Microsoft's Move to Internet Services
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
At the start of this month, Microsoft outlined its software-based services strategy, based on two new Internet-based services: Windows Live and Office Live.
The services announced are mostly designed to enhance Microsoft's existing Windows and Office products, and are aimed at both consumers and small business users.
"Our dream is to deliver a seamless experience where all the technology in your life and business comes together in a way that 'just works' for you," said Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief technical officer. "Seamless experiences put people and the things they want to accomplish at the center, with technology easily and transparently connecting them to the people, devices and information that matter most."
Microsoft demonstrated early versions of several new Windows Live offerings, some of which are accessible at http://ideas.live.com, a new Web site where people can try the latest Windows Live beta services such as:
- Windows Live Mail - a new, global Web e-mail service, built from the ground up to be faster, safer and simpler. Existing MSN® Hotmail® users will be able to seamlessly upgrade to the new service. You can sign up for the beta waiting list at http://ideas.live.com.
- Windows Live Messenger - a new instant messaging client that will support file and photo sharing, PC-based calling, and more. Windows Live Messenger will enter the beta stage later this year (most likely in December).
- Windows Live Safety Center - a Web site where users can scan for and remove viruses from their PC on demand. The service is currently available in beta.
- Windows OneCare Live - previously announced as MSN OneCare, a 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 - a service that enables individuals to access their Microsoft Internet Explorer and MSN Explorer favorites from any PC that's online. The service is currently in beta.
Windows Live will primarily be delivered free to users and supported by advertising, but subscription and transaction-based services also will be available. Because Windows Live is available separately from the Microsoft Windows product, users will be able to run Windows with or without the Windows Live services.
As can be clearly seen, most of these offerings come from the MSN unit at Microsoft (which has just recently been merged into the Windows unit) where these services were either in development or already released.
Microsoft Office Live
The initial Office Live offerings are targeted at small businesses worldwide that have fewer than 10 employees (approximately 28 million small businesses according to Microsoft).
The services offered by Office Live can be used independently but also integrate with Microsoft Office program, including Microsoft Outlook®, Microsoft Excel®, Microsoft Office Live Meeting and Microsoft Office Small Business Edition. Over time, the scope of Office Live services will expand.
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. Built on Windows SharePoint® Services, these applications can be customized and extended to specific customer needs by an extensive Microsoft partner ecosystem.
In contrast with the publicly available (beta) services of Windows Live, Office Live services initially will be released via an invitation-only beta in the U.S. in early 2006. Small-business customers can sign up at the Office Live Web site.
It's interesting to see how Microsoft is reacting to the "thread" from Google, Yahoo! and other online companies that are already offering similar services.
Microsoft has been late to enter this field, but a recent memo from Bill Gates makes it clear that they are aware of the "Sea Change" that is about to hit.
Recommended Web sites
Each month we will feature a few Web sites here, ones which sent us the most visitors to our Web site in the previous month. We would encourage you to visit these popular Web sites yourself!
Here are some sites in the Top 15 for October 2005:
- TweakTown Forums - Computer hardware discussion forum.
- InformationWeek - News and information resource for information technology professionals and business managers.
- Kellys Korner - Troubleshooting Windows XP pages by MVP Kelly Theriot.
The Top 15 sites are listed on our Web site.
Recent Support BBS Postings
Microsoft Color Control Panel Applet for Windows XP
The Microsoft Color Control Panel Applet adds a new 'Color' item to the Windows control panel, providing a single place to view and edit color management settings in Windows XP. Using it, you can install and uninstall color profiles, change color profile associations for displays, printers and scanners, view detailed properties for color profiles (including a 3D rendering of the color space gamut), and rename color profiles, keeping the filenames and "internal" names consistent.
Supported Operating System: Windows XP Service Pack 2
Requires .NET Framework 1.1
Download [ENG - 1.43 MB]
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