The Windows Live branding that Microsoft has used since 2005 for its range of consumer-oriented cloud services will fade away over the next few months, as the company positions the online services as an integral, integrated part of the Windows experience.
This integration includes the ability to log on to Windows using a Microsoft Account (formerly known as a Windows Live ID), and the automatic configuration of the mail, messaging, and contact applications using information from the Microsoft Account.
“Windows Live” is currently used both for the services themselves, and the corresponding desktop applications that access them. Microsoft has historically gone back and forth on how this branding is used; Hotmail, for example, has had its name changed from Hotmail to Windows Live Hotmail, then back to Hotmail again; its desktop application counterpart is Windows Live Mail. Even the domain names used by the services show this same inconsistency: logging on at hotmail.com will take you to a mail.live.com domain.
The new branding will introduce uniformity; although many of the services will continue to use live.com domains, their names will exclude any hint of the Live branding.
With this change, the Windows Live Essentials application bundle will go away. Microsoft first announced Windows Live Essentials in 2008, with the first release coming alongside Windows 7. The intent was to decouple the applications—including Mail, Messenger, Movie Maker, and Photo Gallery—from Windows itself, so that they could be regularly updated on their own timetable.
Most of the applications themselves will live on, but in Windows 8 (and Windows Phone) they are pre-installed apps, rather than a separate package. The Windows Live Writer blogging software, however, was not mentioned. Though never wildly popular, it remains much loved by its users. It is, however, something of an anomaly, as it no longer has a corresponding online service: Microsoft closed down its blogging platform, Windows Live Spaces, last year.