Microsoft Competing With...New Windows Live Suite?

Dennis Faas's picture

Continuing its merry jaunt down the road towards global assimilation, on November 6, 2007 Microsoft officially launched its new Windows Live Suite.

More of an extension than an upgrade, the new version of Live attempts to combine all of the current-generation networking tools into one. For example, it includes a Flickr-like image sharing system (Windows Live Photo Gallery) and a Myspace-like networking system (Windows Live Spaces). Additionally, the new Live has extended security options for parents, and deeper integration with Windows Vista and other Microsoft applications.

This seems like a logical and useful step for the software giant, and one that will hopefully help streamline the online activities of its customer base. After all, current estimates put the number of active Windows Live IDs at 400 million, with a Windows install base of nearly 1 billion, so it's no surprise that the strategy is to keep 'splintering' to a minimum. (Source:

However, this creates a problem: Microsoft, a traditionally off-line software company, is now venturing even farther and farther into the world of web-only applications.

For example, the new version of Live Mail includes the ability to download an application directly to your desktop which can launch the online mail service (in addition to aggregating multiple email accounts). This suddenly makes it a direct competitor with Outlook. Of course, there will still be benefits to hard drive-based inboxes, but as the online integration signalled by Live becomes more and more deeply rooted, so too will the newer options become more tempting.

One of Microsoft's executives, Chris Jones, knows that the key to staying competitive is to create online applications which supplement, rather than replace, their traditional software.

"Most people connect to the Internet using a Windows PC," says Jones. "Most people use Internet Explorer. Many people use Office. We have lots of Hotmail users and lots of [instant messaging] users. If we just stitch it together and remove the seams, what an opportunity we have." (Source: Zdnet News)

What an opportunity indeed, given that greater integration will create more avenues for advertising. Add that to the fact that Microsoft sees the market for online advertising doubling in size in three years, and the new Windows Live isn't just an extension for users, but potentially huge advertising revenue booster.

Chant it with me now, "All your base are belong to [Microsoft]..."

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