Microsoft memo: Windows 7 and Windows Live to be even more tightly joined at the hip

Microsoft memo: Windows 7 and Windows Live to be even more tightly joined at the hip

Summary: The "plus" in Microsoft's Software+Services strategy is going to get a lot more oomph in the not-too-distant future -- at least according to a planning memo for Windows Live Wave 3 that I had a chance to see recently.

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The "plus" in Microsoft's Software+Services strategy is going to get a lot more oomph in the not-too-distant future -- at least according to a planning memo for Windows Live Wave 3 that I had a chance to see recently.

The memo -- authored by Chris Jones, Corporate Vice President of Windows Live Experience, David Treadwell, Corporate Vice President of Live Platform Services, and Brian Arbogast, Corporate Vice President of Mobile Services -- dates back to the summer of 2007. But it's all about the future of Windows Live -- and how Microsoft's family of Windows-complementary services are going to get a lot more cozy with Windows and Internet Explorer.

Recent leaks regarding Microsoft's next-generation Windows 7 release have all mentioned that the next version of Microsoft's client operating system will be more tightly tied with Windows Live. The degree to which the two will be joined at the hip will become clearer, as Microsoft marches towards delivering Windows 7 in late 2009 or 2010 and Windows Live "Wave 3" at the very end of 2008.

Even though the Windows and Windows Live engineering teams both report to Senior Vice President Steven Sinofsky, the two product families have had relatively integration and cross-pollination to date. But with the next releases of these products, a lot is going to change.

Some choice excerpts from the memo:

"We will invest to deliver a seamless experience for customers who own a Windows PC. We have a unique opportunity to remove the seams between Windows, our applications, and our services. Windows Live Wave 3 will be designed so it feels like a natural extension of the Windows experience.

"While we will target a seamless experience on Windows Vista, we will make a bet on the Windows 7 platform and experience, and create the best experience when connected with Windows 7. We will work with the Windows 7 team and be a first and best developer of solutions on the Windows 7 platform. Our experiences will be designed so when they are connected to Windows 7 they seamlessly extend the Windows experience, and we will work to follow the Windows 7 style guidelines for applications."

And more from the memo:

"Windows Live Wave 3 will be designed so it feels like a natural extension of the Windows experience. … We will 'light up' the Windows experience with Windows Live. … What’s the relationship between a Windows account and a Windows Live ID (Microsoft's Web-authentication technology)? Should we have a LiveID connected to account settings?"

The bottom line, according to the planning memo: "Windows Live will have value for every Windows customer. If you have an email account and use the Internet, Windows Live will make your experience better."

It sounds like Microsoft's current strategy of making Windows Live Photo Gallery an extension to Windows Vista is a very tiny tip of the iceberg. One of Microsoft's main challenges will be to avoid being torpedoed by new antitrust lawsuits by its competitors and the European Union as it pushes to get the two product families in sync.

What kinds of Windows+Windows Live scenarios do you hope -- and fear -- Microsoft will deliver,going forward?

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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177 comments
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  • Bundling

    Standard predatory monopoly technique. Help us EU, help us!
    dfolk
    • There is nothing illegal about bundling.

      Microsoft where not found guilty, by the EU, of bundling Media Player with windows, and they were not requried to stop bundling it either.

      What there were guilty of was *compulsory* bundling. The corrective action was to offer Windows N, which provides a choice to users of whether they want WMP or not.

      The bundled product also has to have its own distinct market, and the bundling action has to have caused damage. I'm not sure what market "Windows Live" falls into. "Online Personal Presence", perhaps?

      The current Windows Live offering is not bundled with Windows anyway. The various desktop apps need to be downloaded, and the rest of it resides on servers somewhere at Microsoft. It's your choice if you use it, and I'd like to read an explanation of how it has damaged competition, give the huge popularity of Facebook, Google et al.

      Of course, if they do tie Window Live deeply into every version of Windows 7, they deserve all the investigations that will surely follow.
      TheTruthisOutThere1
      • It is actually referred to as "tying"

        You are correct, windows live is not currently "tied" to the monopoly product, Windows. Ms. Foley's article seemed to infer that may change with the next version of windows.

