Windows Live Mail
One convenient thing is if you had an older Hotmail or MSN login and password, you can continue to use them for Windows Live services. To start using Windows Live Mail, you need to login. After logging in, you are informed that you can download a lot of applications including Messenger, Mail, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker beta, Family Safety, and a toolbar. Additional programs that you can download include MS Outlook connector, Office Live Add-in, and MS Silverlight. The page also informs you that with Windows Live Mail, you can actually combine the mail services from Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo. For the Yahoo services, you need a Yahoo! Plus account.
Windows Live requires a fairly large download, about 179 MB as of now. Messenger and mail functionalities have been talked about already. The Outlook connector lets you connect the Windows Live Mail service to the email client of Microsoft, Outlook 2003 or 2007, to manage Windows Live Hotmail, Office Live mail accounts, email messages, contacts, and the calendar. The calendar is capable of showing you the schedules of your messenger buddies also. The mail system also has a newsgroup and feed reader. With the addition of the toolbar, you’ll have quick access to all the downloaded applications including mail, calendar, and photos.
One of the possible reasons Microsoft is following this strategy is that they expect a large number the users will start using their online services such as online documents, photo sharing, calendar, and IM. Quite a few users have broadband Internet connections and are likely to start such services which are free for now. On the minus side, though, the PC when unpacked and installed is not as complete as you are used to with the earlier generation XP and Vista machines!