Windows Live Movie Maker Due Later This Year. Top Feature Request: Windows XP Support

Mike Torres, Lead Program Manager on Microsoft’s Movie Maker team, has kicked off a series of blog posts about the upcoming release of Windows Live Movie Maker, which is supposed to replace the eponymous desktop video editing software that has come pre-installed on Windows machines ever since Windows ME hit the market.

So far, the application has been in public beta, but many have criticized the inclusion of the program in Live Essentials in such a rudimentary state, claiming it should have been left out until it was ready.

Torres acknowledges as much:

“We also learned a lot by releasing an early beta of Movie Maker last year. People were surprised (or shocked, rather!) at the limited number of transitions, effects, and overall functionality in the program. We wanted to release the beta to start the conversation about the use of the ribbon and some of the overall changes to the software model, but in hindsight, the application just wasn’t useful enough for that. So, thanks for bearing with us as we’ve continued our work on Movie Maker.”

Windows 7, Microsoft’s next operating system, will not come with Movie Maker out of the box, so Microsoft wants to make Windows Live Movie Maker – official release due “later this year” – the primary tool for users who want to do some basic video editing. For that and other reasons, I thought it was pretty funny that one of the oft-requested features Torres cites in the blog post is support for Windows XP, the OS that pre-dates Vista.

Those users are out of luck, by the way, since Microsoft has decided not to add support for XP “given the technical requirements” (Windows XP lacks the new graphics driver model built into Vista and the upcoming Windows 7, as well as DirectX).

It’s one of Microsoft’s greatest tragedies: while they keep trying to better their products and adapt them to rapidly evolving technology in both hardware and software, they also need to factor in those tens of millions of users that are still using older systems and seem reluctant to upgrade to a new OS. The thing is: if Microsoft doesn’t innovate, it inevitably gets left (further) behind online, and when it does the company often alienates a large part of its customer base.

Or what you’d call finding yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place.