Windows Live: A guide for the perplexed

Mary Jo Foley —”I happen to consider Microsoft's Windows Live initiative to be of huge strategic significance to Microsoft 2.0, or however you want to describe the Microsoft of the future. But I know there are lots of company watchers, partners and customers who consider Live to be nothing but Microsoft's botched plan to rebrand […]

Mary Jo Foley —”I happen to consider Microsoft's Windows Live initiative to be of huge strategic significance to Microsoft 2.0, or however you want to describe the Microsoft of the future. But I know there are lots of company watchers, partners and customers who consider Live to be nothing but Microsoft's botched plan to rebrand its family of MSN services and make them look shiny and new. “

A Microsoft Fortune 500 customer recently asked me to explain Windows Live. Since Microsoft is doing such a lousy job at it, why not take a crack at demystifying Live myself, I mused.

Well, 30 screen shots later, I understand why people are so confounded by Live. In fact, after going out and searching for information on all the Live services I could find, I feel like I'm even more confused about what Windows Live is (and isn't) than I was before.

Problem No. 1: Live isn't a consistently applied term: Sometimes it refers to services (like Windows Live Messenger), sometimes to desktop applications (a k a Windows Live Search Preview), and sometimes to "destinations" (such as Windows Live Gallery).

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Microsoft, Windows Live