In January, I mentioned an internal Microsoft memo I had seen which provided details of how Microsoft plans to more tightly integrate its Windows 7 operating system with Windows Live services. Today, I'm providing the text of that memo in full, as part of the launch of my book Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post-Gates Era.
The memo -- an internal planning document for what Microsoft calls "Windows Live Wave 3" -- dates back to August 2007. In it, 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 share their vision for how Windows Live will evolve to be more tightly linked with Windows, Internet Explorer, Office, MSN and Live Search.
The memo outlines some of the possible ties between Windows 7 (which Microsoft has said is due in 2010) and Windows Live Wave 3 services (upgrades of Windows Live Hotmail, Messenger, Writer, Family Safety, etc., due to be rolled out late this year, if the team stays on schedule). These integration points are the potentially most fertile -- and controversial -- part of the Windows Live team's vision. As the authors explain:
"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. We will work with the Internet Explorer 8 team to make sure we deliver an experience that seamlessly extends the browser with our toolbar and other offerings."
"We have an opportunity to make it much easier for customers to 'get started' with Windows Live. Our goal should be to have customers log in, type their Live ID, and then they are automatically 'set up' with Live. For new machines, we want Windows Live to come with the experience and will consider investments to make this experience easy. For customers who are upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7, we will explore ways to make it easy for them to get Windows Live – particularly for photos, calendar, and movies where our applications complete the experience."
The memo authors wondered aloud:
"What is better with Windows 7? What experiences or scenarios are Win7 only? How do we take advantage of or lay the foundation to take advantage of some of the hardware innovations already available or planned for Windows 7?"
How Office 14 (due in 2009 or so) will play with Windows Live is a topic the Windows Live team is mulling, too:
"Many customers will use Office and Office 14, and we will work to connect these customers to our experience. What happens when a customer sets up Windows Live and uses Office? It should be easy to use Windows Live Messenger and our communication services with the Outlook client. It should be easy to publish from Office applications to Live Folders."
Given that it was written last year, the memo doesn't call out by name Live Mesh, Microsoft's platform and service for collaboration and synchronization introduced last week. Microsoft officials said last week they'd share more specifics about how Live Mesh will mesh with Windows Live at the Professional Developers Conference in October. But the mission statement layed out by Jones, Treadwell and Arbogast hinted at it:
"Our mission is to deliver the essential suite of software and services for individuals around the world, designed to help them stay connected (browse, create, manage, and share with the people they choose, on any device) and protected (provide safety and security for their information, their families, and their devices), built on the leading platform for developers, merchants, and advertisers."
As the memo authors themselves noted, the features and functionality for the next versions of Windows Live services are still not cast in stone. And that's not because of any potential impact from Yahoo; any kind of integration between Yahoo and Microsoft services won't even start for a year or more -- when and if Microsoft ever ends up acquiring its hostile-takeover target.
But if there were any remaining illusions that there is a Chinese Wall (or three) separating the Windows, Office and Windows Live units, those should be thrown out the window.
What's your take on Microsoft's Windows 7-Windows Live integration plans?