More brand-name confusion in Redmond

Summary:One of the biggest branding mistakes Microsoft ever made was to call its free e-mail client - the one included with every copy of Windows since 1998 - Outlook Express. To this day, sensible people assume - incorrectly - that there's a connection between Microsoft Outlook, which is a member of the Office family, and the free Outlook Express.With Windows Vista, Outlook Express is getting a complete rewrite and a new name: Windows Mail. Meanwhile, the e-mail (and so much more) client in Office 2007 will keep the Outlook name. Brand confusion eliminated, right?Errr, not exactly.

One of the biggest branding mistakes Microsoft ever made was to rename its Internet Mail and News product Outlook Express. To this day, sensible people assume - incorrectly - that there's a connection between Microsoft Outlook, which is a member of the Office family, and the free Outlook Express.

With Windows Vista, Outlook Express is getting a complete rewrite and a new name: Windows Mail. Meanwhile, the e-mail (and so much more) client in Office 2007 will keep the Outlook name. Brand confusion eliminated, right?

Errr, not exactly:

Microsoft has started beta testing software that will take its Web e-mail onto the desktop.

This week, Microsoft served up the first test version of Windows Live Mail Desktop, a free Windows program that will let users manage multiple e-mail accounts. The software is designed to work with Windows Live Mail, the successor to Hotmail that is also in beta testing.

So, sometime in 2007, anyone who upgrades to Windows Vista will have a new desktop e-mail client called Windows Mail. Unfortunately, Windows Mail won't work with Windows Live Mail. For that, you'll need to switch to Windows Live Mail Desktop. Oh, and if you decide to stick with XP and not upgrade to Vista, you can download Windows Live Mail Desktop to replace Outlook Express, but you can't use Windows Mail.

Glad that's all cleared up.

Topics: Windows

About

Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications. He has served as editor of the U.S. edition of PC Computing and managing editor of PC World; both publications had monthly paid circulation in excess of 1 million during his tenure. He is the a... Full Bio

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