Monday, October 31, 2005

Microsoft Outlines Windows Live and Office Live Web Services

Microsoft previewed two new Internet-based software initiatives --"Windows Live" and "Microsoft Office Live " -- that will use technologies such as RSS and Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) to deliver personalized services online.

Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect, and Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief technical officer, demonstrated these offerings, along with Xbox Live, saying online services represent a powerful way of enabling customers to more quickly access and benefit from software innovation.

"These new offerings demonstrate how software is evolving through the power of services in ways that enable more dynamic and relevant experiences for people," Bill Gates said. "Our goal is to make Windows, Office and Xbox further come alive for our customers at work, home and play."

Windows Live

Windows Live is a set of personal Internet services and software designed to bring together in one place all of the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with more safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web.

Windows Live beta services:

  • serves as the personalized starting point or portal for Windows Live services.

  • Windows Live Mail is a new, global Web e-mail service. Existing MSN Hotmail users will be able to seamlessly upgrade to the new service. Windows Live Messenger is the next-generation MSN Messenger and will provide instant messaging, file and photo sharing, PC-based calling, and more. Calls to landline and mobile phones will be handled through Microsoft partners. It will also support live, full-screen (640x480) video, with fully synchronized audio. Windows Live Messenger will enter the beta stage later this year.

  • Windows Live Safety Center is a Web site where users can scan for
    and remove viruses from their PC on demand.

  • Windows OneCare Live is a previously announced PC health subscription that helps protect and maintain PCs via an integrated service that includes anti-virus, firewall, PC maintenance, and data
    backup and restore capability.

  • Windows Live Favorites is a service that enables individuals to
    access their Microsoft Internet Explorer and MSN Explorer favorites
    from any PC that's online.

Windows Live will be offered alongside and will primarily be delivered free to users and supported by advertising, but subscription and transaction-based services also will be available. Users will be able to run Windows with or without the Windows Live services.

Microsoft Office Live

Office Live, which is built using Windows SharePoint Services technology, will provide a set of Internet-based collaboration services aimed at the approximately 28 million small businesses worldwide that have fewer than 10 employees. These services can be used independently but also integrate with Microsoft Office programs.

There are multiple Office Live offerings. Office Live Basics helps a small business establish an online Internet presence including a domain name, a Web site with 30 MB of storage and five Web e-mail accounts at no charge through an advertising-supported model.

Office Live also provides a set of subscription-based services with more than 20 business applications to help automate daily business tasks such as project management, sales and collateral management, customer management, expense reports, time and billing management, and secure internal and external collaboration.

Microsoft is making its new live services available to developers to customize, extend and remix. These new services build upon and extend Microsoft's existing developer platform, tools and ecosystem. Windows Live and Office Live will work with Windows through publicly available application programming interfaces (APIs), available for use by the developer and partner community.
  • MSN currently claims 215 million active MSN Hotmail accounts; more than 185 million MSN Messenger contacts worldwide; and over 25 million MSN Spaces created by individuals to share their photos, and blogs.

See also