The Low Profile of Microsoft’s Mapping Effort

Why does Microsoft’s online mapping service get so little attention compared with Google’s?

Peter Laudati thinks it’s because it’s gone through so many name changes, from Virtual Earth to Windows Live Local to whatever they’re calling it now — he counts at least eight web addresses that resolve to the service. (Dare Obasanjo: “This product has now officially gone through more names than I’ve had ex-girlfriends. … It’s sad that we are intent on screwing one of the coolest products we are shipping these days in this way.”)

Scoble thinks it comes down to ease of use: Google’s typically simple, uncluttered, non-redundant user interface.

Me, I suspect that cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility might play a factor: a lot of the people who write the stories that generate the buzz use Macs. (Live Maps doesn’t work at all on Safari, and it’s apparently not feature-complete on Firefox.)

Plus, I think Microsoft simply doesn’t have much goodwill left: if you say that Microsoft has produced something truly amazing, many of us will simply conclude that you’re a shill on their payroll.