left google after they killed everything that made them unique.. 

  • Mario Albertico

    What does this mean for their e-mail (service) branding? Will all new accounts use the @hotmail domain, or how can they use @live without fully killing Windows Live? They wanted to get away from the tarnished Hotmail brand, so should we expect a new e-mail brand?

    In terms of desktop apps, I’m with all of you–I fear the limitations of Metro-fied apps (or will they have Desktop versions that expand functionality?)

  • Mario Albertico

    What does this mean for their e-mail (service) branding? Will all new accounts use the @hotmail domain, or how can they use @live without fully killing Windows Live? They wanted to get away from the tarnished Hotmail brand, so should we expect a new e-mail brand?

    In terms of desktop apps, I’m with all of you–I fear the limitations of Metro-fied apps (or will they have Desktop versions that expand functionality?)

  • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

    This would mean an outrageous force to use the Metro apps! As each day goes by, I start to agree more with the anti-Metro-on-PC critics :-(

  • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe Morales

    This would mean an outrageous force to use the Metro apps! As each day goes by, I start to agree more with the anti-Metro-on-PC critics :-(

  • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

    Jones made an interesting statement in the blog:

    “There are still some areas we continue to work on such as
    migrating your account (credit cards and purchase history) from one market
    (currency) to another if you’ve connected your account to services such as Xbox
    LIVE.”

    This has been an issue for at least the last five years. It also leads to incorrect data (country of residence) in your Zune/Xbox Live/Windows Phone account if you ever move country. If you are an EU citizen, then in this situation Microsoft may well be contravening EU law, by refusing to correct your data. See http://www.itisourdata.com for the full details.

  • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

    Jones made an interesting statement in the blog:

    “There are still some areas we continue to work on such as
    migrating your account (credit cards and purchase history) from one market
    (currency) to another if you’ve connected your account to services such as Xbox
    LIVE.”

    This has been an issue for at least the last five years. It also leads to incorrect data (country of residence) in your Zune/Xbox Live/Windows Phone account if you ever move country. If you are an EU citizen, then in this situation Microsoft may well be contravening EU law, by refusing to correct your data. See http://www.itisourdata.com for the full details.

  • technogran

    Kip, sadly no mention of Live Writer in the post. I can’t believe that they would be silly enough to drop the best blogging editor out there. Use Word instead? That’s not free is it? And it would need some drastic changes to make it as good as using Live Writer.

  • technogran

    Kip, sadly no mention of Live Writer in the post. I can’t believe that they would be silly enough to drop the best blogging editor out there. Use Word instead? That’s not free is it? And it would need some drastic changes to make it as good as using Live Writer.

  • CustomComputers

    Live / Dead , Bing / Bong, Passport  / Windows Account, Spaces / Gone,  Skydrive / Rebuilt, Writer / ?.  Like on Facebook/ SOLD
    Is it any wonder the consumer is confused?
    Seems like a lot of changes to sell a few phones at Barnes and Noble when the MSFT Stores did not work so well against Apple. Could it be time for a CEO with vision?

  • CustomComputers

    Live / Dead , Bing / Bong, Passport  / Windows Account, Spaces / Gone,  Skydrive / Rebuilt, Writer / ?.  Like on Facebook/ SOLD
    Is it any wonder the consumer is confused?
    Seems like a lot of changes to sell a few phones at Barnes and Noble when the MSFT Stores did not work so well against Apple. Could it be time for a CEO with vision?

  • markiz

    This is the first time they have acknowledged the existence of a large problem that is the account getting locked to a wrong region. They say they are working on migration option, which makes me a bit more hopeful.  

  • markiz

    This is the first time they have acknowledged the existence of a large problem that is the account getting locked to a wrong region. They say they are working on migration option, which makes me a bit more hopeful.  

  • http://ghadzhigeorgiev.wordpress.com Georgi Hadzhigeorgiev

    Live Mesh is MUST have application!

    • DanielSu39

      It says that Live mesh is getting replaced by Skydrive

  • http://ghadzhigeorgiev.wordpress.com Georgi Hadzhigeorgiev

    Live Mesh is MUST have application!

    • DanielSu39

      It says that Live mesh is getting replaced by Skydrive