updated 06:36 pm EDT, Wed May 2, 2012
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Microsoft's official Windows 8 developers shed light on their plan to "reimagine" Windows Live services, which will be rebranded for the upcoming OS. Chris Jones, VP of the Windows Live group, wrote that Windows 8 will provide the company with the opportunity to “design them to be a seamless part of the Windows experience.”
The current suite of Windows Live services and apps were seen as “bolted on” to the user experience, with Jones commenting that the Windows Live name was used to refer to PC software, web services including Messenger and SkyDrive, and the Windows Live ID.
Windows Live ID will be replaced by a "Microsoft account," a central authentication system for signing into Windows 8 and connecting to Xbox LIVE, Zune, the Windows 8 app store and other services. Connecting a service to the Microsoft account will also provision users with a single contact list, calendar, inbox, instant messaging ID, and cloud storage. All Microsoft products can access these provisioned services, including cross-platform from a Windows 8 PC to a Windows Phone.
The Microsoft account will also be connectable to social networks Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, with third party developers gaining access to the Live SDK.