With the recent fiasco with SkyDrive naming, it's time to dust this off yet again.
A fellow Outlook MVP suggested OutlookCloudDrive365 as the new name for SkyDrive and it's perfect. Microsoft gets to use "Outlook" in another unrelated product, they get to use the buzz word "Cloud" in the product name and continue with the "365" confusion. And users can call it "Outlook" for short. Or OCD365, because the world doesn't have enough O365 products. OCD365. Perfect.
I haven't heard a Bud Light Real Men of Genius commercial in years (too much XM radio), but the recent product name changes brought back memories of the Outlook / Outlook Express mess we suffered with for years and the commercial we wanted to hear, "saluting" the person who picks the product names Microsoft uses.
Remember Internet Mail and News? Microsoft could have dropped "Internet" from the name to begin with and went with Mail for the last 15+ years. Or grabbed a page from Apple's playbook and called it Windows Mail. But no, we had Outlook Express before they decided to rename it's replacement Mail, morphing it into Live Mail. Now that the Live brand is dead, it's just… plain old "Mail". Let's not forget all of the names Messenger / Lync have been known by, or passport / Live ID. Then there are the servers: Proxy server to ISA to who knows what, or SBS to Essentials, Communications server to Lync. And don't forget Bing.
Some of the name changes make sense, many don't. Outlook.com and Office 365 are on my list of "doesn't make sense".
I've answered too many "My Outlook is not working with Outlook" questions already. It's annoying for me but it's really frustrating for the person who needs help because I either need to ask if they are using Outlook on the desktop before I can answer the question or give them instructions they can't follow because they are using Outlook in a browser.
If they let me name the products, Hotmail would stay as the name for the service, but with the new formerly-known-as-Metro-nized interface. (I'd add outlook.com and other new domains for address options.) And SkyDrive would be LiveDrive or HotDrive... eliminating the need to change the branding of it yet again.
While the Outlook and Outlook.com situation is bad, Office 365 is worse. Office 365 is the upgraded hosted mail and collaboration service formerly known as BPOS (Business Productivity Online Service). BPOS was not a good name to build into a brand and "Office 365" is a good fit for the service. But is it the best name for the rented Office 2013 applications too? Not when you are the one supporting Office 365.
It's not easy trying to help someone who says "My email is not working in Office 365", only to find out that they mean Outlook isn't syncing with Hotmail. Wouldn't it be better to call it what it is: "Office 2013 Online"? It's the Office 2013 suite and it's online. Yes, that name is boring and lacks cuteness and creativity, but everyone would know what application or service the discussion is about. It's branding at its best.
I can only wonder how long the Office 365 "brand" lasts, then Office will be back to being Office [year] and the online business collaboration service will be something new and different.
With apologies to Budweiser... but hey, some of these name changes are driving users to drink.
Bud Light Presents: real men of genius
(real men of genius)
Today we salute you mr. microsoft product namer
(mr. microsoft product namer)
Never has one man confused so many. Without you the world would not have Office 365 and Office 365.
(Do you want apps with that?)
And let's not forget Hotmail and Live, for now it's Outlook.com.
Pick a name and stick with it, no way.
(Confusion oh yeah)
So crack open an ice cold bud light oh creative thinker, thanks to you, branding is for bozos.
(chime chime chime)