We're Calling the Next Version 'Windows Live Mail Hotmail Mail for Windows'
Thank God, discussions between Microsoft and Yahoo have cooled off, because an integration of the two companies’ online services would have been a branding nightmare. Just look at Hotmail. Microsoft finally brought its reworking of the popular hosted email offering out of beta and into full release today.
But instead of retaining the service’s original name, or versioning it, Microsoft rebranded it as one of its “Live” services. And so we have Windows Live Hotmail. Which wouldn’t be so bad if Microsoft hadn’t previously renamed Hotmail “Windows Live Mail” and “MSN Hotmail” before that. Back in February, Microsoft–in an attempt to mitigate confusion over the service’s name change–said that Windows Live Mail was being renamed Windows Live Hotmail. “As we prepare to launch the final version of our new Web mail service, we recognize the importance of ensuring that our 260+ million existing customers come over to the new service smoothly and without confusion,” Richard Sim, Windows Live Hotmail senior product manager, wrote at the time. “By adopting the name ‘Windows Live Hotmail,’ we believe we’re bringing together the best of both worlds–new and old. We’re able to offer the great new technology that Windows Live has to offer while also bringing the emotional connection many existing and loyal users have with Hotmail.”
And hey–don’t forget brand confusion. Because Microsoft’s Windows Live set of products also includes a desktop email client–Windows Live Mail Desktop–and it’s got a new name, too: Windows Live Mail. Apparently Microsoft Live has exceptionally high brand recall … in its own Marketing and Development division.