Windows Live Mail Becomes Window Live Hotmail

Dennis Faas's picture

Hundreds of years ago, Shakespeare wrote that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But Microsoft recently discovered that names can in fact be very important, and has changed the name of Windows Live Mail to Windows Live Hotmail.

The decision to modify the name of Microsoft's new AJAX-enabled webmail system was announced last Thursday in a Windows Live Spaces blog entry posted by Senior Product Manager Richard Sim. (Source:

Sim wrote that during beta testing of the new system, the company "found that many users were extremely loyal to the Hotmail brand and perceived the beta as an upgrade to Hotmail." On the negative side, however, he added that "some were a bit confused by name change." (Source:

Responses to Sim's blog post were not as positive as the company might have hoped. Many expressed their dissatisfaction with the "hotmail" moniker and their desire for change. One user wrote: "Sorry LiveMail team -- you are listening to the wrong people. Your die hard fans will stick with you no matter what you call it. I think you need to go out with the old and [in] with the new." (Source:

Another user noted the possible negative implications that using the name "hotmail" may have on people's perceptions of the service. "We all know Windows Live Mail lacks a lot of features compared to Hotmail. And this is what is creating this comparison." (Source:

Negative feedback has not only come from users, but also from those offering a strategic viewpoint. They point out that Live, unlike the Windows and Office brands, is new to the company. Building a new brand is something that takes time. If Microsoft was expecting instant gratification from the Live brand, perhaps it was their expectations -- and not the name -- that needed to be tweaked. (Source:

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