Microsoft to merge Windows Live and Office Live

Microsoft is merging its Windows Live and Office live properties as part of its next "Wave 4" release, according to sources claiming familiarity with Microsoft's plans. The news came to light internally today as part of Microsoft's January 22 layoff/reorg/earnings news.

One of the bits of news buried amid the Microsoft earnings and layoffs news is an organizational change involving Windows Live and Office Live.

Microsoft is merging its Windows Live and Office live properties as part of its next "Wave 4" release, according to sources claiming familiarity with Microsoft's plans.

The combination of the Windows Live and Office Live teams/offerings is slated to be timed to happen around the time Office 14 ships (which I've been hearing is either end of this year or early next). Last I heard, Wave 4 of Windows Live was expected to hit around the time Windows 7 shipped, which is seeming like Q3 of this year.

Word is that Rajesh Jha, the Corporate VP who currently heads up Office Live (and, more recently, Exchange Server) development could be moved into the Windows Live organization as part of the move.

Office Live is a group of consumer- and small-business-focused services that are designed as adjuncts to Office. Products that currently fit under the “Office Live” label include Office Live Workspace, Office Live Small Business and Office Live Groove. Windows Live is a set of consumer-focused software and services that provide mail, instant messaging, blogging and various social-networking functionality.

I asked Microsoft to verify this Windows Live-Office Live merger information. So far, no word back.

Update: Here's the official rsponse from a Microsoft spokesperson confirming the move:

"To simplify and improve the customer experience around its Live services, Microsoft made the decision to converge Windows Live and Office Live into an integrated set of services at one single destination. Additionally, Rajesh will not be leaving the Microsoft Business Division.  There are no changes to the org structure. Rajesh's title remains corporate VP, Microsoft Office Live and Exchange."

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