Acknowledging that the “Windows Live” name can be somewhat confusing to users, Microsoft is getting rid of that brand, renaming and rethinking the bundling of some of its offerings in Windows 8.
Currently, “Windows Live” can refer to software for PCs (Windows Live Essentials), a suite of web-based services (Hotmail, SkyDrive, and Messenger), a customer’s account relationship with Microsoft (Windows Live ID), and other Microsoft offerings, Chris Jones, vice president of Windows Live group, said in an official Building Windows 8 blog post.
In addition, some of the Windows Live services and apps were “built on versions of Windows that were simply not designed to be connected to a cloud service for anything other than updates,” Jones wrote, “and as a result, they felt “bolted on” to the experience.
That’s changing with Windows 8.
“Microsoft account” will be used to refer to what is currently a user’s “Windows Live ID.” It’s the customer’s individual identity when they sign on to use Microsoft products and services.
“When you connect a device or service to your Microsoft account, you’re automatically provisioned with a set of cloud services, including a contact list, calendar, inbox, instant messaging, and cloud storage,” Jones wrote. “Because these services are a part of your Microsoft account, they are shared across all Microsoft products and services. For example your contact list is shared across Windows Phone, Windows 8, Hotmail, Messenger, and SkyDrive, so when you add a contact in one place, it shows up in the cloud and on all of your other devices and services.”
Here’s MIcrosoft’s chart showing its software services in Windows 8:
(Chart from Microsoft)