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.
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.
A quick net – Windows Live looks like a collection of (mostly MSN) offerings we had heard about individually before. While Office Live is new, it has a resemblance to previous offerings for small business.
Windows Live will be provided “alongside” MSN and is offered through Live.com:
• 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 http://ideas.live.com.
• 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 http://ideas.live.com.
• 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 http://ideas.live.com.
• 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 http://ideas.live.com.
• 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 http://ideas.live.com.
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.
As for Office Live, what it is is rather less clear, although reminiscent of the now discontinued bCentral:
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.
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.
There’s more by following the link and in the Q&A for a commercial reference customer of Windows Live services.