Remember Windows Live? Forget It.

Microsoft offers a range of services such as email and messaging under the banner of Windows Live, but that is about to end, shifting instead to a tight integration with Windows 8 that will drop the Live name and become an invisible part of Windows 8.

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Wed, May 02, 2012

Network WorldMicrosoft offers a range of services such as email and messaging under the banner of Windows Live, but that is about to end, shifting instead to a tight integration with Windows 8 that will drop the Live name and become an invisible part of Windows 8.

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In a blog post, Microsoft acknowledges that the current way of offering Windows Live services seems disconnected from the operating system and its applications, but that changes with Windows 8.

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Windows Live consists of Hotmail, SkyDrive and Messenger, but these will be better integrated via applications that appear as part of Windows 8, according to Chris Jones, VP of the Windows Live group, writing in the Building Windows 8 blog.

In the post, Jones admits that Windows Live seemed cobbled together. "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, and as a result, they felt 'bolted on' to the experience," he writes.

Plus the name Windows Live was applied willy-nilly, causing confusion. "The names we used to describe our products added to that complexity: we used 'Windows Live' to refer to software for your PC (Windows Live Essentials), a suite of web-based services (Hotmail, SkyDrive, and Messenger), your account relationship with Microsoft (Windows Live ID), and a host of other offers," he writes.

Jones says that with Windows 8, Microsoft is trying to make all the Windows Live services seem like features of a tightly integrated hardware-software package, available out of the box in Windows apps, Metro apps, 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," Jones writes.

Making Windows Live features seem integrated requires setting up a Microsoft account and logging into it when logging into Windows 8. This automatically logs Windows 8 applications into the Microsoft cloud. This enables, for example, syncing account settings across different PCs.

Other apps that are included are an address book, calendar services, photo and document storage, and a mailbox. Access to these services, once they are set up, become part of the features of any Windows 8 device a customer logs in from.

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