The single most confusing part of the Windows 7 intro at PDC was the part about Windows Live. Many people mistakenly concluded that Microsoft is planning to deliver a suite of Internet-based applications in tandem with Windows 7. Here’s what’s really happening.
A handful of applications that were previously included with Windows will no longer ship with the core operating system. This list includes Windows Mail (known as Outlook Express in Windows XP), Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Photo Gallery. (Windows Messenger, which was included with Windows XP, was dropped from the main OS package before the debut of Windows Vista.)
The Windows 7 versions of all these programs will be offered to Windows customers as individual options in a package collectively dubbed Windows Live Essentials. That doesn’t mean they’re going to be browser-based products. They’re going to be traditional standalone Windows applications, with the crucial distinction that the primary delivery (and update) mechanism will be the Windows Live website. Each of these products has the capability to integrate with web-based Windows Live Services, but they’ll work just fine on their own.