“Microsoft introduced on Tuesday two new advertising-supported Web services, Windows Live and Office Live, as a direct response to the formidable challenges posed by its major competitors, Google and Yahoo,” John Markoff reports for The New York Times.
“The new online initiatives will deliver services to businesses and consumers directly via the Web, in many cases, without the need to download the applications to a computer. As such, they are an important step in extending Microsoft’s reach beyond the desktop PC to smart phones and other Internet-connected devices,” Markoff reports. “The strategic shift also represents an acknowledgment by the company, the world’s largest software publisher, that the Internet has once again changed the rules of business, forcing Microsoft to scramble to catch up.”
“Microsoft will have both free and paid offerings on Windows Live and Office Live, where basic services will be advertising-supported. The company will then try to entice or ‘upsell’ customers to purchase subscriptions for more advanced and feature-rich services,” Markoff reports. “‘They seem to think that the advertising can pay for this stuff,’ said Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director for JupiterResearch, a computer industry market research firm. ‘This is much more about an extension of Office and Windows and not a replacement.'”
“At Tuesday’s event, which was marred by several technical glitches, Microsoft announced the immediate availability of a test version of its new Internet portal live.com,” Markoff reports. “The company called the service a ‘personalized starting point’ for a variety of Web services like e-mail, instant messaging, and a new set of Internet-based software called gadgets. These are small Internet-based applications that provide mail, stock prices, weather forecasts and other simple functions.” Full article here.
CNET Video: At a press event in San Francisco, Chairman Bill Gates kicks off Microsoft’s ‘live software’ push. He details the upcoming ‘Windows Live’ and ‘Office Live’ products, a fusion of software and services that are delivered across the Internet. (Microsoft prohibited video recording of the product demonstrations.) Video of nothing much more than Bill Gates droning on during a PowerPoint presentation (4 minutes 48 seconds) here. Nial Kennedy has photos of the event viz Flickr here.
Paul Thurrott for WinInfo writes of Microsoft’s effort, “Few of these services are startling or original, and all of them seem to lean a bit heavily on the company’s core products. In many ways, Microsoft’s response to the threat of Google, Yahoo!, and other online entities is somewhat tepid. As with Netscape a decade earlier, Microsoft will simply leverage its dominant Windows and Office products to compete in markets that were innovated by others. In that instance, of course, Microsoft found itself in legal hot water that continues to this day. It remains to be seen how various regulatory bodies–let alone customers–around the world will view these new services.” Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft is dead.com. They must see that the Windows and Office cash cows are lost at pasture and aren’t coming back. Moo. To combine two famous catchphrases: Where’s the cowbell?
Deep within the bowels of Redmond headquarters, Microsoft must pronounce it “liv,” rhymes with “give” as in “remain alive,” not “līv,” rhymes with “five.” You just know they’re pleading, “Please, Windows and Office live, damn it, live!”
Would you trust one byte of your personal information on a Microsoft online service? In the case of “who do you trust?” – trust us, for most people, the last company on earth would be Microsoft. They can’t even secure Windows after years and years of trying from attacks via the Web. Now they’re gong to try to make parts of it Web-based with a warmed over Hailstorm plus MSN mishmash? Sloth from The Goonies springs immediately to mind. Why don’t we all just save Microsoft the trouble of building this mess (they can’t even get a demo of it to work) and mail signed blank checks around at random? What a joke. Presumably, Mac users would be able to access some of these Web services – we like to think of the thing as .Mac’s “special” cousin – but, realistically, Microsoft definitely won’t have to worry about supporting Safari.
Markoff writes of Microsoft’s media event as being “marred by several technical glitches.” Some comments from Scripting News about Microsoft’s demo: The net went down halfway through the presentation, just as they were getting to the demo, which was a total wipeout, biggest failure I’ve seen in almost 30 years in the biz. I think there’s a pretty good chance they cut off our net access so we couldn’t write about it real-time, if so, it was a brilliant move, but an act of desperation. An hour into it they finally start the demo. The screen is blank, the guy is talking. It’s live.com. The demo didn’t work. A total demo disaster. More here. Mini-Microsoft writes, “holy freakin’ crap on a keyboard, what does it take for this company to actually do a demo right the first time!?! I guess the next funny BillG video can use our constant demo blunders as a backstory (“Quick, Bill! Stall! Improvise!”). That or just have a bulk neuralizer always on standby. In the meantime: I’m sure we had talented, well meaning, earnest people working really hard to get the presentation together and all, but… I’d be much happier for you to be employed elsewhere. If you can’t put a demo together in front of such an important crowd, you don’t need to be working at Microsoft.” More here.
Related MacDailyNews articles:
Can Microsoft do anything original? Redmond behemoth issues ‘mysterious’ invite to reporters – October 25, 2005
Mac users should not buy Microsoft software (or hardware) – May 16, 2003