Microsoft's new Windows Live aims to be hub for Web (Reuters) by Reuters: Yahoo! Tech
SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp said on Wednesday its next release of Windows Live online services will integrate e-mail, instant messaging, photos and Web applications from other companies into a single platform.
Microsoft aims to position Windows Live with its widely-used e-mail and messaging services as the hub for a growing number of Internet applications and incorporate new features similar to those found on popular social networks.
The strategy puts Microsoft into competition with social networking sites Facebook and News Corp's MySpace, which started to open their fast-growing websites to outside software developers last year.
The new Windows Live service plans to feature a main profile page that updates users to their friends' activities within Windows Live and on more than 50 outside Web services including Yahoo Inc's Flickr photo site and career-oriented social networking site LinkedIn.
"It's a race to see who will work better and faster with everyone else," said Charlene Li, founder of consulting company Altimeter Group. "It's the recognition that you can't be an island of yourself."
Microsoft said Web users are overrun with accounts at multiple Internet sites, each requiring a password and each with a different set of friends. Its goal is to simplify the Web lives of its users who go to Microsoft's Windows Live e-mail or instant messaging accounts.
The company's Windows Live strategy is also central to its plans to wrestle away online advertising revenue from Google Inc, which has used its dominant search engine to expand into e-mail, online word processing and other businesses that compete directly with Microsoft.
Microsoft plans to roll out the new Windows Live services, which will include a revamped e-mail, calendar and a new photo application, in the United States over the coming weeks and then make it available in 54 countries early next year. (continue reading)