Zune, Windows Live brands said to be on the chopping block

Microsoft is cleaning house, it sounds like. We found out this morning that the company might cut down on the number of OS editions with Windows 8, offering only standard, business, and enterprise flavors. Now, The Verge reports that Microsoft may also be retiring its Windows Live and Zune brands.

The branding in the upcoming Windows 8 Consumer Preview, The Verge says, will look like so:

  • Microsoft Account (Windows Live ID)
  • Mail (Windows Live Mail)
  • Calendar (Windows Live Calendar)
  • People (Windows Live Contacts)
  • Photos (Windows Live Photo Gallery)
  • Music (Zune Music Player)
  • Video (Zune Video Player)

The Consumer Preview is due out on February 29, so we’ll all be able to verify this story soon enough.

If this is true, then kudos. I really dig Microsoft’s new direction—that is, toward unification (between Windows and Windows Phone), user-interface consistency, and simpler branding. Here’s hoping it all works out as planned (and as rumored).

Comments closed
    • PeterD
    • 8 years ago

    “Windows 8, offering only standard, business, and enterprise flavors”

    Finally some sense.

    • Deanjo
    • 8 years ago

    I honestly am flaberghasted that people still use Hotmail aka Live. It has been quite literally 5+ years since I have seen someone use a Hotmail/Live account. FFS I see more ICQ users still around.

      • Meadows
      • 8 years ago

      You don’t even know what Windows Live [u<]is[/u<], do you.

        • satchmobob
        • 8 years ago

        Maybe you could have just briefly explained it to him…

      • mikehodges2
      • 8 years ago

      What’s wrong with hotmail?? I receive email. I can send email when I need to. I can access it anywhere. Until one of those things breaks, I’ve got no problem with it.

        • cheesyking
        • 8 years ago

        I’ve seen a surprising number of people having problems logging in and out of hotmail whereas I’ve not seen anybody having trouble with gmail or yahoo mail.

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          i never have issues with live, but constantly have issues with gmail due to my slow connection. so much in fact, that i’ve migrated my gmail accounts to live to solve the login issues. if you’re on a quick connection, then gmail works great. slow, you’re in trouble….

          • indeego
          • 8 years ago

          After years of raving about how yahoo mail rarely if ever gets spam I started to get ~20/day with spam filter off, and It would capture false positives with it on. I moved everything to my own mail server just last month.

        • ludi
        • 8 years ago

        Nothing at all. They’ve cleaned up the interface significantly, the spam filters work pretty well, and surprisingly enough they even released an Android app that can do periodic synch or real-time push almost exactly like the integrated Gmail handler.

        • PeterD
        • 8 years ago

        Only a moron uses hotmail. Or gmail. Or some of those other seemingly free mail thingies.

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          moron*

    • burntham77
    • 8 years ago

    As long as I can still manage the podcasts and music on my Windows Phone with the Zune software (or whatever they end up calling it), I’m fine. Even if the software goes away and the OS has something built in that does the same thing, that’s fine too.

    • Frith
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]I really dig Microsoft's new direction—that is, toward unification (between Windows and Windows Phone), user-interface consistency[/quote<] Unification of user interfaces between Windows and Windows Phone is a really bad idea. What works for one device doesn't necessary work on another. Would you want a motorbike with a steering wheel? How about a car with handle bars? They're both motor vehicles, but producing unified user interface would clearly be a total disaster. Likewise, putting a phone UI on a desktop computer would be equally disastrous.

      • TheDarkKnight
      • 8 years ago

      Very well said. How could anybody be so stupid as to think that this was a good idea? To use the same interface on a tiny little cellphone screen as they are using on a huge monitor on a desktop? It boggles my mind. I guess people are too lazy at Microsoft to develop two different user interfaces for different devices. I hope Windows 8 goes the way of Windows Vista.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 8 years ago

        Microsoft thinks that touchscreens are going to be the primary input device for all systems.

        I’m not so sure.

          • Chrispy_
          • 8 years ago

          Yes, because we love getting up from the sofa to walk over and smear fingerprints all over our HDTV….

