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Microsoft is killing its Windows Live brand ahead of launching Windows 8, citing "customer confusion".

In a mercifully short Windows 8 blog Microsoft said it’s ripping the meaningless umbrella from a bunch of online services.

Windows Live covers Hotmail, SkyDrive, and Messenger and is the prefix to its Web 2.0 me-too properties Live Photo Gallery, Live Movie Maker, and Windows Live Mail.

Windows 8 is the catalyst for this change. In some self-justifying meeting somewhere deep inside Redmond it seems to have been decided calling something “Windows Live” implied the internet was an imperfect bolt-on "experience".

From Microsoft marketing central we have this:

Windows 8 provides us with an opportunity to reimagine our approach to services and software and to design them to be a seamless part of the Windows experience, accessible in Windows desktop apps, Windows Metro style apps, standard web browsers, and on mobile devices. Today the expectation is that a modern device comes with services as well as apps for communication and sharing. There is no “separate brand” to think about or a separate service to install – it is all included when you turn on your PC for the first time.

There’s plenty o' talk about how Windows 8 will be “cloud-powered".

Microsoft has promised it will share more on this hot-button marketing call in the coming weeks. Long term, expect Microsoft to do another 180° with as much confidence, self-justification and pomp as when it launched Windows Live back in 2005.

It’s classic Microsoft, fretting over how something is perceived internally and externally, rather than simply delivering something that works or is wanted.

The more meaningful outcome of this particular episode will be that Windows and Window Live group president Steven Sinofsky’s job title takes a haircut. ®

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