Microsoft's Windows Live finally starting to come into its own

Microsoft's Windows Live finally starting to come into its own

Summary: It has been more than two years since Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie first outlined officially Microsoft's "Live" strategy. But finally -- with the November 6 availability of the final version of a number of previously beta-only Windows Live services, Microsoft finally seems to be getting its Live house in order.

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It has been more than two years since Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie first outlined officially Microsoft's "Live" strategy. But finally -- with the November 6 availability of the final version of a number of previously beta-only Windows Live services, Microsoft finally seems to be getting its Live house in order.

Microsoft's Windows Live finally starting to come into its ownConcurrent with the delivery of the final builds of most of the remaining Wave 2 Windows Live services, Microsoft is launching a new ad campaign -- "Open Up Your Digital Life" -- that is designed to highlight how Windows Live services relate to Windows Vista. Microsoft is planning a full-on push for the new campaign on Facebook over the next three days, according to Windows Live General Manager Brian Hall.

Until recently, Microsoft has floundered badly when trying to explain exactly what Windows Live is and how Live services and Live software complement Windows. Last year, the Windows Live team was unveiling new services at a breakneck pace, but doing nothing to put them in context or explain when/how Microsoft planned to take them final.

Microsoft's Windows Live finally starting to come into its ownNow Microsoft is starting to talk about different groupings of Windows Live services and software. It is positioning the Windows Live Client Suite as what users should install on their home PCs. Home.live.com is the starting point for users who want to "anywhere access" to their Windows Live services. Mobile.Live.com is the home for Microsoft's growing family of Live services for mobile phones and PDAs. For those with smartphones, another option is a client-style suite of Live services for mobile devices (like what Nokia is providing now on certain Windows Mobile phone models).

In the new Windows Live world order, the Windows Live taxonomy looks something like this: Windows Live Client Suite (single installer and updater; client-based software with a services extension)

  • Windows Live Mail
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery
  • Windows Live Writer
  • Windows Live Messenger
  • Windows Live OneCare Family Safety
  • Windows Live Toolbar

Windows Live Web Suite (service only)

  • Live.com Home Page
  • Windows Live Hotmail
  • Windows Live Spaces
  • Windows Live Calendar (which Microsoft is in the midst of rolling out to beta testers this week)
  • Windows Live SkyDrive (a new beta version of which is rolling out starting this evening)
  • Windows Live Events (a component of the Live Spaces social-networking/blogging platform)

Microsoft still has quite a way to go to make its Windows Live story truly intuitive and understandable by non-Microsoft-watchers. But compared to where the company was even a year ago, the Live team has come a long way.

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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18 comments
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  • MS Announces Zune II

    Oh wait, I mean Windows Live. For a second I got it confused with Zune. Late to the market, ugly and a poor second to Google.

    That doesn't mean I think it will be a failure. MS can, by benefit of its market position, push it out as a "critical update" just like they did with that awful resource hog of a desktop search tool. Had to disable that pig in the services menu.

    I'm guessing most Windows users will get Live whether they want it or not.

    More floundering around as MS desperately tries to convince the world Windows can hang around with the cool kids.
    Chad_z
    • Yeah, thats what WordPerfect users said, (nt)

      .
      No_Ax_to_Grind
    • 30GB Zune for $90

      Zune may not be perfect but you can pick up a 30GB Zune for $90 (I paid $250 for mine). The 30GB will be upgradeable with the new firmware coming out mid-November.

      Hard to pass up the deal.
      DaveLG526
    • You are wrong.

      Windows Desktop Search for XP is a free download if you want it, but it has not been pushed out via Windows Update.

      You did not have to disable anything. You choose to install it, and you could have also simple chosen to uninstall it.

      [i]I'm guessing[/i]

      Yeah, your doing too much of that.
      TheTruthisOutThere@...
      • re You are wrong-- May be he wasn't wrong

        Only if you want to discount the 100,000's machines that use microsoft's WSUS server many of whom did have desktop search installed on machines that were specifically set with group policies not to use it.
        http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/10/25/1230223&from=rss
        rodrinn+technet@...
    • I want it

      Sorry mate, some of us want Windows Live. No need to buy you a Zune for Christmas then.
      Think you are cool mate, think again chaddy-zee...
      Blogsworth
  • RE: Microsoft's Windows Live finally starting to come into its own

    As far as performance all I can say is that the Live services/applications are slow. I have tried them on XP and VISTA machines and have also tried from DSL and Cable lines.

