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Microsoft retiring Zune and Windows Live branding in Windows 8

MS says bye-bye to Zune and Windows Live

Though they had a good run, it appears Microsoft's Zune and Windows Live brands are going the way of the Dodo.  The Windows 8 Consumer Preview shows that the Windows Live group of applications have been replaced by a pre-installed "Windows Communications" group. "Windows Live ID," the current all-in-one login for Microsoft services, will be replaced with the generic "Microsoft Account." [Edit: It's actually called "Microsoft Your Account", see below] The "Zune" name is also glaringly absent in the Windows Store and in relation to music and movie apps.  Zune Pass, however, still works.

The new multimedia branding in Windows 8 will be called "Xbox Live for Windows" and will include apps for music, movies and games.  Rumor is that Zune will officially be gone by the summer, and may even be replaced by a music service that resembles Spotify via Xbox Live.  Throw in the demise of the Zune desktop client for Windows Phone, and voila!, bye-bye Zune.

Microsoft Your Account

The overall simplification of Microsoft's branding goes like this:

  • Windows Live ID --> Microsoft Account
  • Windows Live Mail --> Mail
  • Windows Live Calendar --> Calendar
  • Windows Live Contacts --> People
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery --> Photos
  • Zune Music Player --> Music
  • Zune Video Player --> Videos

Source: TheVerge, Head to WithinWindows for more images of 'Your Account' as seen above

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Reader comments

Microsoft retiring Zune and Windows Live branding in Windows 8

95 Comments

It would be sad to lose my Zune Pass, especially since mine is the grandfathered version that lets me keep 10 songs a month.  Evolution is inevitable, though.

I will be very, very sad if a zune-pass style service (I don't care what they call it) doesn't exist going forward. 

Interesting news indeed. As Bob Dylan sang, the times they are changing. Looks to be to the better. New blood for a new era. Lets hope they get these products out there this time and that people really start using em.

Its for the best.  Microsoft is going all in with their massive overhaul of services and software.

There will still be a decent sync service. It will be more built into Win8. Even though it won't be named Zune anymore [ tear :-( ] it will still work nearly the same way, including wireless syncing, I would imagine.

Microsoft is soooooo confused. You can call it what you want but if the apps and services don't work nobody is going to use it.

Actually all Microsoft products work. Windows Live is faster and more stable than Steam(I use steam a lot so I am not a fan boy) and Zune is way more stable than iTunes and more organized than Spotify.

Good move. Skimming that list at the bottom of the article really makes it clear they're thinking about the masses now.

What about my music that is saved to my Zune folders, and my windows phone syncing.  I would like to now much more before they just do away with the software.

Yes. I LOVE the Zune desktop software. SO MUCH BETTER than iTunes. Not only is it an elegant looking piece of software, but it works well also.

That being said, some consolidation needs to be done; Zune, Windows Media Player, and Windows Media Center are all too many ways to do the same thing. Zune already effectively replaced WMP anyway.

I don't really care what Microsoft brands the software as, but there should be one central way to access media - I just wish it was the Zune software (in any name, but keep that beautiful interface).

Take the TV recording/playback functionality of Media Center and add that to the Zune interface you've got one monster piece of awesome software.

I have to agree.  Zune is borderline unusable.  That said, it's still better than iTunes, the description of which would be similar but lacking the word "borderline."

Well, I would hope not, but the bit about "may even be replaced by a music service that resembles Spotify" makes me at least a little nervous...but it's only a rumor, so I guess I'll cross my fingers and hope nothing changes but the name.

Dear Zune I will miss thee. Zune pass and unlimited downloadable content worked so seamlessly with Windows Phone. The only thing is you couldn't access the video store directly from the phone which would be a nice addition. As long as these services improve I'm all for it.

Really hoping Windows Media Player is being scrapped as well (and while we're at it, some standard codecs thrown in?)

I am all for changing things for the simpler, but where does this leave devices/sevices tied to the Zune brand?
- Zune Mp3 devices
- ZunePass
- Zune Desktop Client (which is hands down a better experience than iTunes)
- Badges/Plays/Pins/ZuneTag/Zune Community
- Zune Smartlists and Podcasts
 
If these things remain unaltered, or improved, then I am all for this.  If not, then I don't quite know what I will plan to do moving forward.  I have invested a LOT of time/money in having an experience that I am more than satisfied with in Zune, the thought of that going away just for simplification moving forward would damage a good portion of my respect for Microsoft's strategy on a whole.
I also don't quite get the branding of media as Xbox LIVE for Windows being less confusing than many of the current brands, unless there is going to be full Xbox functionality integration down the road to tie everything together.
We shall see what the future holds...

