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Le Mail Hot February 8, 2007

Posted by David Card in Marketing.
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Gotta disagree with some former colleagues. The only thing odd about calling the new, soon to be stage n beta (beta means never having to say you’re Google) Hotmail “Hotmail” is that it took Microsoft a year to make the decision. “Windows Live Mail” means nothing. Hotmail means 200 million plus users worldwide. It’s a huge brand in Europe. People don’t like to change their e-mail address, and, if you ask them to, they just might go elsewhere.

Yeah, “Hotmail” has a bit of baggage as a product that’s, um, a little long in the tooth. But the new implementation is as slick as anyone’s Webmail offering (as good as those of Yahoo, .mac, and AOL, which are currently the best). Way slicker than Gmail. It shouldn’t be hard to dispel any dated brand karma. Will Hotmail be cool again? Eh, maybe.

If new users want a better shot at their own name, or a favorite vanity address, they can opt for Live. I have no doubt that Microsoft will spend whatever it takes to make “Live” mean something, someday, but this is the right thing to do for Hotmail.

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