          If anyone touches my screen I smack them one! I am [i<]that sick of it[/i<].

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          No. not quite. microsoft thinks that new computers ARE GOING TO HAVE TOUCHSCREENS. which the will, as it’s required for the new ultrabook platform… mandated by intel….. they don’t want to be left behind again, and while you might not like the complete direction they’re going, at least they’re GOING somewhere, which they haven’t for a long time. all new computers are GOING to have touchscreens, and now they’re going to have a OS that is capable. that’s not a bad thing imo. saying “stupid people i love my mouse” is a silly argument, and you’d do well to catch up with the market. people WANT touchscreens, and you “power users” (read as ornery) are a minority.

          @ chrispy wtf you talking about? for tv they’ve got kinect, which isn’t a touchscreen. remote? wtf is this 2000? talk to your tv and tell it what you want to watch. your point is silly.

          [url<]http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/10/ultrabook_touchscreen/[/url<]

            • dpaus
            • 8 years ago

            I +1 thee, you young punk, because – much as it pains me to admit it – you’re right. Despite the fact that I have not given permission, the world is moving forward and things are changing.

            You young folks go on and enjoy your new-fangled interfaces. I’m just going to sit here on the porch swing with my CP-M command-line interface. Just stay off my lawn…

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 8 years ago

            I sense sarcasm, but is it really self-depreciation? Both? IMO, there’s nothing wrong with being “retro” and using a mouse. Touch screens have a use, but not so for a gaming desktop. Big shiny buttons, hand holding, and touch screens are mostly designed for the people with extra chromosomes who are barely capable of using a computer, let alone understand how one works. Microsoft is deliberately dumbing down the OS so everyone can use it. This is merely one step closer to making the prediction, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” come true. Probably will create a ton of tech support jobs, since nobody will know anything about their computer, and Microsoft will have them locked out by default, so somebody else will have to do the fixing. Congratulations suckers, the PC is now a smartphone.

            Vista/7 is still usable, so I’ll probably ride out 8, all while brushing up on my linux knowledge. If 9 looks to be another regression, that will probably be my stop to get off.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            you look at the fact that it’s a touch friendly device as making it automatically a ui for morons. You like using touch on a ui not designed for it? Yeah, that’s why windows 7 was such a hit with people for touchscreens, despite the fact that it was really rather capable. Too bad it was a pain in the ass to use. I’m not sure what microsoft has done to ruin your gaming computer. I don’t think the elitist “i like a complicated computer cause i am the smartest” position makes any sense. Simpler is better. Maybe you’ve heard of a company called apple that became the largest company in the world by streamlining the ui and improving the experience. don’t worry though, you can always stick to your overly complicated linux distro to keep you warm at night. enjoy your 1% worth of application support, and lack of gaming ability. Linux has a place, and if it can improve itself and make it more like an appliance, like android has tried, then it can get more market share.

            • Grape Flavor
            • 8 years ago

            You like using a mouse + keyboard on a UI not designed for it? No? Well too bad, because that’s what Windows 8 is.

            I’m not going to spend a grand buying a huge touchscreen monitor for my desktop so I can flail my arms about horizontally in front of me all day. It would be incredibly tiresome. Do you have any common sense at all?

            Touch is for smartphones and tablets. Sure, maybe it could even work on certain laptops.

            But anyone who thinks swooping their arms out in front of them like a symphony conductor to scroll a document on a big desktop monitor is better than using the scroll wheel is a freaking moron.

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 8 years ago

            Lol, exactly. Tablets fine, but forcing a touch GUI on desktop users is insanity.

            • moose17145
            • 7 years ago

            I’m finding a hard time believing MS is going to FORCE touch screen input in windows 8. It seriously doesn’t make any sense… even for them. If anything I will expect it to be a option (perhaps one that is enabled by default, but still an option none the less). For example… in windows 7 they moved away from the “windows 95 style” task bar and into these tile things. Personally i hate that and find them hard to use. That being said… i went into my task bar options and changed it so that my task bar looks like what i was used to in windows 95 through Vista. Many people prefer those tiles in the task bar over the older style long rectangular buttons with the text in them, and that is fine. But the option to go back to the 95 style task bar is still there if you prefer that.

