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Microsoft’s Live Spaces initiative is getting a lot of buzz today, and rightfully so. The mass-market offering marries instant messaging, social networking (sort-of), Microsoft gadgets and blogging into what could be Cup-a-noodles of social apps. Techcrunch notes that Microsoft is phasing out the MSN brand, in favor of the “Live.”
This is a very smart move on part of Microsoft. MSN as a brand is tired and needs to be retired. It conjures up images of an also ran brand. Live, however, seems fresh and new. Online user behavior seems to show precisely that. (Windows) Live-branded services are doing much better for Microsoft that those weighed down by the MSN brand. A quick analysis of data on online member communities/destinations collected by Nielsen/Net Ratings (N/NR) shows that.
In US, N/NR says Windows Live had 29.8 million unique visitors, second only to MySpace, which attracted 36 million unique visitors, in the month of June 2006. MSN Spaces wasn’t in the top ten. In other countries Windows Live brand is doing even better. In Brazil, for instance, Windows Live had 7.6 million uniques, while MSN spaces had mere 1.7 million.
The most notable one is Australia, since Live Spaces had been in beta testing in that country, where some elements of Live Spaces were tested as part of MSN Spaces offering. (Thanks Dare who has a great post on the launch!) While it is hard to draw sweeping conclusions, it does seem when it comes to post-PC world, Microsoft is better off retiring its old MSN brand, and usher in the new Live era. (The complete comparisons are after the fold.)