Microsoft’s Push Into Online Services

Online, you can already get email (via the consumer oriented Hotmail) from Microsoft, however the bulk of Microsoft’s sales are from traditional PC sales for servers and business applications like Microsoft Office. Yesterday, Microsoft announced a new strategy to provide more online services, fee based and free (advertising supported) via
Google, Yahoo, NetSuite and many other companies are leading the online services push, it’s past time for Microsoft to join.
There are two services: Windows Live and Microsoft Office Live
Windows Live is a set of personal Internet services and software designed to bring together in one place all of the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with more safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web.
Office Live is a new set of Internet-based services for growing and managing a business online.
The NY Times writes The company called the service a “personalized starting point” for a variety of Web services like e-mail, instant messaging, and a new set of Internet-based software called gadgets. These are small Internet-based applications that provide mail, stock prices, weather forecasts and other simple functions.
The company also demonstrated its new Internet mail service, called Windows Live Mail based on an Internet technology known as AJAX, which will be as responsive as a desktop e-mail program. The service will initially be offered in a limited form.

The new services will not compete with Microsoft Office but provide complimentary services.
About Office Live, the Microsoft Press release reads 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 OutlookÆ, Microsoft ExcelÆ, Microsoft Office Live Meeting and Microsoft Office Small Business Edition. Over time, the scope of Office Live services will expand.
“A key objective of Office Live is to provide small businesses with the power to easily and inexpensively manage their business in a way that large enterprises already enjoy today,” said Rajesh Jha, general manager of Information Worker Services at Microsoft. “With Office Live services, we make complex technology affordable and easy to use for small businesses, empowering them to reach their business goals.”