Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Microsoft Further Confuses Windows Live

Yesterday I ranted about the fact that Google is an ad company and not a search company, and that improvements in search are only to improve the ability to serve ads, while their aqcuisitions . Today, Microsoft moved Windows Live Search out of the Live product group and into the adCenter group. While this makes perfect sense (and validates my point), it's a terrible thing for Windows Live.

So they spent all that time rebranding MSN Search, only to pull it from the group that maintains the brand. As if we weren't confused enough already. If it's not a part of the "Live" group, it shouldn't have the "Live" branding, and if it needs to be rebranded, then they should have announced the new branding with the move. They shoild not have announced this move until Live Search had been rebranded.

Look, I know there are Microsoft employees that read my blog. At this point, I'm begging you: come out and clearly define what Windows Live is and how it relates to the rest of Microsoft. WaggEd, Edelman, whoever is responsible for Windows Live PR: You're losing the war. Get off your a$$ and do something about it, before you can't pull this airplane out of its death spiral.




  • Marlun said:

    I havn't read that much about it so I'm allmost a regular computer user and for me it's very confusing. It feels like they used Live to try and go with that whole Web 2.0 hysteria and now when they can't seem to get much more out of it they change their names back to whatever they wanted in the first place.

    March 22, 2007 1:14 AM
  • William said:

    I agree there is confusion over what Windows Live is etc, but i don’t see why an internal reorganisation- better aligning it with ad-revenue ambitions - should necessarily be reflected in the marketing. I mean, what is best for internal operations isn’t necessarily best for consumer perception. I think leaving it as Windows Live Search is the best solution.

    March 22, 2007 3:18 AM
  • Shawn Oster said:

    I'm still of a mind that the Live brand should be pulled from anything not related to only the place that the Live brand is actually strong, XBox Live.  Unless it relates to that login, that set of account management tools and that platform it has no business being branded as "Live".

    It's incredibly hard for Microsoft to get casual consumer brand recognition, usually that's the domain of Apple or Google, but they did it with "Live".  I don't understand why they'd want to water down the brand by trying to push business services underneath it.

    March 22, 2007 9:59 AM
  • Colin Theys said:

    The whole Live thing is pretty confusing. Frankly, I'm quite a diehard PC guy. I was a beta tester on vista and I still read this blog, among other things. And frankly, as far as I can tell, Live means nothing at all. It seems like someone at Microsoft decided that their products needed to feel more alive and interactive, so they slapped the word live onto a few of their services. Then marketing saw it and rebranded *everything* live. However, so far as I can tell, nothing changed. The word Live appears to have no real consistent meaning of any kind. You can't even say it means 'latest version' because some services appear not to have been significantly updated when rebranded. Microsoft does some great stuff, but their marketing frankly is pretty awful. I often explain Microsoft products and services to unreceptive friends and the process usually goes like this:

    Step 1:

    Shoot down the hater catchphrases and rumors they've heard from friends / the news / the internet. (example: no windows xp applications work in vista.)

    Step 2:

    Break down Microsoft's own marketing jargon. (example: explain that really "welcome to the social" means you can wirelessly share mp3s with a zune as a trial for friends")

    Step 3:

    Explain that Microsoft was really selling the wrong features. (example: flip 3d is the number 1 advertised vista feature. Frankly, while it's pretty, nobody gives a crap. I tell people about the calendar, media center integration, search, new video driver model, photo editing tools in picture & fax viewer. ie things they might actually care about.)

    Step 4:

    Explain all the things that nobody knows about that really make a difference (example: windows + d brings up your desktop in XP or you can type the first few letters of a filename rapidly to select it from a long list or you can restart explorer from ctl+alt+delete if your system has hung up. Or the desktop presentation feature in vista. Hello? did Microsoft forget this? Apple is getting all kinds of press for this same feature for their upcoming osx release and microsoft has aleady got it, but is so far behind the ball on marketing that nobody knowns.)

    After all that, I can often show someone what they're missing out on.  Sorry for the rant.

    March 22, 2007 10:10 AM
  • dugbug said:

    live is the new .net:

    It does everything, it does nothing, and noone knows for sure what it does.

    March 22, 2007 11:11 AM
  • Kandarp said:

    Woooohhh. I, very politely and completely, disagree with you.

    " As if we weren't confused enough already. If it's not a part of the "Live" group, it shouldn't have the "Live" branding"

    And exactly why ?  That really makes no sense. I agree Windows Live is confusing. But this by NO means adds to brand confusion. Branding is one thing. And having business units for better functioning, another thing.

    March 22, 2007 3:16 PM