Is Microsoft putting Windows 7 on a diet?

Summary:As part of Microsoft's mission to insure that Windows 7 and Windows Live Wave 3 are joined at the hip, Microsoft is exorcising features that used to be part of Windows from the operating system

Until I had a chance to look at some new screen shots on LiveSide.Net of Windows Live MovieMaker -- yet another of the Windows Live Wave 3 services going to beta real soon now -- I hadn't really put two and two together.

The lightbulb that just went off: As part of Microsoft's mission to insure that Windows 7 and Windows Live Wave 3 are joined at the hip, Microsoft is exorcising features that used to be part of Windows from the operating system.

I had a similar, half-formed idea about this earlier this year, when I wrote "Windows 7 might go to pieces." But now it's crystalizing further....

Think this through: Microsoft has been hit with lawsuits (and threatened with additional new lawsuits) over its propensity to add formerly unbundled features to Windows. When I heard about its plans to tightly integrate Windows Live and Windows 7, I immediately thought that the company was opening itself up, yet again, to more potential antitrust actions.

But what Microsoft seems to be doing, instead, is continuing to gradually remove certain features -- like MovieMaker (which one codename tipster reminded me last week has been going internally by the name "Sundance"), Mail, Photo Gallery, Messenger, etc. -- from Windows and making them optional add-on services. (MovieMaker, for example, was cut from Windows Vista around the time of the Longhorn reset.)

Yes, these Wave 3 Windows Live services still have a software component (as required as part of Microsoft's Software + Service strategy). But to get that component, you are going to have to download the software onto your Windows machine -- or at least agree to install it if it's already preloaded somewhere on a new system.

Could Microsoft have found a way to secure one of the flanks that its opponents have used to keep the company in check in recent years, specifically, the threat of antitrust suits if and when the Redmondians decide to bundle any new bits with the Windows OS? Can you envision other formerly bundled pieces of Windows that Microsoft could and should turn into Live Services?

Update: In a September 6 posting to the Engineering Windows 7 blog, Windows chief developer Steven Sinofsky made a couple of related points. He said Microsoft is not going to introduce a role-based deployment model (a la Windows Server) with Windows 7. He also said Microsoft is going to continue to distribute the full set of Windows components as part of Windows 7, though he seemed to imply that some of these components will be on the Windows 7 disc and not configured by default. (I think that's what he was saying; I got lost about half-way through his 3,300+-word post.) I found it interesting Sinofsky -- who also heads Windows Live engineering -- didn't mention Windows Live at all, as it pertains to Windows 7....

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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