November 1, 2005
@ 10:05 PM

Today Microsoft announced Windows Live. The official blurb is in the press release at Microsoft Previews New Windows Live and Office Live Services

SAN FRANCISCO — Nov. 1, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today previewed two new Internet-based software services — Windows Live™ 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.

Windows Live

Windows Live™ 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, a new Web site where people can try the latest Windows Live beta services: serves as the personalized starting point for Windows Live services, powered by cutting-edge technologies such as RSS and Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX). offers complete choice and customization for individuals who want quick access to the people and information they care about most., which will be a great place to experience Windows Live Search, is available for trial today.

Windows Live™ 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

Windows Live™ 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™ 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

Windows OneCare™ 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

Windows Live™ 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, 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. will continue to deliver rich programmed content and provide access to Windows Live services.

As someone who works on MSN Windows Live products I've seen about ten hours of presentations over the past few months on what this means for us and have come up with a simple way of explaining it to the uninitiated.

From a practical perspective, when I think about Windows Live I think about three things:

  1. User-centric web applications with rich user interfaces: You can expect more applications with rich, dynamic, user interfaces such as has been shown in the Mail beta and on For the geeks out there this means that you'll be seeing a lot more AJAX applications coming out of us and a focus on software that puts the user in control of their online experience.

  2. Smart desktop applications that improve the Windows user experience:  The MSN division has slowly become Microsoft's consumer software division. From desktop search to instant messaging, a number of key applications that were once thought of as bits that ship with the operating system are now being shipped on a more frequent basis by MSN. With Windows Live, this reality is being acknowledged and embraced. Expect to see more beneficial integration between consumer applications coming from Microsoft and our web properties such as the integration between MSN Messenger & MSN Spaces.

  3. The Web as a platform: was just the beginning, expect a lot more. Coincidentally I just finished giving a presentation to a few hundred of my co-workers from across the company on MSN Windows Live services as a Web platform. This is definitely an area I will be spending a lot of my time on in the following months.

To meet this vision will require some new offerings from Microsoft and the reworking of some existing products as well. In some cases, this will simply look like a branding change while in others it will be deeper fundamental changes in how the application works. You can try out some of the Windows Live applications today at

Of course, this isn't an official explanation. That is what you'll find in the press release. Instead this is my interpretation based on talking to various folks who've been working on this and the various presentations we've gotten on the topic on my team. There is going to be a lot written about Windows Live over the next couple of days and a lot of it will be inaccurate or fueled by speculation. What I've written above is as accurate a picture as I can paint based on the knowledge I have as someone who now works on this stuff.