Microsoft looks to 'Echoes' to grow its Windows Live mobile, TV services share

Microsoft is readying a new platform, code-named "Echoes," that it is hoping will get more telco carriers to offer their subscribers Windows Live and other forthcoming Microsoft services.

Microsoft is readying a new platform, code-named "Echoes," that it is hoping will get more telco carriers to offer their subscribers Windows Live and other forthcoming Microsoft services.

Microsoft's near-term goal with Echoes is to make the scaling and expediting of its Windows Live mobile service deployments easier. The platform -- which got its start as an incubation under Israel Research's Corporate Vice President Moshe Lichtman -- is being spearheaded by Microsoft's Israeli Strategic Development Center.

Microsoft has done private tests of Echoes with various carriers, according to sources close to the company who asked not to be named. Microsoft is hoping to roll out Phase 1 of the Echoes service in July 2008, based on an alleged internal timetable I had a chance to see.

Phase 1 of Echoes will provide carriers with a variety of services, ranging from a common network address book, to SMS in/out messaging, simultaneous ringing, click-to-call, single-sign on and more. The word is Echoes Phase 1 will be shipped with Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger 9.0 beta clients until Microsoft releases the final Windows Live Messenger Wave 3 release in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Over time, Echoes has implications for more than just Windows Live. Microsoft is looking at the platform as something it could use to seed its "Project Pink" services, Windows Live OneCare security service, MSTV and various converged entertainment solutions among more carriers, sources said. ("Pink," according to my sources, is Microsoft's forthcoming set of consumer-focused "premium mobile services," which include the Danger services Microsoft acquired earlier this year. Roz Ho is the Corprorate Vice President overseeing Pink.)

On the advertising side of Microsoft's business, Echoes also could be a key component of  Microsoft's evolvling mobile-ad-delivery platform, sources said.

I asked Microsoft for comment on the significance, positioning and timing of Echoes. No word back so far.

Anyone out there using Windows Live services on their mobile phones? What's your impression?