Company outlines software-based services strategy.
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 1 — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT – News) today previewed two new Internet-based software services — Windows Live(TM) and Microsoft® Office Live — designed to deliver rich and seamless experiences to individuals and small businesses. The new offerings combine the power of software plus services and are compelling enhancements to the Microsoft Windows® and Microsoft Office products. In particular, Windows Live helps bring together all the elements of an individual’s digital world while Office Live helps small companies do business online.
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At a briefing for members of the press and analysts, Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chairman and chief software architect, and Ray Ozzie, Microsoft’s chief technical officer, demonstrated these new offerings for the first time, along with Xbox Live® — all of which reflect the company’s ongoing efforts to harness new delivery and business models for software to provide new value to customers and opportunities for developers and partners.
“These new offerings demonstrate how software is evolving through the power of services in ways that enable more dynamic and relevant experiences for people,” Gates said. “Our goal is to make Windows, Office and Xbox® further come alive for our customers at work, home and play.”
“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 Ozzie. “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.”
Windows Live(TM) is a set of personal Internet services and software designed to bring together in one place all of the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with more safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web. 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:
— Live.com serves as the personalized starting point for Windows Live
services, powered by cutting-edge technologies such as RSS and
and customization for individuals who want quick access to the people
and information they care about most. Live.com, which will be a great
place to experience Windows Live Search, is available for trial today.
— Windows Live(TM) Mail is 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.
People can sign up for the beta waiting list at http://ideas.live.com.
— Windows Live(TM) Messenger helps individuals deepen their connections
with the people they care about through instant messaging, file and
photo sharing, PC-based calling, and more. Windows Live Messenger will
enter the beta stage later this year. More information is available at
— Windows Live(TM) Safety Center is a Web site where users can scan for
and remove viruses from their PC on demand. The service is currently in
beta form, available at http://ideas.live.com.
— Windows OneCare(TM) Live is a previously announced 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. People can sign up for the beta waiting
list at http://ideas.live.com.
— Windows Live(TM) Favorites is 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 form at
Windows Live will be offered alongside MSN.com, a global leader in services with more than 215 million active MSN Hotmail accounts; more than 185 million MSN Messenger contacts worldwide; and over 25 million MSN Spaces created by individuals to share their photos, Web logs (blogs) and interests with friends. MSN.com will continue to deliver rich programmed content and provide access to Windows Live services.
“Millions of people enjoy the programmed content that MSN.com offers, and we will continue to deliver that experience,” said David Cole, senior vice president of MSN. “Users also want more flexibility in creating a personalized experience with access to customized content and communications. That’s what Windows Live delivers.”
Windows Live will primarily be delivered free to users and supported by advertising, but subscription and transaction-based services also will be available. Windows Live extends the capabilities of Windows through standard mechanisms that are publicly available for use by the developer and partner community. 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.
Microsoft Office Live
The company today also previewed Office Live, a new set of Internet-based services for growing and managing a business online. Designed to help companies establish an online presence, automate key internal and external business tasks, and collaborate with employees, partners and customers, the initial Office Live offerings are targeted at the approximately 28 million small businesses worldwide that have fewer than 10 employees. These services can be used independently but also integrate with Microsoft Office programs used regularly by more than 400 million people around the world, 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.
“A key objective of Office Live is to provide small businesses with the power to easily and inexpensively manage their business in a way that large enterprises already enjoy today,” said Rajesh Jha, general manager of Information Worker Services at Microsoft. “With Office Live services, we make complex technology affordable and easy to use for small businesses, empowering them to reach their business goals.”
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.
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 http://www.officelive.com.
Developer and Partner Opportunities
Continuing the company’s fundamental commitment to delivering a platform the industry can use to create solutions, Microsoft is making its new live services available to developers to customize, extend and remix. These new services build upon and extend Microsoft’s existing developer platform, tools and ecosystem. Windows Live and Office Live will work with Windows through publicly available application programming interfaces (APIs), available for use by the developer and partner community.
For example, Richard Frost, founder of RE3W World Wide Ltd., an independent software developer specializing in applications related to commercial real estate, demonstrated today at the briefing how its software utilized Windows Live services, specifically Windows Live(TM) Virtual Earth(TM), to deliver an enhanced experience to commercial real estate professionals. Through the combination of software and services, the RE3W demonstration highlighted how an individual can search satellite images from Windows Live Local powered by Virtual Earth to identify prospective properties while simultaneously accessing and aggregating information from RE3W’s proprietary data and publicly available ownership records and parcel maps.
With the introduction of these live offerings, Microsoft remains committed to its strategic relationships with telecommunications and hosting service providers to deliver a range of services, including data, video and voice services, to businesses and consumers.
Streamlined Software Delivery
Windows Live and Office Live services will accelerate Microsoft’s delivery of new innovation to customers. Customers will enjoy nearly continuous delivery of new live services and features. In concert with the live services strategy, the Windows development process has been re-engineered to enable more frequent updates across the Windows operating system.
“We are embarking on the richest series of product releases in our company’s 30-year history,” Gates said. “Beyond the opportunities this presents for our customers and partners, these new live offerings represent an incredibly powerful way of enabling customers to more quickly access and benefit from the innovations being developed by our product teams.”
The addition of Office Live and Windows Live services enables advertisers to reach an even larger, more engaged audience. Today Ozzie outlined Microsoft’s vision for an advertising network powered by MSN adCenter, where advertisers will have access to tools that provide them with control, insight and intelligence to create more meaningful connections with customers. The advertising network will be open to partners over time so advertisers can connect with a broader audience through traditional media as well as new scenarios such as Internet Protocol television (IPTV) and mobile communications products.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Microsoft, Windows Live, Windows, Xbox Live, Xbox, MSN, Hotmail, Windows OneCare, Outlook, Excel, SharePoint and Virtual Earth are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.