            Me… I use my computers for getting actual work done most of the time anymore, as such i prefer to stick to methods i know and understand. Doesn’t mean i won’t learn how to use the new functionality and the new methods, but i can just get more work done using the older methods that i know and understand. Honestly the only thing I haven’t figured out yet is why MS forced you to use those stupid splash screens / ribbons / whatever they are calling it in MS office. I haven’t found any ability to force the UI back into my beloved “File”, “Edit” etc buttons…. and when they forced that onto me was when i switched over to open office. I can just get more work done with that instead of trying to use MS office (although I still have to use MS Visio and Project for many of the things I am doing currently, but for anything involving excel or word style documents I use open office). That being said when MS decided to FORCE the new Office UI onto everyone, they really did hurt themselves by not giving people the option to revert back to the old style UI. Honestly i know of entire companies that switched over to open office because their workforce couldn’t get half their work done in office anymore because of that new UI.

            For an operating system it will be even more critical to make sure that “traditional” input methods are still able to work as well as they did in all previous OS’s. Everyone seems to act like consumer grade garbage is all MS is focusing on. If they are… then they are gonna be in a world of hurt. Business’ and large corporations can less care about fancy UI’s and touch screen capability. They care about getting work done. That being said… more large corporations do not give every employee a laptop computer, let alone one with touch screen functionality (unless there is an actual need for that employee to have one). They put a desktop in every cubical instead. Why? because it’s a hell of a lot larder to lose or have a desktop stolen than it is a laptop that the employees can take home with them loaded up with sensitive data. In that case the lack of portability is what makes a desktop a preferred asset to a large company over a laptop (along with the fact that the desktop is a lot more powerful than a laptop can ever be for less money for the actual machine). If windows 8 does in fact FORCE a touch screen style GUI, then corporations will just not use that OS and MS will lose money. A perfect example of this was windows vista. In fact it was so bad that MS had to put XP mode into windows 7 to get some companies to migrate over to windows 7 even. I know MS is arrogant, but I doubt they have forgotten that hard learned lesson already, and as such i fully expect windows 8 to be capable of using the traditional keyboard and mouse style inputs on a desktop. It may take some fiddling with options and settings from initial install, but i doubt they are going to just simply force touch screens onto you. I get that laptop sales are larger than desktop sales for consumer PC’s, but desktop are not going anywhere any time soon. Whenever people start saying that the laptop is killing off the desktop… i often wonder if they understand that most companies still prefer desktops over laptops, and if they understand that large corporations put more money into the computer market than the end consumers do.

            • DarkUltra
            • 7 years ago

            If you set icons to small and grouping to never, the windows 7 task bar is even better than win 95s. Excellent for 16:9 monitors with limited vertical space and it is much faster since it only requiers a single click to operate. Looks more pro too!

            • moose17145
            • 7 years ago

            That’s basically what I have. I set the icons to small and “Combine only when the task bar is full” (which my task bar very rarely gets full since my laptop is a 16:9 screen and my desktop is a 24″ 16:10. Gives me my windows 95 style with the added functionality that is built into windows 7. I know a few others who have also setup their task bar for the older style look.

            Either way my point was if you don’t like the new shiney look, chances are you can go back to the windows 7 look or the windows 95 look if you want. Heck i know people who are running windows 7 who literally set their appearance so that it looks like they are still running windows 98! …Actually this has a lot of performance perks since the machine runs a lot faster without having to run aero in the gui… I like aero and most of the look and feel of windows 7 (minus the default settings of the task bar), so I leave it enabled. But fact is Microsoft’s OS’s have typically been very good about being able to go back to older style GUIs if the user so chooses. Just makes me unsure why everyone is spazzing over the new metro interface. I mean honestly I think it looks retarded and sounds just as dumb. That being said I would just disable it or set the appearance/theme to something I know/understand/like, exactly like I did with the windows 7 task bar. If MS for whatever ridiculous reason is deciding to force the metro interface on us then i will just stick with windows 7 pro / enterprise (which is probably what i am gonna end up doing anyways even if windows 8 ends up being roflomg AWSUM!).

