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Memo Outlines Microsoft's Plans 118

Posted by Zonk
from the now-it's-on-the-interweb dept.
conq wrote to mention a BusinessWeek article that covers some of Microsoft's upcoming web plans. From the article: "Live.com, Microsoft's customizable search-oriented portal, has more than 3 million users and the second-highest Net Promoter score -- a metric showing how many users would recommend the site to others -- of all MSN.com properties, writes Cole. That's good news, since the Live.com portal is the entry point for the first release of its Windows Live Search, the site through which Microsoft hopes to make the big bucks through paid search. Microsoft on Mar. 8 unveiled a slew of features aimed at letting users personalize the way they search the Web."
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Memo Outlines Microsoft's Plans

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  • Live.com (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PakProtector (115173) <cevkiv@NOSPAm.gmail.com> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:32AM (#14897619) Journal

    I wonder how much MS shelled out for that domain name?

    • Re:Live.com (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Microsoft bought the internet, remember? You can visit their new site at http://http/ [http]
      • Microsoft bought the internet, remember? You can visit their new site at http://http/ [http]

        That's plain weird. How the hell does that resolve? I'm using FF on XP and sure enough I was forwarded to http://www.microsoft.com/ [microsoft.com]. I don't have a *nix box handy, so I can't tell if it's my OS doing it or if that's really a resolvable address. I tried a couple WhoIs searches, but then again the http is filtered out of most forms. Others just say it's invalid. Ping and other tools say it's invalid. WTF?

    • Re:Live.com (Score:3, Interesting)

      by camcorder (759720)
      I doubt that it's too much. They prabably registered "live" brand name, and put a dispute on WIPO to get the domain if it wasn't a live web site or not owned by any other company which has live name registered to them. At those disputes jury easily decide on your side as they get paid by you. That would cost you at most $3-4k for 3-4 inspectors or something, though that amount is apart from lawyer fees. I would not expect MS to pay a cybersquatter tons of money as they are already paying for lawyers tons of
  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:33AM (#14897623) Journal
    That article is nothing more than a Microsoft press release. This sort of garbage "informercial" is why blogging is gaining credibility over traditional journalism.
    • That article is nothing more than a Microsoft press release. This sort of garbage "informercial" is why blogging is gaining credibility over traditional journalism.

      LOL. And this is different how from what's published by the real deal MS Press [microsoft.com]? It's never ceased to amaze me how, at their most technical, most all publications read like advertising copy. As to the article, Bill describe his place in the era of live software with

      Make no mistake, Windows Live is our strategic bet to change the game and w

  • by wombatmobile (623057) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:39AM (#14897634)

    David Cole, a Microsoft senior vice-president, outlined progress and key objectives for Windows Live in a memo obtained by BusinessWeek Online.

    "Memo"? Sounds like some hucksters press release to me. I don't know who Businessweek thinks its is kidding by calling these pronouncements from Redmond anything other than a PR statement.

    "And I can assure you the onslaught of upcoming Windows Live services will place us in a strong competitive position and will reestablish our leadership in the industry."

    Businessweek and Slashdot pretend that's "news" because...

    Anyone want to take a guess?

  • dead.com (Score:5, Informative)

    by FishandChips (695645) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:48AM (#14897651) Journal
    When I tried live.com (Firefox on Debian) I clicked on the Safety Center widget hoping for some hot tips but got this message instead: "Oops, we seem to be having a problem with this feed. Please try again later.". I then tried their "Live" searchbox at the top of the page but after a minute of staring at a white screen which just said "Loading ..." I gave up. After that I clicked on tabs which said "News" and "Images" but these also produced a entirely blank if quite restful white screen.

    Good to see that things worked just as one would expect from MS. Naturally I would unhesitatingly recommend live.com - my small contribution to Micosoft's prodigious "Net Promoter" score. When folks get back to me saying live.com doesn't work, I'll be suggesting they another website and, preferably, try Mac OS or Ubuntu as well.
    • That's what I get too. And what the hell does this mean?

      a metric showing how many users would recommend the site to others -- of all MSN.com properties

      Everybody that uses MSN would recommend to use live.com or everybody that WORKS at MSN would recommend live.com?
    • To use any feature on that site requires javascript. This really bugs me, since it makes using w3m, lynx, or firefox with noscript un-usable. Google, at least, makes their sites workable without javascript, even gmail.
      • by Skreems (598317)
        No offense, but I work in web development and people like you are a royal PITA :-)

