Windows Live Mail is still on deck as Microsoft’s free Web email service replacement, but Richard Sim, Microsoft’s Senior Product Manager, let’s us know that they have decided to keep the Hotmail brand:
Just on the heels of another great release for the beta (M9), I’d like to share some interesting news to our loyal users. When we launch the mail service worldwide, it will be named Windows Live Hotmail. That’s right! And for starters, some of you will begin to see the Windows Live Hotmail brand show up in the beta – first in our Microsoft internal version (dogfood) and eventually in the public version in the coming weeks.
As we brought users onboard to this new service and had them kick the tires, we learned quickly that users loved it. We knew we were onto a good thing. We also found that many users were extremely loyal to the Hotmail brand and perceived the beta as an upgrade to Hotmail. In fact, our most loyal users have been very happy with Hotmail for years and while they loved the improvements in the beta, some were a bit confused by name change.
As we prepare to launch the final version of our new web mail service, we recognize the importance of ensuring that our 260+ million existing customers come over to the new service smoothly and without confusion. By adopting the name “Windows Live Hotmail”, we believe we’re bringing together the best of both worlds – new and old. We’re able to offer the great new technology that Windows Live has to offer while also bringing the emotional connection many existing and loyal users have with Hotmail.
It also obviates any reason for the awful task of switching the existing user base from hotmail.com email addresses. I’ve seen comments both pro and con, but can’t help but think this is a good branding decision.
What we need now is a campaign to rename Windows Live Mail desktop to something less unwieldy which also respects our brand with lots of mindshare. Perhaps Windows Live Outlook Express? :)