            • Skeleton
            • 7 years ago

            What part of it is forced?

            You can choose to use it or not. You get insanely expanded command line support and an improved standard desktop, then you get it in your head that you can only use the Metro UI.

            Here’s some info for you over-lookers. Metro UI is designed for tablets. Also anything coded and compiled to run within Metro is instantly cross compatible with any Windows 8 hardware config. Doesn’t matter if your running x86 or ARM/RISC Processors. Stop hating on a company trying to make OS more cross compatible than almost any other OS and still remain fast. Android doesn’t count in this as it basically emulates its own native code to get compatibility at the cost of a huge CPU overhead. Needing 1ghz+ CPUs to animate a Menu (smoothly) is not good use of clock cycles…….

            Read a book.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            I never claimed that I personally thought that touchscreens made much sense on a laptop, never mind on a desktop. but, you’re forgetting a couple things.
            1) Other people LOVE touch. they don’t care about anything other than what looks/sounds cool.
            2) Laptop sales have been stealing market share from desktops forever, and since may of 2003, made up a majority of sales, and keep on increasing. You think microsoft is building the ui for the shrinking market? granted, it’s of course a monster, but realistically, laptop sales are greater, and people WANT to touch their laptop screens. does touch make sense for productivity? not in the least. but will i be able to play angry birds?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!!!?!???!?!!???!??!?!!?!?!?! focus here. see what matters. it’s not work, it’s about the dumb consumers. it’s made apple the richest company in the world.

            That being said, i’m not convinced that the metro tiles detract from the usability of the start menu. i’ve been running the developer preview, and it has a bit of a learning curve, it’s true, but afterwords, it works totally fine. I see you making a lot of noise now, but 6 months down the road, not really caring. I do like metro. I’m not one of these crazy guys who obsesses about never learning anything, it’s true. I often format/install/format/install different os’s to mix it up a bit. I look forward to change, i don’t dread it. some of us are different though, and i can respect that. Personally? i hate tablets, hate my android 4.0 touchpad. hate using touch almost entirely on any device. but i like to mix it up a bit, and so i’m looking forward to what windows 8 brings.

            • DarkUltra
            • 7 years ago

            Renaming, open file location and dragging files from the search results on the start menu is no longer possible with win 8 metro ui. I can see the huge advantage of metro ui with access to full featured file manager and office programs on touchbased tablets, but desktop and business users will have to disable it. Imagine troubleshooting a game and navigating through config files and registry entries with your fingers.

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 8 years ago

            Apple =! Microsoft. There’s a reason Windows was a superior OS and Apple had such a small market-share, now not so much.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            who says windows was a superior OS? apple doesn’t. in fact they sell osx as the most advanced. [url<]http://www.apple.com/macosx/[/url<] I'd say an advanced OS was a better OS. windows had more market share because they were monopolistic, and played dirty. I don't think too many people would argue it's because the product they made was [i<] better [/i<]

            • DarkUltra
            • 7 years ago

            File management and program switching is much better on Windows 7 than MacOS X. On mac I get to a point where I miss advanced features, but on Windows I can grow farther and very easily manage my files. Going back to mac is almost like loosing the back and scroll button on my mouse. I actually feel limited. That doesn’t mean windows 9x was an unstable mess that people didn’t trust to run more than three programs at a time.

            • Grape Flavor
            • 7 years ago

            I agree. I use Windows for the games and the fact that you can use the OS on a custom PC. Not because it’s the “best”.

            Windows 7 has caught up a lot, but go back to the mid-2000s and compare what Apple was doing, to Windows XP, and Windows looks like a joke.

            I grew up on Macs and my whole family still uses them. The hardware is overpriced compared to PCs, and the game selection is crappy, but if that doesn’t matter to you, they’re very well designed machines.

            • Skeleton
            • 7 years ago

            No mate, it was because a windows machine was cheap and had more capability with the range of software available. It’s still the same today…….

            Developer point of view, Microsoft will Win, they already run how games are produced. Direct X is the law of the land basically.

