I had the chance today to speak to a chap called Angus Logan who is (it says here) senior technical product manager of the Windows Live Platform. If you’re a developer, then Logan is your man for Microsoft Live and Silverlight. For those of you that have missed the automatic upgrade of your hotmail account (I just can’t get used to that new view can you?) to the new Windows Live environment, then Windows Live is the collective brand name for a new group of Microsoft services.
These new consolidated online services (as well as some existing Microsoft offerings re-branded from MSN) are widely said to be Microsoft's answer to compete against fast-growing competitors such as Google. The majority of these services are web apps and this type of technology is thought by many to be the future of computing because the services and user data are available anywhere with web access, without installing an application.
Just to clarify then, if this still just sounds like MSN to you. Microsoft now quite firmly says that it is working with a dual portal strategy so that MSN will still exist but provide a pre-packed set of technology functionality that can be picked up and dropped at a moment’s notice. Essentially, with MSN the user is saying, “Do it for me.” While extending from this point, Windows Live has more extensive personalisation options and deeper alignment with the user’s own personal data and lifestyle information. Essentially, with Live, the user is saying, “I’ll do it myself.”
Logan’s second favourite subject (after Live) is Silverlight. This product is billed as being able to significantly reduce development and deployment costs as it provides enhanced web audio and video streaming and playback. Got all that? Good. How does it do it? It uses Windows Media Technologies of course – how could you not know that? Developers who want to work in this space (or at least look into it) would do well to visit http://dev.live.com/