Microsoft said Wednesday that it will ditch its Windows Live branding in favor of an over-arching "Microsoft account."

This Microsoft account will be an integral part of the upcoming Windows 8, the software giant said in a blog post, and will be rolling out over the next few months across Microsoft's product line.

Windows Live has been around since 2005, and at this point it's used to describe the Hotmail, SkyDrive, and Messenger suite of services, as well as Windows Live Essentials apps.

Though these services are used by more than 500 million people every month, according to Chris Jones, vice president of Microsoft's Windows Live group, "they still did not meet our expectations of a truly connected experience," he wrote.

"Windows Live services and apps were built on versions of Windows that were simply not designed to be connected to a cloud service for anything other than updates, and as a result, they felt 'bolted on' to the experience," Jones said.

As a result, there was "customer confusion," Jones wrote, something Microsoft hopes to eradicate with the release of Windows 8 later this year. "Windows 8 provides us with an opportunity to reimagine our approach to services and software and to design them to be a seamless part of the Windows experience, accessible in Windows desktop apps, Windows Metro style apps, standard web browsers, and on mobile devices."

PC Magazine