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Microsoft drops Windows Live in favour of... Microsoft

Windows 8

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 3 May 2012 at 09:05

Microsoft is killing off the Windows Live brand, as it seeks to clarify its cloud services ahead of Windows 8.

At the moment, Windows Live includes Hotmail, Messenger and SkyDrive, and is used as a login for Microsoft devices, while the Windows Live Essentials package includes apps such as Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and Live Mail.

While the services claim 500m users a month, with 350m active users on Hotmail, Microsoft said Live "did not meet our 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," admitted Chris Jones, VP of the Windows Live development group, in a post on the Building Windows 8 blog.

Instead of Windows Live, those apps, web services and logins will no longer have a separate name, and simply be referred to as a "Microsoft account".

The Microsoft account can be used to link Windows PCs with Windows Phone devices, and to login to devices as well as Xbox Live, Zune and the Windows app store.

Data such as photos and contact lists will be shared across the system, and logging into a new PC with your account will let Microsoft pull in your existing settings. The Essentials apps will be replaced with Metro apps.

Jones said the Microsoft account system will be able to interact with existing third-party services customers might be using, and an API will be made available to third-party developers.

"We also believe that you should have a choice and control over what services you use, what information you share (with others and Microsoft) and how you access your services," Jones said. "That's why using any of these services is optional, and you're welcome to mix and match them with the software and services you choose."

The change will be rolled out over the next several months, Microsoft said.

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User comments

Hang on, did he only just get this?

"and as a result, they felt 'bolted on' to the experience"

Customers have been telling Microsoft for years that their platforms are poorly integrated. But they just don't seem to care. Windows phone, Home Server, Windows 7, xBox, Media Center, Skydrive are all great but just giving us some programs to nail them together better would be a great start!

By JStairmand on 3 May 2012

No Free Email Program With Windows 8 Then?

Sounds as if there may no longer be a free email program with Windows (i.e. Windows 8).

Not a problem for you and me but many of the customers who I see are not very computer literate (often 70-80 years old) and don't relate very well to webmail interfaces, preferring a program on their computer.

Mind you, although I think Windows 8 is great I think it's going to confuse a lot of people who are not very computer literate anyway.

By MalcolmHegarty on 3 May 2012


There are gong to be free version of what's already out there.....

So the Windows Live Mail program will be the Mail app. etc and will be free. Same goes for photos, video and music.

By henry20012 on 3 May 2012


There will be a free email program -

Along with this change, Microsoft is also streamlining the naming conventions behind some key Live services — now, the Windows Live Calendar, Contacts, and MSN Messenger will be renamed in a fashion similar to Windows Phone. They'll just be known as the Calendar, People, and Messaging apps, respectively. It also looks Microsoft is simplifying its mail branding, as well: while will continue to be Microsoft's mail portal, the Windows Live Mail branding is going away, with the service simply being referred to as the Mail app in Windows 8 and Windows phone,


By henry20012 on 3 May 2012

More typing then I suppose

live is a conveniently small four letter word. Easy to remember and type.
I wonder what the new default will be ? Who wants to type in 'microsoft'
every time they log in ?

By jtallsmith on 3 May 2012

No mail since Windows 7

I can think of a few more easy to remember 4 letter words that have been and are being used to describe MS and some of their products.

MS removed the email program from Windows in Windows 7. You have to download an email client for that too. This is no bad thing. It actually gives people more choice from the free and paid for email clients available these days. You just don't get them offered up on a plate like with the browser selection screen. My current preference is Thunderbird so I am glad Windows doesn't have a not completely removable email client shipping with it any more.

By mr_chips on 3 May 2012

Metro only?

Windows Live Mail (for the desktop) is a breath of fresh air. I used it in Windows 7, and I now use it in Windows 8. I will not use the web interface because all web interfaces are klunky, slow, and only work when your internet connection is alive.

Windows 8 provides a built-in Metro Mail app. It is appalling on a laptop. People have much lower standards when it comes to phones and tablets, the miracle being if something is actually available and works at all.

I compared the Metro Mail app with the Windows Live Mail (desktop) app. The latter wins hands-down on a laptop. It has far more functionality, and gets far more on the screen at a time. I am sure my conclusion would be different on a tablet but, using my laptop, I am doing serious activities, and I don't have time for a Metro toy.

Based on what has been said above, I am worried that the Windows Live Mail desktop app might be withdrawn. What on earth would I do if that happened? I happen to have Outlook 2010, but it gives me far more than I need, is slower and more buggy than W L Mail, and most people won't have it because it costs money.

By fogtax on 3 May 2012

Dick Collier

I don't understand?
No DVD player support for Win 8?
How in the heck do we install win 8 on the computer if we haven't a driver ready to go?

By gravenbali on 10 May 2012

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