I was curious about the same thing.  I currently use a Zune HD and prior to that a Zune 80GB.  I've been using the desktop client for many years now and really like it and I use that as the way I manage all my music and podcasts.  I hope switching to their new system won't be too much of a hassle.

Dear Microsoft,
I am a Fanboy, I love your products.......  I have held many Microsoft Certs for over 15 years, use the knowledge daily.  In my opinion here are your best 5 products over the last 10 years. 
1. ZUNE SOFTWARE - Cleanest and Best software you have EVRE MADE.  Media Player and itunes dreams to be this good.
2. ZUNE PLAYER - I have used many differnt devices, now have 6 Zunes in my house, this is the BEST
3. Windows Phone 7
4. Windows Server 2008 R2
5. Windows 7
Retire the name, thats ok, do not retire the product, evolve it please.

I don't mind the rebranding, just hope they keep some of Zune's aesthetics, like the various formats of current band/artist playing, find it so cool. Smart DJ must stay as well.

Smart DJ - how did I forget this, the single best feature EVER BUILT. Keeps me young and listening fresh new music.

I donno I like Zune. I think I'll keep it on my desktop and just grab a new computer for the new shit? Or will it just update Zune on me anyways? I think it's a pretty sexy application not gonna lie

Yes. There will be a new (or revived) desktop client which will improve syncing between mobile devices and locally-stored media.

To me personally, I prefer the Zune name over Xbox live entertainment or whatever the hell they're naming it. That just sounds lame & unimaginative. But most of the world is, I guess. I feel like Sheldon on TBBT, when he first uses Windows7;
"My new laptop came with windows 7. It's more user friendly than Vista. I don't like that." (Me neither, lol)

I hope it works as good as or better than now. Doubt we'll see much of a change on our phones, other than losing the cool Zune logo.

So if this is to be introduced in Windows 8, I would take an assumption that all devices will need to be compatible with the new software.  Also that would mean that all phones and zune platers would be upgraded to WP8 or new "music" software since Zune wont be on the new phones.  If this isnt evidence that microsoft plans on making everything similar across the board I dont know what does.

It has been confirmed that Win8 and WP8 will be very similar in their underlying software. Microsoft will make sure the new sync server works with older devices. That is not too difficult to do.

Though I do still see the awesome Zune logo at the bottom of the Microsoft your account pic. Maybe they won't completely scrap it? Might just be my wishful thinking though.

Smart move on Microsoft's part. While they're at it, Windows and Office are getting a bit long in the tooth as well. In keeping with their current strategy, they should be renamed "Microsoft Operating System" and "Microsoft Business Productivity Suite".

Ws this the reason why they killed off the Zune HD hardware... Was it always the plan... Its a shame I have a Zune HD player and love it...

I love zune and I wish they would not retire the brand or th music player. It was one of the better designed products at least the zune HD the regular player was not done that well. But I would have hoped they would have had another try at it instead of giving up entirely. Plus the logo is really good. Live was not exactly the best name "windows live" but now it's even worse branding-wise "windows communications" and "microsoft your account"? That just doesn't sound right. Also zune desktop is one of their more visually appealing programs.

Meh. Most non-US non-wp7 users wouldn't even know what Zune is... They could've possibly been exposed to it on xbox360 a year or so ago... But otherwise it's non-existent (no zune players, zune pass only just released in some areas without the 10 free songs).

Hopefully they can update the UI - searching for apps/music/movies is a chore with the currently borked navigation ('back' should mean 'back to where I was', not 'back to the top of the list 10 pages ago')

I wholeheartedly agree. @live.com is short, simple, and would have been the perfect brand to pull everything under. The Windows brand should have stayed with the OS, and the Live brand (not Windows Live, Xbox Live, etc.) should have become the thing that tied all internet/web/cloud/account consumer services. The word suggests activity and movement, just what a range of interconnected, accessible anywhere services needs for a name.

it's great... that these days MS is working towards keeping things as simple as possible and this is one such example. Also, Please don't tell me i can't change my country of Live ID.. com'on when i created my Live ID none of these Zune Players etc etc existed.. and i got a US live ID which i can't change now. No no I'm not creating a new live ID for every country i move in to.

I really...really...don't want to have my music service associated with Xbox Live. It makes no sense, and I already hate that brand enough to begin with.

I agree with planetarian. Gaming and music are not the same thing. I think "Xbox" is s horrible name anyways, but "Zune" sounds 100 times better. Of course Xbox is a success, and Zune is less-so, but personally, I think they retired the wrong name. Zune is dead. Long live Zune!!

