Windows Live Services – It’s Still About Windows

Microsoft formally launched the second generation of its Windows Live Services yesterday.

From the blog posts and articles I’ve read about the launch (like the launch coverage at YNet for example) there seems to be a confusion regarding the purpose of these services. These posts constantly mainly mention the following points:

  • Microsoft’s Live Services are not pure Internet services like the ones provided by companies like Yahoo and Google as they require software installations the client machine
  • Microsoft is using its Windows OS to promote Live Services as it did before with previous “weak spots” it had like Internet Explorer etc.

Looking on Live Services from the perspective of pure internet services provided by companies who’s core business is internet services is wrong as these services serve another purpose on Microsoft strategy.

Note that the key message on WindowsLive.com is “Get a great, free upgrade to your Windows experience” and according to Brian Hall, general manager of the Windows Live business group, the core message of the Windows Live campaign is to promote “the value of Windows and Windows Live“.

Although the linkage between Windows and Live Services seems to be designed help the Windows Live initiative, the true purpose behind it is actually to help Windows. Using Windows Live, Microsoft allows consumers to upgrade windows with new capabilities like an instant messaging, email client (that can connect to any mailbox, not just Windows Live one), photo gallery management, blogging and more…

As Joe Wilcox accurately describes this approach on Microsoft Watch:

Microsoft sees Live as a way of extending Windows capabilities, particularly between operating system release cycles. It’s no coincidence that Microsoft senior vice president Steven Sinofsky is charged with Windows core development and Windows Live services. From Microsoft’s perspective, one is an extension of the other.

Antitrust issues limit Microsoft’s abilities to distribute and promote ancillary products such as Windows Live through its Windows product and that’s seems like the main (if not only) reason for Live Services to be a separate release…

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