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MS To Launch Internet Versions of Office And Windows 530

daria42 writes "In a press conference this morning, Bill Gates said Microsoft plans to launch Internet-based complements to its core products, dubbed 'Windows Live' and 'Office Live'. Windows Live is a set of Internet-based personal services, such as e-mail, blogging and instant messaging. It will be primarily supported by advertising and be separate from the operating system itself. Office Live will come in both ad-based and subscription versions that augment MS' Office suite. The programs won't replace the paid software but instead seem aimed at diminishing Google's ad revenue. Windows Live already appears to have 'gone live' in a preview format on the web."
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MS To Launch Internet Versions of Office And Windows

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  • by Juanvaldes ( 544895 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:39PM (#13928492)
    As long as they hurt google they will do almost anything. Besides, they can break compatibility later.
  • by Saeed al-Sahaf ( 665390 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:39PM (#13928493) Homepage
    Why would anyone PAY for something they can't have? And what happens to those Word docs when your subscription runs out? Read only and no copy/paste?

    All I can say is "Microsoft, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE 'bet the farm' on this".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:41PM (#13928514)
    Under Categories>Top Feeds>Slashdot is the first option.
  • by log2.0 ( 674840 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:44PM (#13928532)
    It doesn't seem to actually do much of the stuff that windows does as an OS. I don't see how they can call it "Windows Live".

    I expect this to be a flop.
  • by Steven Reddie ( 237450 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:46PM (#13928558)
    They could have had these products in the works for quite some time, though it seems a safe bet that this is in response to the recent Google rumours. Who cares, though? Reacting to the needs of the market is what smart businesses do. Microsoft seems to be going through a stage of re-inventing themselves somewhat. Becoming leaner and quickly responding to the market is what they need to do to survive. Good on them.
  • by Pharaoh_B ( 181945 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:47PM (#13928561) Homepage
    Microsoft's knee-jerk reaction to google rumors.
  • by someonewhois ( 808065 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:47PM (#13928562) Homepage
    Yeah, it must be related to Google's announcement regarding Open Office. I mean, Microsoft can develop and release Windows Live and Office Live in the matter of 48 hours. Yeah, they're amazing alright.
  • Riding the Bear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by axonal ( 732578 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:51PM (#13928594)
    Microsoft is in the position IBM was years ago and they are just beginning to realize the effect of Google and it seems a bit too late now... ...a lot of Microsoft's current offerings aren't all that appealing or innovative compared to Googles and other companies.
  • by jm92956n ( 758515 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:56PM (#13928651) Journal
    Sun called: they want their dumb terminals idea back.

    The market has repeatedly shown that there is no interest in the concept of remote software or slimmed down computers. People really do like their personal computers. I had thought Microsoft understood this well, though it looks as if I've now been proven wrong. Are customers asking for this?

  • by gregbains ( 890793 ) <greg_bains@ho[ ]il.com ['tma' in gap]> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:57PM (#13928660) Homepage Journal
    Seems to be working OK in Firefox at the moment, and I don't know about you, but this beats Google IG [google.com] in my opinion!

    Wow, did I just say that
  • by badriram ( 699489 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:58PM (#13928667)
    You mean like Google Personalized Homepage was like start.com
  • by jhoffoss ( 73895 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:59PM (#13928675) Journal
    The hell...

    Are we looking at some new, cuddly Microsoft? A fracking emoticon?

    Weird. Let's just hope this doesn't turn out to be "we'll support you...by helping you go back and open this webpage with IE."

  • by Lally Singh ( 3427 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:01PM (#13928690) Journal
    A hint? Look at their stock history. No real growth in *years*.

    Also, isn't this MS leveraging their existing monopoly to gain an edge in a new market? Anti-competitive?
  • by Thu25245 ( 801369 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:09PM (#13928749)
    How long did it take Google to build a Firefox version of their toolbar?

    How long will it take until a Linux or Mac version of Google Earth comes out? Google Desktop Search?

    Almost 90% of the market uses both Windows and IE. It should come as no surprise that they're the first priority. That Microsoft intends to support Firefox at all is a step forward.
  • Indeed... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mister_llah ( 891540 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:12PM (#13928765) Homepage Journal
    Google themselves don't have any plans because they don't have an office suite... but they just invested a ton of money into the open source community... ... and if Microsoft's "live" beta does well... you'll see clones... open source clones, and if it is good enough, Google might do it... (but who knows, "copycatting" doesn't seem to be their style just yet, they've got a lot of creativity left in them)


    From the POV I think Google is looking from...

