It's impossible to know for sure, given Microsoft is continuing to decline to comment, but it's looking like Windows Live Wave 4 -- like Internet Explorer 9 -- isn't going to support Windows XP.
According to a new blog post on LiveSide.Net, internal milestone test builds of Windows Live Wave 4 only work on Windows Vista with Service Pack (SP) 2 installed and higher. The same is true of IE 9, Microsoft officials conceded earlier this month; both the first developer preview and the final release of IE9 require a minimum of Vista with SP2.
Windows Live Wave 4 is the collection of services including Windows Live Mail, Messenger instant-messaging, Writer blogging tool, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and other optional software/service add-ons designed to supplement Windows. A subset of these services is bundled together and available via a single installer (Windows Live Essentials).
Microsoft has been internally testing Wave 4 for a while now, and there have been several leaked versions available over the Web in recent months. According to a recent roadmap leak -- which has since been removed from Windows Live, as has the leaker's site (but was grabbed and saved by Neowin.Net) -- the public beta of Wave 4 is coming in June. The release to the Web of the final version of Windows Live Wave 4 is slated for August, according to that roadmap.
Last year, some of us Microsoft watchers were expecting the Softies to release Wave 4 around the same time as the company made Windows 7 commercially available (October 2009). Even though Microsoft released Wave 3 in early 2009, the original plan for Windows Live seemed to be to make regularly updated releases available more rapidly to consumers, but so far that hasn't been the case.
Wave 4 is expected to include the rebranded Live Mesh synchronization service, and will be the first release to include Office Live services (like the consumer version of Office Web Apps). It also is expected to include a new "Bing bar" and a Windows Live Companion service for shared browsing.
This is all Microsoft is saying about Wave 4 for now. A spokesperson sent me the following all-purpose statement via e-mail:
"We continue to actively work on the next release of Windows Live and think customers will be excited by the changes. The final versions will be released when they are ready for our customers worldwide. We have no specifics to share on the release date or final product at this time."
If Microsoft does proceed as expected as makes Windows Live Wave 4 available for Vista SP2 and higher, the move will be shrugged off by some (it's a nine-year-old operating system on its way out), and villified by others (they're still selling XP -- so they should still support it!). What's your take? Should Microsoft make Wave 4 available for XP and above? Will dropping XP support for Windows Live Wave 4 hurt the Redmondians more than help them?