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It is true to say that Microsoft never truly embraced the Internet phenomenon when it first entered the realm of IT, playing it down as a fad that society would quickly grow bored of, or find little use for. How wrong could they be? From the mid 1990’s Microsoft started to accept that this communication portal was changing the way we live. Thus came Internet Explorer and MSN online.
Now, having spent much of the past decade in courtroom battles fending off anti-trust and unfair monopoly lawsuits, Microsoft needed to change direction again. MSN online has been re-branded and Windows Live, its new web enabled application set, offers us a multitude of services that change the way we interact with a PC and with each other.
Windows Live has enabled Microsoft to evolve as a web based application and service provider, free of charge and readily available via simple download. What also makes it a viable offering for ALL users is that products are being developed to work on multiple environments, not just locked down to Microsoft operating system architecture. In the past few years Microsoft has seen the winds of change approaching and invested heavily in a business model that allows end users to interact with more streams of media and control more devices both physically and remotely. With considerably less arrogance, Microsoft has realized the need to deliver applications that give the end user freedom of choice in terms of hardware and software. This in essence is Windows Live-the empowerment of end users via open communication software and service.
The ideology of interrelated web based software and service is nothing new. Google, Yahoo and numerous other service providers have developed application tools and add-ons for their own forums in recent years. As such, Microsoft could not afford to miss the boat. What helps Microsoft in this arena is that with their financial power, market coverage and experience they have created an integrated web based set of office tools, audio and video, file sharing and connectivity for home and business users that is automatically offered to an enormous segment of PC users.
Under the Windows Live moniker, Microsoft has just the product range users want. Email, personal web pages, messaging, disk drive management, writing, file sharing, photo and video galleries – single, small applications which when combined, open up a whole new realm of interaction. They have more value as a combination of tools than as individual services. As the portfolio is enhanced with the introduction of other services, enhanced mobility of services, security and information management, Windows Live will give Microsoft a market leading product range that embraces an interconnected online and offline end user experience.