        I understand that you may not think javascript is completely necessary, but you're asking for access to interactive applications while at the same time demanding that you not be forced to use an up-to-date application runner. If a site is just about giving you information, then great, don't make javascript a requirement. But stuff like live.com with the gadgets and whatnot is not just about displaying text; it's meant to be
        • Yes, but I wager Live.com has a much bigger than any audience you have.
          • somewhere between 2 to 6 times more (I haven't checked our latest numbers). why's that make a difference, though? Whether it's one guy in a basement writing a site for 300 visitors, or a team of 40 writing a site for 2 million, you still have to spend a significant effort in proportion to the rest of the project to enable the system for the 3-5% of users who don't have javascript functionality. Either way, it's not cost effective unless you need low-end compatibility and maximum user coverage for some busin
            • That's find for homepages, but once you get serious you cannot rely on javascript.

              In many companies I've dealt with internally javascript is disabled as a part of the corporate security policy. A site that will not work without it (possibly slightly degrared) is just broken. You don't *need* flashy animations and drop down menus. Really.
              • No offense, but those companies are being really overly paranoid. Javascript is so badly crippled in the name of security that it requires hacks to get it to do USEFUL things, let alone seruptitious activity. Nobody's going to perform any serious security breaches using Javascript without having enough access to the system to cripple it in much less roundabout ways.

                And I agree, usually animations and dropdowns are not totally necessary, but it also depends on what you're writing. If it's more of an applic
        • I hate JavaScript as much as the GP probably does, but for sites that are designed to work that way (e.g. live.com and Google's personalised homepage), I can understand the use of JavaScript/ECMAScript. However, your stupid floaty menu widget can be accomplished perfectly in CSS, and for browsers that don't support that, there are both JavaScript fallbacks [edwards.name] and simple browser-based fallbacks that will still allow the user to view the site just fine.

          Basically, designing to degrade gracefully is what you need
      • To use any feature on that site requires javascript...

        Well, yes. They'll get it working first, and worry about the no-script audience later, if at all.

    • The site doesn't work with Safari or Internet Explorer for OS X and is painfully slow and cumbersome in FireFox. I couldn't see any area which was better than Google let alone better.
    • I just tried live.com (or dead.com) for the first time, in Firefox
      1.5.0.1 (linux).

      First impression, yes, it is slow. It takes about as long as Gmail to
      load the interface. I notice these things because I'm on a slow
      connection.

      Second impression: well I did'nt really get that far, because suddenly
      Firefox crashed. From my experience, this doesn't happen very
      often. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen the quality agent doodad.

      Is this just a coincidence?
    • worked fine for me (on firefox, windows). Took around 10 seconds to fully load the personalized information. Depending on what time you checked it out, one reason why it might have been running slow is because they were updating their servers with a new code and getting slashdotted at the same time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 11, 2006 @08:03AM (#14897693)
    Excuse my ignorance, but paid for by whom? Is that why a picture search for "titties" is blocked by live.com? People going to have to pay to get the good stuff?
      • search for pr0n
      • select images
      • get

        This query has triggered our safe search filter. Flexible settings are coming soon.

      The user interface is completely opaque. Just what I want from a web search site and portal - something that is as unintuitive as many Microsoft programs. I'm not going to sit down and write a detailed critique of all the things I found counter-intuitive in my 5 minute exploration.

      It sort of ran on Firefox 1.5.0.1 on Windows/2000 Professioinal. I'm doing some interoperability tes

  • haha. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ikejam (821818) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @08:04AM (#14897695)
    "Over the next 3-6 months, we'll ship more innovative technology into the marketplace than during our entire 10-year history,"

    Live.com might fail, but that statement might turn out to be truer than MSoft will ever care to admit.

    objectively thinking ofcourse, there's almost zero chance of live.com not being atleast moderately successful, even with all the news of Google acquiring Writey etc etc
    • ...we'll ship more innovative technology into the marketplace than during our entire 10-year history...

      All they'd need is a single innovative item to make that come true, not only for MSN, but for all of Microsoft, for it's complete history. Microsoft Innovation is an oxymoron.

