I’ve written before that the confused Microsoft “Live” brand is an unholy mess, costing the company millions of dollars. Now it looks as if Microsoft may kill the brand, or at least take away its life support.
Microsoft has applied the “Live” brand to everything under the sun, including online services such as search, but also products having nothing at all to do with online, such as OneCare Live. And it uses that brand without regard to logic.
For example, Windows Live has nothing to do with Windows, and Office Live has nothing to do with Microsoft Office.
Given all that, what does the Live brand mean? Nothing at all, really. But Microsoft may have finally seen the light, and is killing the Live name in many products, and also jettisoning the honchos who oversee the brand.
Windows Live WiFi, for example, has been renamed MSN WiFi, and Windows Live Shopping, which was once called MSN Shopping, is back to being called MSN Shopping again. Then there’s the MSN Soapbox product, which used to be called Windows Live Video until it was renamed in September.
All this is happening at the same time that Blake Irving, Vice President in charge of the Windows Live Platforms group, has retired. Mary Jo Foley reports rumors that Christopher Payne, the Corporate VP in charge of Windows Live Search, could be next to go.
Sure sounds like a death knell to me. Meanwhile, though, Windows Live Mail has been renamed Windows Live Hotmail for reasons incomprehensible to mere mortals. So maybe there is life in the “Live” brand after all.
There are still plenty of products and services called “Live” for absolutely no rhyme or reason. But with the people in charge of “Live” being shown the door, maybe Microsoft is starting to figure out it needs to apply some logic to the brand, or kill it altogether.