            • dpaus
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]I sense sarcasm...[/quote<] Damn, you're just too smart for me! {QuickQuiz: OK, what are you sensing now...?} I think your last para neatly sums it up: if you don't like Win8, don't use it. If a device you really like (smartphone, tablet, ultrabook, whatever) only comes with Win8, don't buy it. If you don't like Windows, there are other options (especially Linux). We're way past the point where one size fits all. Apple is moving towards an integrated (some might say unified) ecosystem, and Microsoft is reponding to that (and let's be clear: all Microsoft has done for the last 10 years is 'respond' to others' innovations). They're doing what they feel they need to do in order to at least survive, and it's their call to make - not ours. Ideally, I too would like to live in a world where every product can be custom-ordered just the way I like it (say, a Ferrari 360 with a turbo 4 in it), but that's just not the way it is. In most cases, we have to look at what's offered as a whole (or, as a hole), and either take it or leave it. If enough of us do the latter, things [i<]will[/i<] change. EDIT: ps: I think you meant 'self-[i<][b<]deprecation[/i<][/b<]'. At my age, I'm already fully depreciated.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            I think you read a lot into my post that wasn’t actually there.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            i don’t think so. you said ms thought they’d be the primary input, i said no, they thought they were going to have touchscreens, and as such should build it better into the os.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 8 years ago

        Microsoft is run by a bunch of sniveling yes men, and the fanboys are just as bad. Nobody wants to admit there’s a problem, even when the problems become systemic. The OS can be saved, but you’re going to have to amputate a limb or two. Steve Kaneko has got to go. Ballmer too if you want to push it, but that’s a tougher sell considering all the cowardly yes men. They don’t have the guts to fire the suicidal psychopath.

    • odizzido
    • 8 years ago

    I have found that anything from microsoft with live in it sucks bad. GFWL, live movie maker, etc.

    I am not surprised that they want to get that behind them.

    Also after about a year of using it, I can say without any hesitation that the new paint in 7 is worse.

      • Chrispy_
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]I can say without any hesitation that the new paint in 7 is worse.[/quote<] Ribbon bars. Whoever decided they were a good idea needs their hands and feet bound by ribbons, before being thrown in a lake. WOW, I'm in a bad mood this morning! My point is still valid though 🙂

      • ludi
      • 8 years ago

      Question: WHY are you using Paint? Try Paint.net — free, much more function, no ribbon bars.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 8 years ago

      Why did they get rid of the spray can? I’ll never understand that.

        • Meadows
        • 8 years ago

        The spray can is there, blind man.

      • PeterD
      • 8 years ago

      But…. what if they only change the name?

      • sanko
      • 7 years ago

      Why the hate for the Live software? I remember using Movie Maker circa Windows XP and being filled with rage, but the current stuff is a whole different beast.

      Windows Live Photo Gallery and Movie Maker are competent, and integrate with SkyDrive and 3rd party web services quite well. Live Mesh is something I rely on regularly. Live Mail is even a passable desktop email client and feed reader.

      Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. Photo Gallery isn’t meant to compete with Photoshop Elements or Aperture, but it compares favorably with free software.

    • EsotericLord
    • 8 years ago

    Windows Live is a really big name. I mean, I can kinda see Zune since it was basically a failure (however good of a service it is), but Windows Live, really?

    Wonder what they will rename their msger/email….

      • moog
      • 8 years ago

      What about naming it Skype?

        • EsotericLord
        • 7 years ago

        So they are going to rename their email program Skype….

    • NeXus 6
    • 8 years ago

    When does GFWL get chopped?

      • khands
      • 8 years ago

      Srsly.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      it’ll likely be migrated to the “xbox for windows” section.

      • Price0331
      • 8 years ago

      That pos software makes me restart a game 4 times before I can play it, with the ridiculous updates and other nonsense.

      • Rand
      • 8 years ago

      GFWL is being rebranded to Xbox Live for Windows, not all that different just a name change. Not much different, all their GFWL stuff is already on the XBox website.

      • TREE
      • 8 years ago

      The only category not listed above is ‘Games’, chances are, that will take over GFWL.

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