April 29, 2007 6:00 PM PDT

Microsoft opens up on Web strategy at Mix '07

Microsoft's strategy in the new world of ad-supported online software is, in some ways, business as usual: use aggressive business terms to undercut rivals, and cozy up to developers.

At the company's Mix '07 conference in Las Vegas on Monday, Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie and other Microsoft executives are scheduled to lay out the elements of Microsoft's "software plus services" push, its approach to making money from hosted Web services while keeping customers tied to its desktop software.

Microsoft executives will introduce the Dynamic Languages Runtime, software that improves support for dynamic, or scripting, languages in Microsoft tools, according to a person familiar with the plans.

The company will release a beta and Web site dedicated to Silverlight, its cross-platform multibrowser plug-in for writing media-rich interactive Web applications.

Although it's trying to break new ground in software services, Microsoft is working from a well-worn playbook. Its overall goal is to build an "ecosystem" of partners and developers who can build applications that tap into the company's online services and software.

"We very much think of ourselves as a company rooted in building ecosystems as a core competency, and that's what we want to bring to the software-plus-services world," said John Richards, director of product management for Windows Live Platform.

Microsoft said it will also detail liberal usage terms for its Web properties, allowing outside companies to build mashup Web applications that generate as many as 1 million unique visitors per month for free.

The moves are part of an ongoing transition at Microsoft as it chases online rivals Google and Yahoo in Web advertising businesses and seeks to move onto the turf of Adobe Systems, which is entrenched among media editors and graphics professionals.

Have at our APIs
With its updated business terms, Microsoft is trying to encourage Web entrepreneurs and developers to ally with its hosted services, such as Virtual Earth and Live search.

An application can have up to 1 million unique users per month without having to pay Microsoft. Beyond that, Microsoft will charge 25 cents per user per year.

These generous terms, which are explicitly allowed for commercial use, are meant to drive traffic to Microsoft sites and feed the company's online ad revenue--an area where it lags far behind Google.

Ray Ozzie Ray Ozzie

If third-party companies that build mashups with Microsoft Web sites exceed 1 million unique users per month, Microsoft will look to provide advertising to that site, said George Moore, general manager of platform strategy for Microsoft Windows Live.

"Microsoft is rapidly trying to build up their advertising infrastructure and also give a way for companies to build commercial products with it," said Jupiter Research analyst David Card. "The twist here is you could pay or dive into their marketplace and let them sell ads for you and use the revenue sharing to pay for the technology licensing."

Microsoft will also open up access via APIs (application programming interfaces) to the online photos and contact lists of its Windows Live Spaces users if they give permission, Moore said.

The development of the Windows Live Platform is part of an ongoing effort, called Windows Live Core, spearheaded by Ozzie, executives said. The idea is to provide services to build applications that operate in the Internet "cloud" and that can tap into distributed sources of information, according to the company's description.

Microsoft showed how its existing product groups are moving into Web services when last week it released an early version of BizTalk Services, hosted services for moving information between different applications.

CONTINUED: Courting the scripting crowd…
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24 comments

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In other words do what Google is doing
Microsoft made a lucrative business out of copying and stealing other people's stuff.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
History lesson
Microsoft is working from a well-worn playbook. Its overall goal is to build an "ecosystem" of partners and developers who can build applications that tap into the company's online services and software.


So maybe Google is copying Microsoft? I think Microsoft has been using this strategy since way before Google was born.
Posted by J. Blow (193 comments )
Link Flag
The more things change
The Net should be about open standards. Once again, MS is trying
to lock in their offerings to the rest of their products. They may
make a few concessions for interoperability at Mix, but this is still
the same ol' Microsoft, despite Ray Ozzie's prescence attempting to
show it's different.

Stick with the open source stuff, Web 2.x developers!
Posted by ppgreat (1128 comments )
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MS
You can find this so-called "stealing" in any business. Perhaps, "adopting ideas" would be a better term ... There's not really much difference between Google and MS really - at the end of the day all what matters is if the company makes the money or not! They may differ in the ways that this goal is achieved yet the substance is still the same. Both MS and google make good products but this is all it is - just products or stuff.
Posted by Serg_1 (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Since....
... "There's not really much difference between Google and MS really..."; then how much difference is there between -- MS, GOOGLE and IBM (the Dancing Elephant)!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
error
Saying that PHP and C# run on a client side is an error! Clearly, the author has a poor grasp on the web both in business and technological terms. CNET, don't you check your material before putting it on the site?
Cheers
Posted by Serg_1 (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
error
Saying that PHP and C# run on a client side is an error! Clearly, the author has a poor grasp on the web both in business and technological terms. CNET, don't you check your material before putting it on the site?
Cheers
Posted by Serg_1 (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
My prediction is, the world will reject this as with other MS on-line...
My prediction is, the world will reject this as it has with other MS on-line services.

I'm somewhat embarrassed that in the US here, supposedly an advanced society, we cling to legacy Microsoft technologies while the rest of the world advances in leaps and bounds ahead of us. As an IT professional I do my part delivering quality solutions that best fit the need. Inferior MS products and technologies are only used when my hands are tied because some other vendor uses non-standard MS technologies and I have to tie in to it. But I don't do so sliently. Do your part, pick just one MS product in your life and upgrade. Firefox instead of Insecure Exposer; Thunderbird instead of LookOut; etc. Stuck with "It doesn't work with..."? Than call that vendor and demand they fix it, don't just use a MS product because it is the short-term easy way out. Otherwise you are part of the problem, not the solution.
Posted by Microsoft_Facts (109 comments )
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I disagree
Your premise is wrong. 95% of the world uses MS products. So just what is the standard? Who is supposed to work with whom? I, too, am a IT professional, my litmus test about what products can be install on my net is, "does it work with MS?" This is not because I have a wierd fixation for MS, it is simply because in order to do business with the rest of the world it has to be MS compatable. Plain and simple. The alternatives that you have listed are fine, for home use. I can't imagine how busy I'd be if I implemented those alternatives in the office. The thing is, I KNOW, that MS will be here 10 yrs. from now. Everyone knows how to use Outlook, Word, Excel(to a point), IE and ect. All I have to do is keep them safe while they do it. Its not a big chore if you do it right. :-)
Posted by suyts (824 comments )
Link Flag
You couldn't be more wrong.
Microsoft is a criminal entity. I won't even waste bytes elaborating, from the tone of your comment I don't think you could fathom the differences between Microsoft and any respectable IT company.
Posted by Microsoft_Facts (109 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ooops, last comment was meant as a reply to Serg_1 re: idols?
D'Oh!
Posted by Microsoft_Facts (109 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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