Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Office Live - brand extension of dilution?

Lots of activity about the Office Live details. Michael Gartenberg at Jupiter says that Microsoft is "leveraging" the Office and Windows brands.

I respecfully disagree. I tend to Mary Jo Foley's view that this is Microsoft branding run amuck. Remind me again how free domain name hosting relates to Microsoft Office? It doesn't.

And despite the presence of "Live" in the name, it has precious little to do with Windows Live. But that just further strengthens Mary Jo's argument: Live is the new .NET which was the new Active: a term that originally had a specific meaning (as in .NET Framework or Xbox Live) but which is quickly stripped of any meaning as it gets applied to far too many products.

A friend of mine read the Blake Ivring quote in Mary Jo's piece which said "When I explain Windows Live, I describe a service that seamlessly brings Web experiences together with Windows software and provides greater relevance in people's lives" and "This isn't about rebranding MSN, it is about building holistic and unified experiences" and noted that it isn't a good sign when your product explanation could pass muster as a mission statement for the Church of Scientology.


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