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Monday, February 13, 2006

Microsoft "Live" – the Death of MSN

Posted by @ 10:33 pm

Microsoft announced plans recently to re-brand their range of online services including free e-mail; instant messenger and web search under the name “Live” which could be a sign that the MSN brand has seen the end of its days.

MSN was once one of the most recognizable brands online, but it appears the new focus of Microsoft on the online world could see the departure of the iconic logo and brand in an effort to reposition the company on top of the internet game once again.

Although executives close to the project deny claims that the re-branding is because MSN was a sinking ship. They believe the changes will allow MSN, Microsoft’s Internet portal, to focus more on providing content such as entertainment and even home videos.

Microsoft suggests the “Live” project is designed to banner all their online software and services which will provide them a better way to compete directly with Google, Yahoo! and other companies offering similar online services.

The end goal is to have their online services compliment their windows based software, which some analysts see as counter productive. The risk is that the free online services will cannibalize their offline products.

Well with all the suggestions and announcements aside, those of you who have been fortunate enough to start playing with some of the “Live” tools will surely agree that they are strong steps in the right direction.

My hotmail account was recently transitioned over to the new Windows Live Mail beta format – and what an improvement. As an online junkie, so to speak, and for the needs of my job, I currently have about 10 free mail accounts running through various service providers, and the functionality that the new Live version offers is a breath of fresh air. No longer can free email providers rely on the argument “It’s free and web based, so obviously it has limited functionality.”

Modeled heavily on Outlook, its PC based equivalent, the joys of drag and drop, group deleting, address auto completes, short cuts galore, genuine right click functionality and the my personal favorite, preview panes, leaves the other free mail services trailing well behind.

If this is where Microsoft is heading with their online software and services – I say good luck to them. It was about time someone started really pushing things forward. If you haven’t set-up your beta Live e-mail account yet, get to it.

As they say: Once you go “Live” – you won’t go back! (Okay – maybe they don’t)

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Rene LeMerle Rene is the marketing manager of - a global search engine marketing company. He also leads the marketing for - a web 2.0 style community for online and digital marketers. Rene has been in the industry since 1997 with much of that time spent helping businesses embrace the best of the internet and digital world.

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