    • Re:haha. (Score:3, Informative)

      by dioscaido (541037)
      Even as an MS employee I've always considered the MSN group to be pretty lame, and produce lame products. But I gotta tell you, they have a fire in them right now that is palpable. They suddenly have an influx of real talent, tons of research resources, and a determination to outshine Google. Some of the stuff they have on the pipeline is geniunely interesting. Anyway, take that for what it's worth. They may still come out with lame products and fail spectacularly. But MSN '05-'06 is definitely not classic
      • Well it will no doubt have to, google is the least of microsoft's problems in this market, a lot of the slower old world media companies are starting to move now and this whole area is going to become increasingly active and competitive, the next few years will be very interesting.

        No company currently selling advertising space in a major way can ignore Internet search, with out suffering the consequences of crippling it's future as a major Internet player.

        Of course every other player benefits with open

      • Re:haha. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by spisska (796395)

        Even as an MS employee I've always considered the MSN group to be pretty lame, and produce lame products. But I gotta tell you, they have a fire in them right now that is palpable. They suddenly have an influx of real talent, tons of research resources, and a determination to outshine Google. Some of the stuff they have on the pipeline is geniunely interesting. Anyway, take that for what it's worth. They may still come out with lame products and fail spectacularly. But MSN '05-'06 is definitely not classic

    • Innovative? Microsoft does not innovate, they wait and see what successes other companies are having, then either copy or buy the product. I have yet to see Microsoft innovate anything.
  • Deja-Vu (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Brainix (748988)
    Why does this [live.com] look so farmiliar? [google.com]
  • by NigelJohnstone (242811) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @08:12AM (#14897717)
    Well competition is good, it will simply drive Google & Yahoo to do better. Much as I love Google, they make choices I think suck sometimes...

    e.g. [bmw autohaus finden] in Google.de use to pull up BMWs dealership finder before Google penalized them, BMW were forced to remove the doorway keywords, now it brings up nothing useful. Way to go Google.

    Even if its competition from Microsoft, it will be a good thing, as long as MS doesn't try it usual anti-trust crap.
    • they could always have a sponsored result on top..
    • "Even if its competition from Microsoft, it will be a good thing, as long as MS doesn't try it usual anti-trust crap."

      I think you're hoping for too much.
    • the crap has nothing to do with the penalty, try e.g. "mercedes autohaus finden" in google.de, you'll find the same amount of crap, and no official mercedes site anywhere near the first 30 hits. (nor at the ads, even)

      Still, this is a problem of Google, they cannot filter out the content-less harvesting sites efficiently yet, especially in Germany.

      BTW, googling for "BMW" will lead you to the various offical BMW sites of which you'd guessed the correct url beforehand anyway ;)

      • ..."the crap has nothing to do with the penalty,"

        I think you missed the point, I Googled [bmw autohaus finden] and got BMW's Dealership finder. This was in the gap, just after the penalty had been lifted and just before the BMW site was recrawled. I did the same for many of the keyphrases BMW should be top for that were on that page of keywords Matt showed on his blog.
        That BMW site is probably the only good result for that query! After the recrawl BMW disappeared, that penalty directly caused the bad result
        • Almost directly below the search box on BMW.de there is the "händler suche" link. Really, really hard to miss that one! :) Too much of a search button freak, ey?

          Furthermore I just tried and searched on google.de to the phrase "autohaus finden" in combination with all german car brands and in none of these cases I found a link to the main car manufacturer involved, be it at the results or at the advertizements. I did find individual dealerwebsites, though, but only of the dealers that have the word 'A

          • "Almost directly below the search box on BMW.de there is the "händler suche" link"

            True, missed that link sorry, but I don't see how it mitigates the poor Google result.

            "Furthermore I just tried and searched on google.de to the phrase "autohaus finden" in combination with all german car brands and in none of these cases I found a link to the main car manufacturer involved,"

            Again, I don't see how that mitigates the problem, Google, MSN and Yahoo all use to work for that search (and many many others) befo
            • Ok, you have a lot of valid points here. First of all, SEO should not be possible. As soon as optimizing for a certain search engine is possible, it will be misused.

              But Google removing individual SEOs as in the case of BMW will not solve the problem, as other ones will appear continuously. Especially your last point made me realize that you cannot prevent SEO by regulation, but that you need an algorithm that will (a) give you automatically the most intelligent result (b) will be immune for obviously inva

  • And I can assure you the onslaught of upcoming

    I think I'm not alone when my reaction to such crap usually is something like take your assurances to some pr-publishing journals for the masses, we're only interested in professional quality products, and unless Live search site will prove to be ["will" = i.e. I still don't see it as such] a worthy competitor with providing some megnitudes more quality and/or service, I'm not interested.