    I think Google does a better job as far as email goes.
    DaveLG526
    • Hmm

      Perhaps its your connection. Live Applications work fine here. Just as fast as Gmail.

      Although I do wish Microsoft would enable POP3 support though so I can access email via Outlook. I don't really want to download a hotmail helper. They really need to change that to compete with gmail
      Bozzer
      • Windows Live Mail Does Access POP3 Accounts ..

        I ditched Live Hotmail when I started BETA testing Windows Live Mail. It accesses my Hotmail account as well as my Embarq POP3 account with no problems.

        There is an update for Outlook that will allow you to access Hotmail accounts as well as POP3 accounts on the MS update website. Just make sure you are running a legal copy of Outlook, or you ain't gettin' it!

        I am also BETA testing Live Onecare V2, works great and has many nice features, and is MUCH faster than the other big name AV/ASW apps (you know who they are). It is in final BETA and due to release by Xmas.
        babyboomer57
  • RE: Microsoft's Windows Live finally starting to come into its own

    Mary Jo,
    I have been using Live Writer for 6 weeks to post to multiple blogs. I love how well it plays with others--since I'm using wordpress as a blogging/web platform.
    Clearly Microsoft is serious about a new kinder, gentler approach with some very useful s/w apps.
    Newt
    newtbarrett
  • So is Live Windows-Only?

    This may seem like a stupid question to Windows users (after 23 years of using a Mac, I'm used to it), but is Live basically a Windows-only service?

    I've used MSN/Live Spaces since spring 2005 for my personal blog. At first it seemed pretty Mac-friendly, but less and less so since early 2006. Of course, partly this is due to the lack of IE on the Mac.

    I keep assuming Microsoft's smarter than this, but I'm not so sure anymore. Personally, I can't think of a more stupid way to approach the web than to chain all your offerings to a desktop OS!
    grvaughan
    • Nope

      Many (if not most) Live services will have a web front end - making them accessible to everyone on the web. Many Live services will be optionally available through Windows client software (e.g. Windows Live Photo Gallery), providing a rich user experience. It is important to note that Live services are backend software which can be accessed by a range of front end software (web pages, PC client software, Mobile client software, etc.) Developers should therefore be able to write client software for a range of platforms (including the Mac, Linux, and mobile devices) and take advantage of them, and provide rich user experiences.
      P. Douglas
      • Yeah, but ...

        Yeah, but on Spaces there seems to be more and more stuff you can't do without Explorer. First it was just aesthetics, but last time I couldn't even access my old drafts!
        grvaughan
        • Try using Firefox

          The following was taken from [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Live_Spaces]Wikipedia[/url]:

          [i][b]Browser Issues[/b]

          Currently Spaces are best viewed with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Some users of the older versions of Mozilla Firefox, are finding the site completely unusable (it reports a "missing framework" error). Newer versions of Firefox, 2.0 and above, have no problems displaying the pages. Other users report that it occasionally displays pages incorrectly; a problem inherited from MSN Spaces. Recently, however, some of the Firefox errors seem to have been fixed, like the "missing framework" error and the inability to leave comments on others' spaces through Firefox. Users of the Mac OS X browser, Safari, are unable to change their space's theme.[/i]

          If you are not already doing so, maybe you should try working on your web site through Firefox.
          P. Douglas
          • Nah. IE7 is still better

            Sorry, but IE7 still is way more secure, has better RSS feeds, better tab options, and a ton of other better stuff. And that's not including the many add-ons you can install.

            I would have stuck with Firefox, if IE7 hadn't come.
            quikboy
          • The guy has a Mac

            Since IE is no longer available for the Mac, I suggested that he use Firefox which appears to be better than Safari.
            P. Douglas
  • RE: Microsoft's Windows Live finally starting to come into its own

    It is just another ploy by Microsoft to suck in more suckers. I have a friend that has sent me a few MS Live links, and you can't use them unless you join up with them so way or another. I have an MSN chat account, but that isn't good enough, and since I run Linux, not likely that I'll be switching back to anything Microsoft any time soon.
    For me, saying No to Microsoft has gotten quite easy.
    LonnieRM
  • RE: Microsoft's Windows Live finally starting to come into its own

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