A recent article over at the New York Times reveals that with the upcoming Windows 8, Microsoft will be eliminating the Windows Live brand. This means services like Windows Live Spaces, Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Essentials will be rebranded. What does this mean for Microsoft’s social strategies?
First of all, this brings up the question of the destiny bof the capricious Windows Live Messenger. As Microsoft has grown, they have tried several strategies to enable Live Messenger, formerly known as MSN Messenger, to tap into the growing social networking space. The first of these strategies were their horribly arrogant tabs, which included access to dating services right from within the application itself. Users were mostly confused by these tabs and just stuck with the basic chatting mechanism instead. The chat itself seemed to be the strongest part of the Live Messenger experience, as a lot of people had signed up for the chat service and spent time customizing their user name and profile image, and this was before Facebook had launched their own IM service. This was probably the clearest shot Windows Live ever had at making something of its brand.
However, they weren’t able to pull it off. The team released Windows Live Spaces, a sort of blogging=social network hybrid that allowed users to automatically link their Messenger accounts to a personalized web page. I can’t say the service was poor = there were a lot of cool features = but it seemed to lack a killer app to make people switch over. Maybe it was just too late, as the Facebook migration was well on its way by this point.
So what will happen? It doesn’t seem like there is much clarity on what will happen to Live Messenger, but I guess we can assume it will become something akin to Windows 8 Messenger, or just Windows Messenger. There is a bit of confusion as to whether the Windows 8 Brand will stretch across all of Microsoft’s products or not, but we’ll see how it affects the service in the future.