  • Huh??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dskoll (99328) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @08:33AM (#14897778)
    Live.com doesn't even work for me. I'm trying Firefox 1.5 on Debian, and when I enter a search term, all I get is "Loading..." and nothing else.

    Has anyone actually made it work under Firefox on Linux?
    • Re:Huh??? (Score:2, Informative)

      by metroplex (883298)
      The same happens to me on a mac using Safari 1.3.2 (v312.5). That's silly.
    • Doesn't work for me under Opera for Windows. Not that I care (homepages are generally useless to me).
      • Re:Huh??? (Score:1, Interesting)

        Try using live.com with IE and extra large fonts enabled. I tried it on IE just to see how bad it was (I always use Firefox). Any, the result is an un-godly mess. It's so bad it's actually funny and just goes to show how much testing MS put in with their own browser, let alone anyone elses.

        Actually, as I recall, all web sites in IE with extra large fonts are an un-godly mess.

        an_unknown_soldier

        • To be fair, if you increase the font size in Firefox most pages aren't much better. Opera is the only browser that scales gracefully.
    • It works fine for me (Firefox 1.0.7 on Hoary).
  • Business as Usual (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thunderpaws (199100) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @08:43AM (#14897802)
    Paid "press release" infomercials like this are business as usual for Microsoft. Nothing new in the MS business model except some names, terminology, and so-called "new" technologies. The sense I get from my customers, co-workers, and overall tone of discussions, bolgs and forums, etc. is an incredible lack of excitement in anything Microsoft related. The article left me with a feeling that MS is scrambling to catch up while trying to strike a spark of enthusiasm in a world that is growing more and more skeptical on a daily basis.
  • by spiritraveller (641174) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @08:53AM (#14897832)
    That's good news, since the Live.com portal is the entry point for the first release of its Windows Live Search, the site through which Microsoft hopes to make the big bucks through paid search.

    This is a joke right?
  • Good ole MSOFT (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JRGhaddar (448765) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @09:01AM (#14897848)


    Live.com (as it appears to me) is just an attempt at copying everything that is popular on the web. A Favorites Section ala del.icio.us (yahoo), Personalized Simple Desktop that the user can Customize (this has been around, but google made it simple) Mail / IM integration (Google/Yahoo feature)

    I don't see anything as new except for the "Security Center" which obviously will be some antispyware/malware/virus thing, however I don't necessarily consider MS the authorities on security but more like the person who left the window unlocked in the first place.

    The hook for Microsoft is obviously vista. This portal thing is going to communicate directly with every user (Similar to Google Desktop). Vista will also do everything to guide the user into using that site as an extension of the O.S. The new IE will make sure of that. Makes sense that Microsoft Office Online will probably be integrated somehow into this system as well.

    I do think that this is a dramatic improvement for MS, and they are catching up quickly; but they don't want to take the lead. They like exactly where they are.

    FTFA: One such service is a click-per-call capability that will let users connect to businesses via Web-based calls by clicking on MSN search links. Sources tell BusinessWeek Online that the capability will be unveiled the week of Mar. 13.

    Another example of following google's lead.

    This really a great example of a Drafting [wikipedia.org] Marketing Strategy. It's been no secret that MS lets others innovate, and quietly absorbs all of their breakthroughs and then corners the market with their massive resources. Firefox being another in a long list of victims from this strategy.

    • To be fair, the first public beta of start.com (Microsoft's predecessor to live.com) existed before Google's Personalized Home hit the net.
    • How's Firefox a victim of this? Opera had tabs first, IE had XmlHttpRequest first... and IE 7 still pales in comparison to Firefox.
    • Haha, they did not forget to lock the window! That's a feature!

      They left out the locks in doors too so that all these delivery people can now deliver your food right into your refrigerator, hang your new suit in your closet and so on. The window is open should your doors become blocked for some reason. Let's say some owner who does not realize how valuable these lockless doors are, they will still be able to deliver their valuable service.

      Next month they are going to start checking if you are running out of
  • Are they going to make office available as well? Google is already working on their own office live (writely..etc)
    • Are they going to make office available as well? Google is already working on their own office live

      Yeah but it will have to use normal ms office code in activex controls so it will be a disaster. If they used different technology people would just laugh at them for being wrong all this time.