        US anti trust law prohibits "tying" additional products to monopoly products. EU law is apparently a bit different, but the EU is our only hope for protection from MS's continuing monopoly abuse at this moment in time. Hopefully the next president and congress will have greater interest in restoring competition to the software industry. They could encourage the justice department to take actions to help create an environment in which companies other than MS can bring innovations into the market while curtailing MS's use of its boundless power to attempt kill such innovations off. I kind of doubt it though: MS appears to have a handle on manipulating power politics in the US- they bribe- I mean, offer "campaign contribution's" to those in power.

        Quoting Judge Jackson, who described MS's role in the software industry quite succinctly:
        "Most harmful of all is the message that Microsoft's actions have conveyed to every enterprise with the potential to innovate in the computer industry. Through its conduct toward Netscape, IBM, Compaq, Intel, and others, Microsoft has demonstrated that it will use its prodigious market power and immense profits to harm any firm that insists on pursuing initiatives that could intensify competition against one of Microsoft's core products. Microsoft's past success in hurting such companies and stifling innovation deters investment in technologies and businesses that exhibit the potential to threaten Microsoft. The ultimate result is that some innovations that would truly benefit consumers never occur for the sole reason that they do not coincide with Microsoft's self-interest."
        dfolk
        • There are 'hooks' in Win 7 to allow other top companies...

          to be able to develop apps. that work with Windows features. Hardly call that abusive if they're allowing practically anyone to build stuff to work with the hooks.

          http://www.liveside.net/blogs/main/archive/2008/01/23/anonymous-msbob-reveals-more-on-windows-7-and-windows-live-long-zheng.aspx
          quikboy
          • It depends

            In the past Microsoft has provided hooks for external programs and deliberately detuned performance through those hooks will reserving for itself "undocumented hooks" that were tuned to perform better. Additionally, Microsoft has a history of publishing the documentation on a set of hooks then changing those hooks without warning nor documentation. It's one the practices that Microsoft has been sued over repeatedly almost as much as their outright theft of software for which they weren't licensed. The fact is that anytime Microsoft does anything that ties one of their products to their monopoly product it's suspect because of their past performance.
            maldain
          • I'll add...

            Part of Microsoft's defense against tying last time was stating that IE and other tied apps were OS components that Windows couldn't function without...

            Which is only true because of how the OS was designed in the first place. Microsoft literally re-designed Windows so they could continue to tie and defend against the inevitable anti-trust lawsuit. They planned to use tying long before they followed through.

            One of the things their partial victory in the U.S. courts means is this; they can continue their tying practices (at least in the US) as long as they are willing to give customers the option to "hide" the components they are tying.

            Make no mistake, they'll keep going down that road too.
            deuce63
          • As Bill Gates once said............

            "There won't be anything we won't say to
            people to try and convince
            them that our way is the way to go."
            Ole Man
        • Hardly

          Since nothing is forced on the user and its all open to other apps and other online services it's hardly abusive. More like a compelling push into the future. Just like file and printer sharing; just because something highly disruptive doesn't make it evil or illegal.

          Besides the EU is not protecting its consumers. It's not trying to create an "open market". It's using local law to give EU IT companies better positioning in a way that get's around open markets and trade.
          crypt2121
        • Message has been deleted.

          evilkillerwhale
          • Famous last words of a fanboy

            Oh my god, he screams, you are robbing me of my MS world!

            "Windows would be much more powerful and useful. Instead, it's crippled, and yet, is STILL more powerful and useful than either of the two major alternatives."

            ROFL Linux can read all info on my Windows partition, I can use office programs, anything I like. And it won't crash while I'm doing it. Servers? Linux has been grabbing business from MS left right and center because of superior stability and flexibility. Linux is more powerful, period.

            "You know why? Because Microsoft isn't making it's customers deal with making their OS work for every program like Linux..."

            Guess you haven't read about all the problems with Vista, eh?

