Microsoft is making it simpler to log into online services and apps ahead of Windows 8. The next generation of Windows arrives later this year -- and we may have a date for the official unveiling.
Microsoft has sent out invitations to a gathering for Windows Phone app developers in San Francisco on 20 June. Could that be the day Microsoft properly unveils the full whistles and bells of Windows 8 after the sneak peek promised in early June?
In the meantime, Microsoft is simplifying the way you log into online services and apps. Windows Live is the current catch-all name for various Microsoft apps and online services, including Windows Live Essentials, Messenger, Hotmail and online cloud storage locker SkyDrive.
Your Windows Live ID login also gets you into the Windows Phone Marketplace for apps and syncs your data from your Windows Phone. It's a confusingly expansive brand, so Microsoft is simplifying things.
Instead of asking you for your Windows Live ID, Microsoft services will now request your Microsoft account details. Even though it's changing its name, your login deets will stay the same.
Simples, as I believe the kids say.
Windows 8 on its way
The change heralds the arrival of Windows 8. It's just one of the ways Microsoft is joining up Windows desktop software with Windows Phone, Windows apps and online services.When Windows 8 arrives, the streamlining between services should give Windows Phone a boost too.
Your Microsoft account is also hooked up to your Xbox Live account. And you'll be able to tie together your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Your friends on these networks will show up in your Windows contact list on your computer, in your phone and in apps -- meaning you can send them email from your PC or call them from your phone.
Is it about time Microsoft simplified its services, or does it still sound too complex, even after the proposed changes? Is Windows 8 going to give Windows Phone a boost? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page. If you can't wait until June, here's how to install Windows 8 now.