  • "unveiled a slew of features aimed at letting users personalize the way they search the Web"

    followed by a slew of new features aimed at letting the NSA snoop on how you search the web.
  • Slashdot Survey (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 16K Ram Pack (690082) <<tim.almond> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @09:19AM (#14897916) Homepage
    Has anyone, including the most non-techie friends of yours said to you to check out live.com?


    Have you read a blog, beyond Microsoft fanboys saying how great live.com?


    I get recommended all sorts of sites by word-of-mouth from friends, and no-one has even mentioned live.com.

    • Nobody. The article did say that it was the second-highest score of all MSN.com properties. That's a little like saying that "Tuna Roof Sundae" is the second-most-favored flavor of icecream made by FishFlavoredIceCream.com.
  • by rs232 (849320) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @09:55AM (#14898036)
    "Make no mistake, Windows Live is our strategic bet to change the game and win .."
    translation: We can't win on technology so we are going to change the rules.
    'Windows Live Local search.. "is surpassing our competition with industry-leading technology"'
    translation: We produce industry-leading technology despite the fact that we are playing catchup with Google and our sucessive desktop product adds little to the user experience.
    "Over the next 3-6 months, we'll ship more innovative technology into the marketplace than during our entire 10-year history,"
    translation: We actually shipped innovative technology in the past ten years. At least we'de like to pollute the record with this wish-fulfillment fantasy.
    "I know we've spent the last few years coming from behind, but we've truly turned a huge corner," Cole says. "
    I thought that corners only came in obtuse and acute angles. How can you logically be coming from behind while turning a huge corner. Why is a marketing blurb worthy of mention on slashdot?
  • Live.com (Score:2, Funny)

    by pherthyl (445706)
    Live.com, Microsoft's customizable search-oriented portal, has more than 3 million users and the second-highest Net Promoter score -- a metric showing how many users would recommend the site to others -- of all MSN.com properties

    Are these 3 million users all high? Maybe I'm on some phenomenally poorly connected part of the internet, but I haven't even gotten live.com to complete a search successfully. Aside from that, most of the widgets on the main page don't load, and the one image search that worked on
    • Nope you got it right

      1) make page useless on all browsers apart from IE
      2) Spend millions advertising said site
      3) Wait while millions of users try to use it
      4) Spend $0 broadcasting the kit rate
      5) Wait as users give up on Firefox, Opera, Safari etc and turn back to IE
      6) Profit from Browser Lock-in
      The cynic in me says its just part of the marketing push towards world domination of everything.
      The rest of me say "They can't be that stupid can they?"
      Time will tell which is correct. /S
      • The site works fine on Firefox for me... the "ajax everything" and non-standard interface elements are definitely kinda stupid, though.
  • Net promoter score (Score:4, Informative)

    by AnotherDaveB (912424) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @11:38AM (#14898460)

    I'd never heard of a "Net promoter score", so I asked Google, and it pointed me to another Businessweek article [businessweek.com].

    ...companies measure customer loyalty by asking one simple question rather than relying on lengthy satisfaction surveys: "On a scale of zero to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend us to your friends or colleagues?"

    "net promoter scores," ... [are] ... the difference between the percentage of customers who give high responses ("promoters") and those who give low ones ("detractors"),

  • "the second-highest Net Promoter score of all MSN.com properties"

    Does anyone else consider this less a measure of live.com's success and more a measure of how unpopular all the other "MSN.com properties" are?

  • Windows Live Mail, the new version of Microsoft's flagship Hotmail e-mail, is hosting 750,000 users, and the company hopes it will host 20 million by June, according to the memo.

    Isn't it reasonable to assume that all this means is that all the Hotmail users will be automatically converted over to Live Mail in June? Doesn't anyone at BusinessWeek have the smarts, or the chutzpah, to ask whether this is even plausible?

    Are there any reliable estimates of the number of free mail users out there? 20 mill

  • by ZoOnI (947423)
    As M$ likes to swallow the goo of every corporation and gouverment that throws a bone it's way. The chances that I will use a site that later can be used for data mining is slim.

    I can see the thinking here. Tell all the web citizens of this cool new site (that is no more than a copy of existing services)and make loud comments on how everyone will use it. Set it up as the default page of the next release of Windows$ and say hey look at all the people using it.

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