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March 12, 2006

Another leaked “Live” memo

Posted by David Hunter at 8:42 PM ET.

The last time, the leaked memos were from Bill Gates and Ray Ozzie. This time the leaked memo is from David Cole, the Senior VP in charge of MSN who is about to go on a leave of absence. Olga Kharif has the story at BusinessWeek Online:

David Cole, a Microsoft senior vice-president, outlined progress and key objectives for Windows Live in a memo obtained by BusinessWeek Online. “We’ve made incredible progress on various Windows Live initiatives,” he writes in the Mar. 7 note.

There’s a certain amount of suspicion about the leak since the memo reads rather like a press release, but given Cole’s imminent departure, it reads to me more like a valediction. In any case, there are a variety of statistics of modest utility to demonstrate the popularity of Windows Live which you can view by following the link. More interesting is the forecast for the rest of the year:

“Over the next 3-6 months, we’ll ship more innovative technology into the marketplace than during our entire 10-year history,” writes Cole …

The reference is to MSN, of course.

How will all that innovation be delivered? Services will be introduced with what he calls a “rolling thunder” approach. “We’ll release new services as they become available, upgrade existing services, and launch marketing efforts in global phases,” the memo says.

It’s the Web 2.0 way I guess, but one wonders when “rolling thunder” fatigue will rear its ugly head.

One such service is a click-per-call capability that will let users connect to businesses via Web-based calls by clicking on MSN search links. Sources tell BusinessWeek Online that the capability will be unveiled the week of Mar. 13.

A good idea, which is why Google is doing it.

Four months isn’t very long, as eras go. But results have nonetheless imbued Microsoft with confidence. “I know we’ve spent the last few years coming from behind, but we’ve truly turned a huge corner,” Cole says. “And I can assure you the onslaught of upcoming Windows Live services will place us in a strong competitive position and will reestablish our leadership in the industry.”

I assume this is MSN specific as well, but I would be more ready to share the enthusiasm if it were clearer how all the new Windows Live services (as opposed to the rebranded MSN services) will be monetized.

Filed under Advertising, General Business, MSN, Microsoft, Online Services, Windows Live

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2 Responses to “Another leaked “Live” memo”

  1. Microsoft finally shows us the “Live” money -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] I was just complaining the other day that what was missing so far in the “rolling thunder” of “Live” announcements has been the money. After all, it’s hard to do “ad-supported software” without the ads. Now it looks like Microsoft’s new worldwide ad czar, Joanne Bradford, has put together a pilot test of conventional display ads for some of the “Live” services. [...]

  2. Microsoft touts Windows Live to developers and needs to -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] “Today millions of consumers are using these services as we continue to advance and evolve them for release,” the spokesperson said. “We look forward to launching many of our Windows Live services over the coming months and year and turning up the volume as we do.” Ah yes, the “rolling thunder” approach, although it’s not clear what good the noise does when folks basically aren’t sure what you’re talking about as a number of analysts observe in the rest of the article. [...]

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