Ever since the //build/windows conference, Microsoft has been showing off all the cool new features you get with Windows 8. We saw things not only from the Developer Preview, but even directly from Ballmer during Dell World. Since December, rumors were flying around that we would see the public beta drop as soon as this month and we now know Leap Day will be the bearer of the riches.
We know Windows 8 will be full of big changes for the better, with things as simple as a logo redesign. However, unfortunately we will also see some things possibly change that I personally do not like. The Zune and Windows Live brands will end their existence upon the release of Windows 8.
What's going on? We have the full story after the break.
We have been able to look inside the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and have seen that Microsoft has swiftly put an end to the Zune and Windows Live brands. Let's pause for a moment of silence.
What is happening to the services? Well, for Windows Live, we will see the entire application suite roll itself up and come pre-installed as the main part of a complete service known as "Windows Communications." The term "Microsoft Account" will now be what you say instead of "Windows Live ID." With Microsoft acquiring Skype and other smaller companies, keeping with the Windows Live name wouldn't make much sense and it's better to package it all up, make it come with Windows 8 and allow users to experience all of the cool, different ways you can interact with your friends and media.
Speaking of media, however, the end of a favorite is upon us. I regret to inform you that my 10k+ plays, 25+ badges and countless Smart DJ mixes were no match for Microsoft's corporate henchmen as they have also eliminated the Zune name from Windows 8. Remember the whole Games for Windows merge with Xbox Live? Well, instead of the Zune Video Pass happening on the Xbox 360, Microsoft is flipping the tables. Instead, there is rumor that we will have Xbox Live for Windows as the name of all things entertainment and media.
At the time of this writing, nothing has been said yet what will happen to the desktop Zune client. We do know that Zune Music Pass will remain, at least for now.
Am I sad to see a great brand go? Yes. However, I am happy to see Microsoft trying to broaden their reach by going with the name change and trying to tap into the gamer market who already has a Windows 8 style dashboard on Xbox Live. This all ties into the rumor that Microsoft would be replacing Zune with a Spotify-like streaming music option. If that's the case, I'll make the switch, especially if it's integrated with Xbox Live.