            "nor are they making it so you'd have to buy someone else's product to use your everyday tools. They make it quick and easy to get all of the stuff you want."

            If you can't use your everyday tools, it's because you're a tool.

            Getting all the stuff you want? Under some distros of Linux, you probably don't even have to search the internet for it. They have an app that does that for you.

            "The EU is the biggest pile of BS in the history of piles of BS."

            Americans, Canadians and Aussies are all descendants of Europeans. Talk about self deprecation, sheesh.

            "Netscape: not as good as IE, and when IE gained share, Mozilla came to be, Firefox evolved, and now is gaining ground."

            ROFL, IE leaked memory when it first came out. It just looked slicker. Problems and general balking at IE started MS in the tying business.

            I won't even get into how misinformed the rest of the post is...
            deuce63
          • I love it!

            Tearing down straw stables (shelters for
            jack-a$$es), and telling it like it is.

            Keep up the good work.

            Cheers!
            Ole Man
    • Wait till the EU privacy group get wind and replies

      Just another way to make it easy to tie a user to their activity... And MS will say: "we're not tring to lock in the clients to their products, nor are we making life easy for the big-brother to watch everything you do, and in case you do mistakenly misspell nasdac.com and end up at a porn site, it's your own fault 'they' flagged you to their watch group."

      OFF SUBJECT RANT: Even our government tring to lock us into something underhandely. Just google: "Amero" and ask yourself "why haven't I heard about this until now?"... "Who's running the media" ... "Who's running my country?"

      Related Quote: "If the people only understood the rank injustice of our money and banking system, there would be a revolution before morning." - President Andrew Jackson 1836 in response to the renewal of the Central Banking System.
      PokeyJoe
    • Bundling

      OS X comes bundled with Mail, iChat and Safari. Most varieties come bundled with Open Office and Mozilla.

      What's the difference?
      bdthompson
  • Why can't they give us a clean OS.

    Rolling all of their ideas for apps into the OS is why we have their bloatware to begin with. It's a major reason for the lack of security Windows suffers from.

    Give us a clean efficient OS and then give us clean efficient apps to go with it.

    No wonder so many upper employees are jumping ship. MS is headed in the wrong direction!
    bjbrock
    • They'd be cheating their shareholders

      Remember that the sole function of any corporation is to make as much money for their shareholders as possible. The only legitimate function of customers is to supply the money.

      That is to say, your interests as an MS-customer are subordinate to those of MS-stockholders and only an anti-corporate whiner would want it any other way.
      John L. Ries
      • not the only function... but the only one most people pay attention to...

        really, there are a LOT of companies that aren't about just maximizing the money... oh, and really, if you compete on just price, you lose out in the long run, as someone will always find a way to make it cheaper...

        Short term profits often come at the cost of long term viability, and lots of other policies have long term benefits...

        listen to the customers, and you can keep them paying... after all, look at apple!
        shryko
        • I was being sarcastic, of course

          What I put is only a slight exaggeration of the sort of "pro-business" cant that comes across this board on a regular basis.
          John L. Ries
      • Less code and More $ should please the shareholders

        A cleaner OS and a bevy of like-minded apps should reduce the number of issues/vulnerabilities, thus increasing profits that would otherwise be 'squandered' on hotfixes and service packs. This would also please customers more and make them more likely to purchase these cleaner and less expensive software offerings. The majority of people I run into just want their browser, email and printer to work. Why do they keep making things that the majority of people out there don't want/need.
        ov1kenobi
        • Captive audience

          All sarcasm aside...

          The standing MS assumption has been that Windows users will remain Windows users for as long as their computers continue to work, which allows MS to leverage their dominant position to promote their other businesses and to encourage further user dependence on Windows. As long as there aren't massive defections (and so far there haven't been), that's probably a good assumption.

          So, given that the market is saturated, how many more copies of Windows do you think MS will sell if they provide a "clean" system?
          John L. Ries
          • That Would Be Zero,

            Since MS does not make systems, they produce software. And, very good software, I might add.
            eargasm