Windows Live: Fill in the Seams

By Reuters -  |  Posted 2008-11-13 Print this article Print

Microsoft aims to position Windows Live with its widely-used e-mail and messaging services as the hub for a growing number of Internet applications and incorporate new features similar to those found on popular social networks.


In this third major release of Microsoft's Windows Live services, Microsoft said it aims to fill in the seams between its different Web services to create a unified experience.

Brian Hall, general manager of Windows Live, pointed to Microsoft's Outlook application, which brought together e-mail, calendar and contacts programs into a single integrated software suite, as a model for how it wanted to tie together a loose network of Web services.

He also noted that the latest Windows Live release is focused on creating a more polished user experience, which, in the past, may have been sacrificed in order to get new programs out quicker.

Other new services include an online movie maker program, a "groups" service that allows a group of users to create a joint calendar, share photos and documents or chat together online. Microsoft also plans to increase the size of its free storage service to 25 gigabytes from 20 GB.

Microsoft boasts more than 460 million Windows Live users and analysts said the goal for the company is to keep that audience in front of the company's websites for as long as possible and to prevent defection to other Web destinations.

"I don't think Microsoft is going to steal a whole lot of eyeballs from Facebook or MySpace," said David Card, research director at Forrester.

Facebook has 120 million active users and many of those rely on its mail and chat applications to communicate with friends instead of traditional e-mail and messaging services offered by Microsoft and Yahoo.

Microsoft and Facebook are pursuing the same strategy, according to analysts, albeit from different sides and areas of strengths. Last year, Microsoft paid $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in privately-held Facebook.

(Editing by Ian Geoghegan)


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