    It's a lot easier not to look like a bad guy when you are letting other people do your work for you, I think... Google's got a good edge on that... the open source community is large and just needs money to help it along... it'll edge in on Microsoft's turf while being respectful towards Google for helping it originally.

    They don't need to branch into these areas because they are basically paying other people to possibly do it for them... putting them in a better position to indirectly influence that part of the market...

    It's a good long term strategy... very sneaky :)
  • by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:30PM (#13928878)
    How exactly is Google a tyrant?

    All that this says is, "All of these years, the reason that I've hated MS is because they were successful. All of that bitching and moaning was because MS made money. I have never had anything objective to say about Microsoft. It's all been lies."

    Seriosuly. What did Google do? All that anyone has accused them of is 1) Stealing all of the talent in software (damn, people want to work there, sounds evil) and 2) Raising the prices of software engineers (shit, and now I make more money).

    News flash, the only people who complain about Google are the evil corporate masters that you're also supposedly railing against. Really. If their company was all that good, people would want to work their anyway. Amazon.com is not having any problems hiring talented people. Trust me. I've met some of their people.

    What you're saying is that nobody can succeed and not be evil. I disbelieve that. I believe that honest people can make an honest living and still, at the end of the day, be honest. Call me old fashioned like that, but believe it or not, one day I'd like to be successful too. Also, I'd appreciate it if you don't call me a tyrant when I am.
  • by adlib24 ( 739952 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:32PM (#13928893)
    I just read a TIME article about XBOX 360 trying to take over all media in the home. M$ is going to try to win the NextGen console war with XBOX Live. Mark my words these web-apps are just a preparation for making XBox 360 "THE" all-purpose multimedia machine. I mean if XBOX Live lets Mom and Dad do email, surfing, basic word processing (over the web), while letting the kids play video games, watch DVDs, and listen and burn music, why would you ever need a PC? Adlib24 p.s. I don't plan on owning a 360, but if one should...happen...to come my way, I wouldn't complain.
  • by rwyoder ( 759998 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:37PM (#13928921)
    Google's pushing Microsoft into a corner... they've got a distinct edge in innovation...
    So you are saying a company that actually innovates has an edge over one that just repeats the word a lot? ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:38PM (#13928930)
    Ripping off Apple and Google is hardly distinct or innovation.
  • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:43PM (#13928963)
    That is the thing some of you keep forgetting.

    Google has done their job, just like Lotus, Word Perfect, Novell, Borland and Netscape before them. Their job was to show Microsoft where the money is, and then get the hell out of the way.

    Hate them all you want, but if BillG knows one thing, it is how to crush the enemy. Google is smarter, faster and more aware of history than the others, but Microsoft has the desktop, still most of the browser space, and a shitload of money to throw any direction they please.

    Google wont die, they might make a fine adversary, but we are talkin about Office here. Google and nobody else, is going to make a better Office than Microsoft, whether on the web, desktop or anywhere else.

  • by RobertF ( 892444 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:51PM (#13929012) Homepage
    Oh my god! You're totally right! Google would never provide a free service like this, that used advertising to make money. And besides, this is just Microsoft ripping off Google's idea. Which was based off of what tons of companies did in the 90's. Google didn't steal that idea, though because they're Google. It amuses me how everyone is quick to bash microsoft for making their own versions of popular products, and even products Google has come up with. Yes, both Microsoft and Google have map systems, mail, search, portals, and now personal home pages. Umm, but isn't this called "competition"?
  • by ToasterofDOOM ( 878240 ) <d.murphy.davis@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:53PM (#13929021)
    Despite what you and almost every other /.er would love to think, MS isn't inherenty bad. They have just made more mistakes than others, but that can change. Did you ever stop to think that they might just want to do something right? That they might want to experiment with new technologies? That this is actually pretty cool? No? Didn't think so.
  • by gnuLNX ( 410742 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @10:05PM (#13929085) Journal
    Honest living...billionaire...hones living...biolionaire....hum...something seems funny to me.

