In June Microsoft said that they would soon be aggregating the Windows Live services into a single downloadable installer to give users an easy way to access the suite of services. Today the New York Times is reporting that Microsoft will release the Windows Live software suite sometime this week.
The applications that will be included in the installer include Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger 8.5 and Windows Live OneCare Family Safety. A full list of all Windows live services, many of which are browser based and not part of the installer, is here.
A Netscape-Level Event?
The NYT calls this a Netscape-level event, meaning it may be as significant as when Microsoft released the first version of Internet Explorer in 1995 and eventually brought Netscape to its knees. “The empire is preparing to strike back — again” writes John Markoff.
That seems like a bit of a stretch to me. The important new web services are all browser based, and Microsoft has no competitive advantage over offerings from Google, Yahoo, AOL and thousands of new web startups all trying to move users from away from the desktop. The browser is the future, and this offering doesn’t touch those purely web services. To win today, Microsoft must offer compelling services that appeal to users, not simply roll up a bunch of me-too services in new pretty packaging. Microsoft’s competitors will not, in my opinion, be scrambling to address this most recent volley from the Empire from Redmond.