Richard MacManus reports that Microsoft launched Office Live today.
The first thing that struck me about Office Live is the comment from Jupiter Research analyst Joe Wilcox: "Office Live absolutely is not a hosted version of Microsoft Office."
Sure enough, looking at the About Office Live page reveals that Office Live is little more than some tools for creating a hosted website for a business, on first glance quite similar to Yahoo Small Business and other existing hosting products.
Why is it called Office Live then? Taking a strong brand name, Microsoft Office, and adding a modifier to it, the word Live, would lead most people to conclude that Office Live should be some nifty "Live" version of MS Office. It is not.
This is more branding foolishness from Microsoft. In their attempt to hype Windows Live, they have tossed the label on everything. In the process, they are diluting the brand of MS Office and causing customer confusion.
See also my previous post, "Is it Live or MSN?"
Update: Robert Scoble is confused too: "Office Live isn’t what you think it is. It wasn’t what I thought it was ... Damn the marketers who are extending the Office brand."
Update: Don't miss this great post by David Hunter, "Microsoft relaunches bCentral, calls it Office Live".
Update: Matthew Ingram asks, "Why cheapen a potentially hot brand idea like Office Live by pasting it on something that looks like a bag of warmed-over, also-ran features?"