    As an aside not I am a capitalist and I support the work that google is doing...but lets get real on the honest living....no one making a billion dollars while people are starving is making an honest living. If you believe otherwise you should have a long hard look at yourself tommorrow in the Mirror.


  • by Mr. Underbridge ( 666784 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @10:21PM (#13929144)
    As an aside not I am a capitalist and I support the work that google is doing...but lets get real on the honest living....no one making a billion dollars while people are starving is making an honest living. If you believe otherwise you should have a long hard look at yourself tommorrow in the Mirror.

    And if you think that throwing money at a problem solves it, you're a fool.

  • by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @10:22PM (#13929147)
    "Microsoft is getting really desperate."

    Is that why they made more income in Q2-2005 than they have ever made before?

    "They are downright paranoid about us slashdotters, as well they should be."

    No, they aren't. Slashdot isn't even 0.1% of their userbase. Firefox, on the other hand, represents 8-10% of web users - a significant enough potion that it's only logical to support them.
  • by Baricom ( 763970 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @10:30PM (#13929183)
    Microsoft has made so many mistakes at the past, that they've lost the trust of customers. To regain that trust, they need to make a number of correct decisions in a row. Keep in mind that even more people distrust Microsoft than complain about the quality of their software, so even if they stop making "mistakes," they still need to work to re-gain customer goodwill.
  • by Osty ( 16825 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @11:07PM (#13929408)

    My sentiments exactly except I don't think they even tried to extend it. It's a somewhat anemic version of the Google Personal Homepage with nary a hope of ever catching up. I am confounded by the "Windows Live" aspect, but in fairness it is in Beta. Perhaps an Internet based bootable OS is right around the corner. From Microsoft I mean. BWAHAHAHAHHAHAAAAHAHAHHAHAH!!!!

    Have you even tried using Live.com? Sure, it's superficially like Google's personalized home page, but it does more than that. First off, Live.com is from the Start.com project, which has been around longer than Google's personal page (as others have already pointed out), and thus Google is copying Microsoft. BWAHAHAHA. Ahem. Second, Live.com is more "slick", for lack of a better word. You can change the number of columns (want 2 columns instead of 3? only 1 long column?), and the interface just feels "smoother" than Google's (not sure if it's the colors, fonts, icons, or what, and I'll agree that this is really personal preference).

    Third, and probably most importantly, Live.com is much more customizable than Google's page. Sure, you can add or remove certain canned items or create a new "section" from a search or a feed on Google's page. You can do that on Live.com as well. However, you can also write [microsoftgadgets.com] your own "gadgets" [microsoftgadgets.com] to add on to the page that are not just RSS feeds. I'm sure Google has the knowledge and talent to be able to do something like that, but you can't deny that Live.com does things Google Personal doesn't.

    As for the name "Windows Live", the Slashdot article title is just completely stupid. This is not an "Internet Version of Windows", but a companion. The "Live" naming obviously comes from Xbox Live, which is not an "Internet Version of Xbox" but a companion service that allows you to communicate and interact in new and interesting ways with your Xbox ("new" and "interesting" as applied to Xbox, as online gaming, voice chat, and friends lists have all obviously been done elsewhere before Xbox Live). "Windows Live" is obviously aiming at that same idea. Whether they get there or not is still yet to be seen, but at least they're trying. That the beginning looks like stuff we've already seen (though to be fair, we did see it from Microsoft before Google) isn't the point. Go to Windows Live Ideas [live.com] and look at some of the stuff that's coming. Live Mail is just parity, but Windows Live Safety Center looks pretty cool, as does Windows Live Favorites (okay, so it only imports from IE and not Firefox, but a) it is Beta, and b) it is still Microsoft ...). And it sounds like this is just the beginning. Maybe the whole Windows Live thing will fizzle out with nothing more than a neat portal and a modern web mail client, but it could also turn into something really cool.

  • by dhasenan ( 758719 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @11:22PM (#13929469)

    First, there's no online office product yet, and Microsoft hasn't been crushing anything like that.

    Second, live.com is, as everyone else has been saying, another web portal (albeit with some interesting features and probably Windows integration). Nothing prevents anyone else from implementing all the same ideas.

