Microsoft Windows My MSN Live Office 365 Online SkyDrive Hotmail with Social Networking? Really, did you just do that?

Dear Microsoft,

Okay…I get it. You are in turmoil. At least externally. How else do you explain the plethora of mixed messages you are sending to me and the rest of your public? I mean, really, is this how you reward someone who has threatened MacHeads at a bar before over the benefits of allowing open OS integration on the Intel platform instead of locking down the software to a particular hardware platform? Is this the thanks I get for proselytyzing (better look that one up here) your ASP.NET web platform versus several other great options available for creating web applications?

I’m getting the message now and I’m not sure I like it, but I’m okay with it. Your therapist said you should face up to your perceived competition by being all schizophrenic so you let your fears run wild. Good job releasing your imagination here…I’m just trying to follow in your world while you work out the demons. Let me serve up a few examples of the confusion you’ve lent me recently.

Exhibit A: My MSN

I had a small web page at My MSN in the past. This was never a big deal for me because, frankly, My MSN blows goats, but it was still a familiar way to access the email account I keep with MSN. Today, the experience has changed so much in the last couple of weeks that it’s kind of weird as Exhibit A can attest.

Exhibit A: My MSN

Exhibit A: My MSN

Okay, so what can we say about Exhibit A? Well, there is some news and I’m signed in to My MSN as indicated by the Sign out button on the upper-right corner of the screen. I have some localized weather and a link to my Hotmail email account along the top-left corner. Otherwise, this page looks as if I might as well be at any other news site on the web. What happened to my old experience all of a sudden?

Exhibit B: Windows Live

Interestingly enough, when I click the Hotmail link on the My MSN home page—incidentally, I’ve never had a Hotmail account but I’ve always had to access my MSN email account under the Hotmail moniker, which is weird—I am redirected to a totally different user experience and not the old familiar My MSN email experience. Wallah! I’m now at Windows Live! What is this? Is this Hotmail or My MSN or both? The good news is that I’ve been confused the whole time I’ve accessed my MSN email account. For years I’ve had to go through Hotmail to access an MSN account so it’s good that the confusing user experience is ongoing. I guess I’ll just access my MSN email through this new Windows Live web interface until you change your mind again. Thanks for keeping things fresh!

Exhibit B: Windows Live

Exhibit B: Windows Live

Exhibit C: Microsoft Online Services

I thought we had a match. I was ready trust you. You convinced me to outsource my mail hosting and SharePoint services to you and I was excited. Then I went to find you at Microsoft Online Services and learned that you were but a shell of your former self. You had quickly abandoned what you began. How can I trust you anymore? How can I even know you through all your changes? I don’t even understand your marketing!

Exhibit C: Microsoft Online Services

Exhibit C: Microsoft Online Services

Exhibit D: Microsoft Office 365 (Beta)

Wait…is it Microsoft Online Services Office Live 365 or MyMSN Office 12 Months or My Hotmail Sometimes every Year or is it a Microsoft in the Cumulus Cloud? I’m so confused…please, tell me what you have done to me! I have no idea who you are, Microsoft, and I’m beginning to question who I am now. I’d love to try to get along with your latest schizophrenic personality but I can’t even get in line with all your suitors…I’m still waiting for a Beta invitation! Where is Microsoft Bob when you need him?

Exhibit D: Office 365 Beta

Exhibit D: Office 365 Beta

Sorry, Microsoft, you’ve been attractive for a long time and I’ve been chasing you for at least that long but I guess it’s time we just spent some time apart. I saw this Google Apps person down the street and, well, you know, maybe it’s time we see some other people. After all, you have started exploring other networks on me lately. (BTW, you have nothing on Facebook, who is much better than you, but it’s good that you’re trying.)

Best regards,

Your Former Public

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