As expected Microsoft today unveiled new online software services. This is definitely one of the more important releases from Microsoft and I'm sure we'll see more and more Internet based software in future.
“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 Microsoft’s chief technical officer, Ray 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.”
The first new Internet-based software service is Windows Live. This is a set of personal Internet services, here's a short look at some of the services:
Microsoft says Windows Live will be available for free. It will be supported by advertising (MSN adCenter) but subscription and transaction-based services will also be available. An early beta version can be viewed over here.
Live.com will be a personalized homepage, powered by RSS and AJAX technologies. It will offer users complete choice and customization to give them quick access to the information they care about most. This service is already available for trail today. The second service is Windows Live Mail. This is a new global e-mail service build from ground up to be faster, safer and simpler. Microsoft will enable Hotmail users to seamlessly upgrade their account to the new service. The third service is Windows Live Messenger, I believe this will be a webbased version of MSN Messenger. It will feature instant messaging, file sharing, PC-based calling and more. The fourth service is Windows Live Safety Center. This part will give users access to tools to scan and remove viruses from their PC. Windows OneCare Live is also part of Windows Live. This is a PC health subscription that helps protect and maintain PCs via an integrated service that includes antivirus, firewall, PC maintenance, data backup and restore capabilities. And the final service is Windows Live Favorites, giving users access to their Internet Explorer and MSN Explorer favorites from any PC that's online.
Also announced today is Microsoft Office Live. This is a new set of Internet-based services for growing and managing a business online. The service is designed 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.”
Microsoft will offer multiple Office Live versions. 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 over here.
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.”