    If you're the first to make something, that makes you a monopoly by default. So should we punish all inventors?
  • Re:No, NO. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iceanfire ( 900753 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @12:01AM (#13929623)
    actually I love their portal. On one side I have the slashdot rss feed (along with a couple more at the bottom) and next to it I have my gmail feed. its very easy and gets me the info FAST, all i doo is press : alt+home when I want to check my mail, search or check out the new feeds. due to my broadband connection it doesn't slow the page loading down, nor is it intrusive.
  • by bhav2007 ( 895955 ) <bhav2007NO@SPAMhouston.rr.com> on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @12:15AM (#13929684)
    This is a nice move by Microsoft to "kill" Google, and I would bet a lot that this is what Ballmer has been thinking of when he is throwing chairs and swearing to kill Google. It really fits with what they have been saying all this time, and their "war". It will probably be very successful in some areas (All of the guys I know who are "Official Microsoft Partners" are gonna have a fit), but I don't think it will do what they believe it will. The problem is that Microsoft's overall vision is the same as it has always been, despite the obviously huge amount of work somebody has done to convince management to make this project more open (firefox support).

    It is pretty clear that the top brass at Microsoft have a very specific vision about their software. I think they really do have good intentions, and it's probably not bad, with a nice looking Windows interface, and solid .Net platform, and "connectivity" out the yinyang. Of course, it also involves Microsoft holding all the keys, powering all the programs, and generally controlling everything. Even if they believe their marketing department's crap about improving peoples lives and "discovering" something on Windows, their policies are increasingly limiting their effectiveness. Computing is changing, dramatically, and Microsoft is still playing their old games. You still need to buy into their product lines to access the best of these services, and they still only works with Microsoft software. It is just not in Microsoft's nature (i.e. their management) to create products which are truly open, truly innovative, or truly free from the rest of their sources of income. I say good luck to them with this strategy, but it is gonna kill them slowly (unless, of course, their competitors are complete idiots).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @12:36AM (#13929769)
    Losing customer trust isn't the worst thing they did. They managed to lower consumer expectations. People now expect computers and applications to crash. They're happy when their system doesn't freeze for a few hours and things are "a little slow."
    People should only be dissatisfied when the above happens. They should be happy when the new application is on time, bug free, and helps them improve their process.

  • by Hosiah ( 849792 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @12:39AM (#13929789)
    MS isn't inherenty bad

    Naw, hell no! That's why Microsoft has to be defended every ten minutes by one of you Whack-moles poking your head out of the hole to chatter Microsoft-isn't-really-evil-and-get-that-Bill-Gate s-as-Borg-icon-outta-here-already and then disappear one hair's breadth ahead of the hammers. The day I have to go around trying to bash it into people's heads that Linux, Unix, BSD, Macintosh, OS X, BeOS, Novell, and Sun Microsystems don't deserve their Evil Overlord reputations, then we'll be even.

    Know what quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck, and goes steady with ducks? Ducks!

  • by Osty ( 16825 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @01:18AM (#13929966)

    I saw some HTML + webified versions of Office when I worked there. Probably around 2000. They cancelled it. I wish I could remember more about it.

    Most likely you're thinking about NetDocs [eweek.com], which, though it never shipped as a single product, did actually contribute many pieces to Office (InfoPath in particular), MSN (parts of their billing and support system, Messenger, pieces of MSN Explorer), and other Microsoft products that did ship. Alternatively, you might have seen pieces of Hailstorm [coverpages.org], which was later named ".NET My Services" before being killed. Again, much of Hailstorm's knowledge made its way into .NET (Hailstorm was all about Web Services right when the whole .NET thing was starting up, and it's no coincidence that .NET has very robust support for SOAP-based web services).

    This is not all that different from what other companies do, with the exception of Microsoft publicizing projects that are eventually killed or integrated into something else. This is not even unusual for Microsoft. For example, where do you think the Office Assistant (Microsoft Agent) stuff came from? Microsoft Bob (especially the dog and cat). While it was patronizing and simplistic, it was also way ahead of its time -- task-based interface, scaleable vector graphics, "interactive" help (say what you will about Clippy and the Office Assistant crap, but many people liked them and you can't really argue with the cuteness factor), etc. This is how companies grow and innovate. What Microsoft learned from Hailstorm surely has a direct effect on Windows Live, just as what they learned from NetDocs affected Office and what they learned from Bob affected Windows and Office. For example, they've learned to use open betas to their advantage, and to incubate fresh ideas with little intervention (Start.com, the origin of Live.com and arguably the cornerstone to the whole project, was developed, shipped, and supported by a team of only two or three developers with no management overhead or other BS, and who were allowed to be open about the process through blogging and customer interaction -- they were even allowed to support Firefox!).

