Microsoft's Live brand is the new ".NET".
You remember back in 2001 when we first started hearing about .NET? As a brand name, I liked it. But then Microsoft marketing team got their hands on it, and all of a sudden, every Enterprise server had the .NET name and logo attached to it. Even the ones that didn't interact with the .NET Framework AT ALL.
It seems like history tends to repeat itself. Clothing cycles every 30 years, major wars happen every 20... and every 5 years Microsoft repeats it's own history. Enter "Live". As in, "software that's not dead."
The "Live" concept was cool once. With Live Messenger, I was like "hey, this is a new UI... maybe they'll put a new spin on instant messaging." It was fresh, was different, even though it used the same underlying protocols. This would last, right? WRONG. The next version was all corporate, and now what appeared to be WLM 1.0 is now nothing more than MSN Messenger 8 with a new name.
Windows Live Messenger is not the only "Live" lipstick to be put on the MSN pig. Take a look at a sample of everything else that currently has the "Live" treatment.
MSN Messenger = Windows Live Messenger
MSN Hotmail = Windows Live Mail
MSN Search = Windows Live Search
Microsoft bCentral = Office Live
MSN.com Personalized home page = Live.com
MSN Shopping = Windows Live Shopping
MSN Spaces = Windows Live Spaces
Passport = Windows Live ID
This trend will continue, at a much more alarming rate. I would not be surprised if we started to see the situation evolve as follows:
Microsoft Digital Image Suite = Windows Live Pictures (to compete with Flickr)
FolderShare = Windows Live Files
Hotmail Calendar = Windows Live Calendar
Windows Media Player = Windows Live Media (Combines the player with MSN Music)
MSN Direct = Windows Live Time
MSN TV2 = Windows Live Television
Visual Studio "Orcas" = Windows Live Developer
SQL Server = Windows Live Data
Streets & Trips = Windows Live Directions
Encarta = Windows Live Encyclopedia
Money = Windows Live Financials
"Frontbridge" = Windows Live Exchange
Windows Vista R2 = Windows Live OS
It's just too bad they sold Expedia or they'd have Windows Live Travel ready to go.
I really can't wait for the Windows Live Defragmenter, though. Seriously, I can't. I really want to be able to schedule a defragmentation of my computer in Phoenix while I'm in vacation in Prague. Bring on the connected future!!!
The point is, the concept of rapid software development and delivery is a strategy, not necessarily a brand name. If you're going to develop software faster... just do it!!! You don't need to lump every dam product under that brand. It shouldn't be "Windows", "Office", and "Everything Else".