I talked briefly the other day about Microsoft’s sometimes bizarre branding choices – often clunky, sometimes, just plain silly. They’ve done it again. You take the decision to rebrand some MSN services as Windows Live services, not all, just some. So Hotmail, becomes Windows Live Mail. Then you realise that actually Hotmail is quite a well known brand, andpotentially, you may scare a bunch of people away. So you think, “ah, lt’s go for Windows Live Hotmail instead!” Net net? You’ve taken a well known, succinct brand, made it more clunky and diluted it in one fell swoop.
Until MS start integrating Windows Live services into the desktop (I guess we now have Windows Live Hotmail Desktop, right? – catchy!) people aren’t going to understand what Windows Live actually means. Someone really needs to get a grip of this brand architecture and work out a clear story, first internally and then externally. At the moment, it seems like chaos rules.