I do quite like the Zune application. The interface could be streamlined. There is a lot of mouse movement when switching between PC and WP7 content. And menus could be consolidated and better organized. Anyhow, still great software. A feature to backup media and WP7 as well as restore from Cloud/store allowing content would be awesome. I know the new experience will be better just can't wait!

Why have actual branding when you can have a bunch of verbose and/or generic names? Microsoft has to have the worst marketing/naming in the world.
 
Why have a "Zune Pass" when you could have an "Xbox Live For Windows Music Subscription?"
 
Killing Windows Live is stupid too since the Xbox Live name remains and "Live" had become Microsoft's word or brand to indicate online or cloud services. 
 
Can't wait for the announcement 5 years from now that Skype is being rebranded "Microsoft Video Phone Messenger."
 
 
 

Best UI for music playback around. Its nice seeing the album art as the back drop while songs are playing and the dj mixview is a get tool and often introduces new music or old songs that you may have forgotten about. Hope they just add to what makes the software great already.

I think Windows needs to change the name of the phones' OS to something new instead of Windows Phone. Something more exciting.
I think we can all agree that the name "windows" is accosiated with "boring, old, etc.." by the majority of people.
Nokia seems to be doing great by marketing the phone as just Nokia instead of "Nokia with windows" by disassociating the name "windows" since it carries alot of negative connotations.
 

actually nokia wp7 are always said together when marketing the phones I.E.
Nokia Lumia 710 americas first 4g nokia windows phone
Lumia 800 The first REAL windows phone
Lumia 900 Windows Phone Hero Device
610 Low budget windows phone device
so nokia does promote the windows name dont really know what you mean :D

You obviously don't live in America cause the opposite of what you just wrote is true. Here Nokia is considered boring old and outdated and I've seen studies that show since the release of Windows 7 customer satisfaction with Windows is at an all time high. There was even a study not too long ago that indicated most consumers worldwide were holding out for Windows OS tablets. Windows and Office are the two most valuable brand names that Microsoft owns. MS calling their OS anything but Windows is a ridiculous suggestion.

Yes, 'cause I'm one of those holder outers, and I like the idea of having the same OS on both me phone and tablet (which will replace my desktop).

Its clear there are a lot of people who understand nothing about branding so let me simplify this for you...
What will replace the @Zune twitter handle and Zune Facebook page that people follow to hear about new music/video releases on the market? Brands are essential, you can't just kill them and replace them with nothing and expect to have a following.
 

Im ok with this,there's a lot of consolidation that needs to happen with msft.. Integrate all this together, and please dont take away Zune pass, rename it to XBOX MUSIC OR ZUNE MUSIC

I don't understand why everyone is freaking out. It's not like Microsoft is just going to go ahead and make some completely new software that isn't like Zune. They are changing the names, big deal. I'm sure they'll improve on Zune and make it even better.

Name changes just scare people simple as that. They are almost always for the better though. Anybody remember the McDonald's slogan before "im loving it" because I don't.

I truly dont get why people are freaking out. WP is touted for its simplicity and functionality. Yet, MS is trying to do this across the board and its a problem?

I'm less disappointed about them retiring the Zune brand if it's part of a wider scale effort to simplify their product lines. Windows Live definitely needed to go.
However, I still think there is value in keeping Zune. By all means I'm ok with debranding the actual apps for simplicity, but the name should stick around for the Marketplace elements. By dropping the name it's basically admitting defeat. They could send a powerful message by recommitting to it, especially since I don't see how it can be shoehorned into Xbox or anything else without feeling out of place.

Whatever they gonna call the service, there will be someone who'll hate the name. Personally I'd hated the Live branding and glad to see it go.

I believe this was going to happen to time, Micosoft has been dragging it's feet for some time on what to do with Zune. Zune has been setting around waiting to either be replaced, blended with other services, or replaced. It would lesson the confusion in these services. Blending these services into one name is the best ting that could happen.

Trying really hard not to be upset. I think Zune is awesome. I wonder what this means for Zune device compatibility. I still have mine (all of them)

Urg, what's wrong with the Windows Live branding? They better not change the @live.com email, because I use that as my main personal email.

If they are gonna rename the Zune brand with something with Xbox in it just call it xbl music or something short I don't want to talk to people and say hey I'm listening to my Xbox live entertainment player...

I just hope that my Zune pass does not require an xbox account moving forward. I know Microsoft loves to push that expensive Xbox gold account. I don't even have an xbox, so I hope that the premium account isn't a requisite for xbox music services.

Have always hated Zune so hoping this will become a reality. Spotify doesn't work properly because of Zune, so seeing this better off.