Microsoft's Hotmail Brand Will Live On

Following some soul searching, Microsoft said it has decided to keep the well-known Hotmail name for its basic e-mail service. "We found that many users were extremely loyal to the Hotmail brand," wrote Microsoft product manager Richard Sim, in a blog entry.

As a result, Microsoft has ditched plans to adopt the name Windows Live Mail for the service. Instead, the software giant's revamped product will be called Windows Live Hotmail, Sim confirmed in the Feb. 8 blog entry. "By adopting the name Windows Live Hotmail, we believe we're bringing together the best of both worlds -- new and old," Sim wrote.

But early feedback on the decision to conjoin the Hotmail and Windows Live brand names wasn't altogether positive. "It's more confusing if you name it Windows Live Hotmail," wrote one poster on the comments section of Sim's blog. "I thought Windows Live MAIL was awesome. Why spoil it by changing the names of everything?" wrote another.

Still, one poster welcomed the switch, insisting that "Windows Live Hotmail is good! Don't forget that Hotmail was actually MSN Hotmail."

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The Windows live version of Hotmail will feature a number of enhancements over the existing product, including message previews that users can read from within their in-box, seamless importation of Outlook contacts, and drag-and-drop organization tools.

Windows Live is a series of Web-based services, including e-mail, instant messaging, and social networking tools, that Microsoft is rolling out on a piecemeal basis.