Ed Oswald has an exclusive at BetaNews:
EXCLUSIVE Microsoft plans to roll its Passport authentication service into the Windows Live family of Web services by 2007, renaming it to Windows Live ID, BetaNews has learned. While the company is keeping mum on specifics, the service would make use of Microsoft’s new InfoCard technology.
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the existence of Windows Live ID to BetaNews late Monday, calling it the authentication service for Windows Live. “You may consider it a major upgrade to Passport technology,” he said. According to Microsoft, Windows Live ID would play a large part in making upcoming services possible.
“We do plan for Windows Live ID to work with InfoCards in the future,” he continued, although declined to say whether the feature would make it into the service’s initial launch.
With over 30 services potentially taking on the “Live” moniker, industry watchers are warning that the Redmond company risks diluting the brand like it did with the .NET concept.
If this is correct, I detect a bigger branding disconnect than that. Passport and InfoCard are completely different technologies for addressing the same problem and as I mentioned earlier today, while Passport has a deserved reputation as too proprietary, the Open Source crowd is now saying the same thing about InfoCard. Renaming Passport as Windows Live ID won’t do anything for its acceptability and forever tarnishes the Windows Live ID name for the eventual InfoCard solution.
As for the Microsoft fad of renaming every product as “Windows Live Something,” there’s more detail in the article and this is a perfect example. Currently Passport is in a sort of “Microsoft Use Only” limbo – why does it need to have “Windows Live” slapped on it? What’s next, Windows Live Bob?