September 5, 2007 9:00 AM PDT

Microsoft hopes Windows Live finds common ground

Microsoft is bringing its Windows Live services together under one roof, while acknowledging that many of its customers also spend time down the street at rivals' houses.

The Windows Live services suite, a beta version of which is expected to be released late Wednesday, brings together Microsoft's desktop programs for sharing photos, instant messaging, sending e-mail and posting blogs.

Although Microsoft hopes to eventually win more converts to its services, many of its newly gathered-together desktop tools also work with competitor's offerings. The Windows Live Mail desktop program, for example, connects to Windows Live Hotmail, but also to nearly all other major e-mail services such as those from Google and Yahoo, for instance.

Likewise, Windows Live Writer can be used to upload blogs to Windows Live Spaces, but also to other major blog sites.

"We really are trying to make it so that it is about individuals working with the services they want to work with," said Chris Jones, a corporate vice president in the Windows Live unit. "There are lots of people who use services from other companies. Part of our proposition is to help you make sense of it all."

Microsoft said in June that it was planning to introduce a common installer for its Windows Live products. In addition to Windows Live Mail and Windows Live Writer, the unified installer can install and update Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Toolbar, parental control software and Windows Live Photo Gallery, a photo-sharing utility first announced earlier this summer that is moving into public beta for the first time.

In addition to the Windows Live-branded services being offered directly by Microsoft, the company is hard at work creating an infrastructure of services that developers can build on top of, a set of abilities some have referred to as a "Cloud OS." Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the company will have more to say on the matter later this year.

Jones said the company didn't yet have anything to add on that front.

As for Windows Live, Jones said the company has a vision of allowing access to any file from any device.

"It's a pretty broad vision so it will take us time to get there," he said.

Microsoft has struggled in its attempt to expand its array of Web services, though its Hotmail and Messenger both have huge audiences. Meanwhile, Google is charging ahead in offering productivity applications, such as word processing and spreadsheets, to people on the Web for free--a threat to Microsoft's core desktop business.

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8 comments

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Windows Live; yeah, right.
If this is anything like their One Care and prior Live items it will also have major consumer problems. In the outset of the first Live release I tried to get in on the Beta version. But, when I tried to download it from the MIcrosoft site it demanded a product key (for a Beta release, come on) and directed me to a site. The same one I'd just been on. I went into customer support and tried to get help there. I had to have a registration number for the Beta version of Live before it would let me in to ask. I tried e-mail support and NEVER got a response. So, I left the Live arena to braver souls than I.

I did get a Live site and it didn't work. Everything I tried to do I was told I couldn't - even though it looked like I should have been able to. The options were on the list and I clicked on it, then it said "Option not available."

I tried the Blogs and never heard anything about the questions I posed. So, I haven't used that site either.

I had a similar experience with One Care and Defender. I had some questions and needed some non geek answers. I asked the questions and didn't get ANY answers.

Thus, my path was obvious. I stayed with Norton for security and used other methods for backup and data management.

I sincerely hope Mickeysoft gets the acts together and the other two rings of the circus begin to run right again.
Posted by GEBERWEIN (75 comments )
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Windows Dead
They should change the name to something more descriptive.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
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No Problem with me
I have used Windows Live service in beta version, like Windows Live OneCare, Live Messenger, Hotmail, without any problem at all. Although, I don't like first impression of new hotmail performance, but after it's released, it's one of the advanced email web interface, although GMAIL is still no 1 for me. In fact, I still use beta version for OneCare version 2.0. It works great for me so far.
Posted by Gunady (191 comments )
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Windows Comatose
Face it, on the Web Microsoft cannot use the extortionist tactics they used to such great success with the PC manufacturers.

The deal they cut for themselves was not greatly different from the stationers monopolies the crown conferred on publishers in England in the 17th century. The Scots broke that sweet deal with cheap high-quality product. Our libraries are all richer for their relentless enterprise.

The Web has well and truly broken MSFT's virtual monopoly on desktop applications and our desktop choices are richer because of it. Applications can and will come from anywhere now and to a one, they'll all be a generation ahead of MSFT's wildest imaginings.

The company may have a future still if they can find someone who can develop a reliable OS. Windows Live is just a symptom of a wasting disease, like the blank, sunken eyeballs of a tuberculosis victim.
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
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lol
Thanks for the larf.
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
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Ballmer says "Do the Windows, yeah yeah"
Microsoft is still dancing to Windows. But the world has moved on. We are doing the Internet and Ballmer and co can be heard saying "hey do the windows" and it sounds sort of like last decade, plus it is so slow and cannot compare to 1% of the Internet anyway.

But that won't stop Ballmer and co from dancing to an old tune. People are like that. They get stuck in a time frame and they can't change and they look sort of ridiculous because they become old farts.

Windows Windows yeah, we gotta right to do it, la la.

Also, developers are leaving in droves and guess who's getting them? The Web and Linux. So much for the developers developers speech. I think after that one, they thought to themselves, why am I working to help this moron?

The Windows trend is over and only old farts keep trying to revive it.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
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