March 14, 2006 4:00 AM PST
Windows Live offers Microsoft a quicker turnaround
- Related Stories
Microsoft eyes ads as consumers close walletsNovember 16, 2005
Microsoft eyes making desktop apps freeNovember 14, 2005
Microsoft's ad pitch underpins Net movesNovember 11, 2005
Gates memo warns of 'disruptive' changesNovember 8, 2005
Gates: We're entering 'live era' of softwareNovember 1, 2005
(continued from previous page)
Microsoft has even talked about using advertising as a way to pay for traditional desktop software, particularly consumer titles. However, the company said that while it has kicked around the idea during internal brainstorming sessions, no decisions have been made to offer online versions of existing desktop products.
Meanwhile, the list of Windows Live services continues to expand, reaching beyond MSN's traditional domain.
"They've got e-mail in there, they have Messenger in there," said Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li. "They will have classifieds. They will have local mapping. It's all the basic portal services."
In many cases, the Windows Live tools are also neatly aligned against competitive products from rivals like Google and Yahoo.
However, as she noted at the initial Windows Live launch, some of the Windows Live tools remain oriented more toward computer enthusiasts than to the masses. Windows Live relies heavily on the latest Web technologies, such as RSS feeds.
"I still think it's very geeky," Li said.
She pointed to the Live.com page, which lets users bring together Web feeds and Internet gadgets, provided they can figure out how. "It's only a small number of people who know what to do with it," Li said.
But, Li said Microsoft could give Windows Live a boost by allowing users to easily share their creations with like-minded folks. For example, if she puts together a page for "working moms" others could just adapt her creation.
The groundwork for such an approach, she said, can be seen in the new Windows Live Search, in which queries are seen as things that can be saved and shared, rather than just entered once and forgotten.
"It's the social nature of Live.com that I find so fascinating, or the potential of that," Li said.
Li said it is a recognition that for many people, borrowing other's work is a better option than creating something for themselves.
"You can personalize lots of things but most people don't want to," Li said. "You lower the barriers to that by sharing."
45 commentsJoin the conversation! Add your comment