Mary Jo Foley nails it in her latest Microsoft Watch post decrying the confusion swirling around the emerging Windows Live brand. I must admit that some of the decisions about product naming coming out of Redmond have me scratching my head.
In her post, in which she lays out some of the agenda and expected announcements planned for the TechEd event, Foley sums the situation up nicely:
However, in perusing the TechEd session list, we didn't notice any presentations that might explain in a coherent way the connection (or lack thereof) between services being built into future versions of Windows and Windows Live services. Ditto for Office 2007 and Office Live services. Most likely, this is because there is little, if any, cohesive strategy to which to point. There's a calendar service being built into Vista. Does it have anything to do with other calendaring services at Microsoft? It doesn't appear so. Is Outlook using the Windows Live Contact store (or Windows Live using the Exchange/Outlook contact store)? Sure doesn't sound like it.
I've said in the past that the move to the web is a natural step for Microsoft and is the best way to deal with the upgrade antipathy many are predicting for the next releases of Windows and Office. Live services can and should be an integral part of establishing compelling value that makes consumers and busnesses want to upgrade. But the marketing folks really need to get on their game and do a much better job of explaining how all of these services fit into a big picture. So fair they have not gotten it done.