Windows Live team confirms Win7 to replace applets with services

Windows Live team confirms Win7 to replace applets with services

Summary: A Windows Live official has confirmed that Windows 7's mail, photo-management and movie-maker subsystems are all being replaced by optionally installable Windows Live equivalents


Back in March, I heard Microsoft was going to replace some of the applications it traditionally has bundled with Windows subsystems  with Windows Live services in Windows 7.

No one on the Windows team would confirm my tip. But on September 22, the Windows Live team admitted -- not to me, but to's Ina Fried -- that this is, indeed, the plan.

Windows 7's mail, photo-management and movie-maker subsystems applets are all being replaced by optionally installable Windows Live equivalents. This is good news for users, as services are easier to update more frequently than software. It's also good news for Microsoft, a company that has come under increasing attack by antitrust regulators for bundling more and more previously discrete features into its operating system.

Microsoft Windows chief Steven Sinofsky recently poured cold water (in a long and complex post to the "Engineering Windows 7" blog) on the idea that Microsoft was moving to decouple any of the bundled features/functionality from Windows 7. But Windows Live General Manager Brian Hall was more direct and forthcoming. From's latest report:

"In a follow-up interview on Monday, Windows Vista general manager Brian Hall said Microsoft made the decision to remove the tools from Windows for several reasons, including a desire to issue new operating system releases more quickly than it has in the past. The move also removes the confusion of offering and supporting two different programs that perform essentially similar functions."

(Thanks to LiveSide for helping me connect the dots regarding the specifics as to  Microsoft planned to do to more tightly integrate Windows 7 and Windows Live.)

Any other Windows features and/or bundled applications you think Microsoft should turn into optionally-installable services?

Topics: Microsoft, CXO, Operating Systems, Software, Windows


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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  • Details and all that

    Mail is an interesting choice.

    Does this mean that MAPI is history, for instance? Or that MAPI now only works through Microsoft's mail system and not others?

    It's funny how functions that were until recently defended as being essential parts of the operating system are moving out again.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • It just means there's no MAPI handler by default

      MAPI still exists, and just like today you can install any MAPI-handling mail application. The only difference is that out-of-the-box, there will be no MAPI handler. Assumably if you try to send mail from an app, it will get/show some kind of error to that effect.
      • Will there be a standards based service available?

        Or will we see another decade of the same old jolly nonsense?
        • As long as it works with Windows no one really cares.

          • I dare say that people care

            ... if their only available e-mail address is one at
            Yagotta B. Kidding
          • What on gawds earth are

            you talking about?
        • That's a scary thought

          I don't believe that all standards are created equal. As much as I hate needlessly locked-down/off-the-wall/company branded standards, just because a committee vetted a standard...

          ..doesn't mean it's any good.

          Hopefully whatever core API/implementation they use will be robust.
  • RE: Windows Live team confirms Win7 to replace subsystems with services

    They aren't replace the rich client applications with web-
    based software. Windows Live Wave 3 is C++ client code. It
    will be a way for OEMs to install the old software without the
    restrictions of that the government currently places on them.
    It is the same is if Apple replaces iLife on Macs with the
    same exact software, but labeled MobileMe iLife. Same old
    code, different brand. There is very little code difference
    today between Windows Live Photo Gallery and the Photo
    Gallery in Windows Vista. That is all they are doing.
    • Correct. Use of the words "subsystem" and "services" is misleading

      You're right. I'm not sure under which definition of the word "subsystem" Mail, Photo Gallery, or Movie Maker could remotely qualify. And I'm not sure that downloadable applications count as "services" either. My take: replacing bundled apps with no service linkages, with downloadable aps with service linkages.
      • subsystems

        You're right: Subsystems is a bad word choice on my part. I will replace it in the post.

        As far as further clarification of which bundled apps get replaced, so far I have none, as the Windows 7 team is not talking about the product -- at least not to me -- beyond what is being said in the "Engineering 7" blog. MJ
        Mary Jo Foley
  • RE: Windows Live team confirms Win7 to replace subsystems with services

    "This is good news for users, as services are easier to update more frequently than software"

    filed bug reports in windows mail 17 months before vista shipped and they're still not fixed. they exist in wlm, too, even in the latest beta. let's see, that equates to about 40+ months. then the bonehead changes they made in the storage and contacts makes vista mail and wlm totally unusable for me. all they did was cater to the novice user and they're still doing it.

    none of the businesses i sell to want vista. i probably sold a hundred copies of xp, i have sold exactly zero copies of vista. they need to give partners something to sell instead of worrying about home users. every version of vista is "vista home edition".
    • Housewives and Students are major testers?

      I absolutely agree on the "home edition". When are they going to ask businesses what we need? I talked with MS project leaders and told them it needed some things changed for businesses to use their new stuff. I was told it's their way or no way.
      • Re: their way or no way

        When has it every been anything else with Microsoft?
        • What is it you dont like about this?

          What is bad for you on this?
  • What could also become optional?

    Internet Explorer, for one. I don't like that it is so
    'ingrained' into the system that everything uses it,
    sometimes even when I have specifically set it to NOT be
    the default browser and something like RealArcade's My
    Games shortcut automatically uses it.
  • I don't like the live suite/services.

    I don't like the Live Suite/services, I prefer programs already installed in my Vista. I would not upgrade to Win7.

    For what stupid reason the Live suite installs a new service called Windows Live Installer and it doesn't use a normal Windows Installer already present in Windows? Why the Live suite install useless components such as Sign-In assistant and Toolbar? Sing-In assistant is useless because in Vista we already have the Cardspace component does the same thing!
    Windows Live Suite is pure bloatware!

    Microsoft should update the programs already present in Vista via Windows Update, without forcing the users to install other stupid live products. Has Microsoft improved the Windows Mail program? Then, push it to me via Windows Update.
    • Ok, you don't get it...

      The live application replacements are the 'upgraded' versions for the applicaitons already included in the OS.

      The only distinction is these application specifically work with ONLINE services in addition to local content. (Hence the online connection)

      So being provided online makes more sense than them left static and only upgraded with OS upgrades/Service Packs, as new features and versions can be distributed in NON-OS upgrade/application cycles, moving them from the OS and the OS upgrade/release timeframes.

      As for the Live applications being 'bloated', this is a little misleading, as the replacement applications are barely any bigger than the original OS versions.

      Windows Live Messenger was already split from the OS with Vista, this is just the next step for these types of applications.
      • Your somewhat off as well

        These are not replacing the existing application in Vista. You can actually run them side-by-side, so in that respect you do have bloat. These new versions are not likely based on the same code base, so they are just that vew version of the orginal applications.

        I just wished they would give you the option to uninstall the orginal versions.
        • Whose computer is this anyway?

          I don't think I would want an online application managing my music and movies. Especially from a company who foisted DRM on its customers. "454 Files in the 'My Music' directory were illegal downloads: 454 Files deleted"
      • The way I understand it.

        This is my perspective on it. Maybe folks are confused about the fact they get to choose what they get on their new installs for Windows 7, unlike Vista. Vista by default installs most of the services that are in the new Live Suite, now with 7 they can choose after they install 7 to install or not. Clear for folks??