    People scoffed at the first couple versions of Internet Explorer, but when Microsoft got fired up they really blew everybody away. Hopefully this time they've learned that follow-through is just as important as shipping, and Windows Live doesn't stagnate the way IE did.

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:07AM (#13930145)
    Microsoft has made so many mistakes at the past, that they've lost the trust of customers.

    Microsoft Revenues Grow 6 Percent, Profit Soars to $3.1 Billion [itjungle.com] Back-to-school sales were good. Server sales are strong. Windows MCE looks to be a big winner.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:21AM (#13930184)
    What YOU seem to be unable to understand is that MICROSOFT doesn't want coexistence. Their business model is not built around coexistence; it's built around LOCK-INS.

    The reason that I'm such a strong proponent of OSS is that it, by definition, forces fair competition in the software space--because it's about as far as you can get from presenting a lock-in situation.

    I totally agree with you in that I'm: (a) anti-monopoly and (b) (by implication) pro-coexistence; and that's why I want Microsoft to be gone. Now, the second that Microsoft begins altering its business model to be more like OSS (in the sense that it isn't a business built on lock-ins), I'll fully support their presence in the business world--because then they'll be competing fairly, and driving their success through strength-of-product and not strength-of-massive-business-deals. And, as a matter of fact, I really hope that they do some day convert to that sort of company, because I'd love to see what good they could churn out with their immense resources.
  • by guet ( 525509 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @03:34AM (#13930389)
    I already said in another post that I want coexistence, not a monopoly on any side.

    Unfortunately what you want doesn't matter at all.

    What Microsoft wants is to kill all competitors by 'cutting off their oxygen supply'. BTW, every other IT company is seen as a competitor. This is ingrained in the corporate culture, and starts at the very top with Gates/Balmer. That is why no one trusts them, not because they love Linux and hate MS (or whatever), but because they hate the things Microsoft has done and wants to do.
  • by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @03:35AM (#13930393) Homepage
    MS isn't inherenty bad. They have just made more mistakes than others, but that can change. Did you ever stop to think that they might just want to do something right?

    People who stay in abusive relationships all sound exactly alike...
    I think you mean this jokingly and are being moderated as such, but I've known people in abusive relationships and you are dead on.
  • by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @03:37AM (#13930399) Homepage Journal
    It really depends on what the problem is and where you throw the money and how much money you throw. Try solving problems without throwing money, or some sort of economic resource, at it. Not many that can be done for free. Even your investment in time translates to throwing money at the problem.

    Intelligence is how you fix problems. Money is the tool that lets you leverage that intelligence to fix problems. Just thinking wisely at the problem rarely works.
  • by ysegalov ( 849765 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @05:44AM (#13930706)
    They have an automatic process working on Firefox support. It is even open-source, there you go:

    sleep 60*24*365; print "Please update to IE, we rely on its bugs for our software to work, sorry\n".

  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:00AM (#13930733)
    "That's right, you heard me. I said, on /., that I think Windows should peacefully and cooperatively coexist wit Linux/OS X/whatever. Proprietary alongside open as well. There is no absolute right here, onlyimprovement."

    IF that's what you really want then MS is your enemy. They don't want the same thing that you do. In fact they are spending millions of dollars trying to make sure you don't get what you want. They are bribing politicians to make sure you don't get what you want. They are rigging their products to make sure you don't get what you want. They are hiring astro-turfers and so called journalists to make sure you don't get what you want.

    If you really want that then you should spend your time fighting MS not defending them. MS thinks people like you are communists.
  • by EddyPearson ( 901263 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @08:46AM (#13931142) Homepage
    "When a wounded dog is cornered, its more dangerous than an angry, healthy one"

    It seem Microsoft are doing whatever they can to hit out at Google, MSN really stepped up their game, started trying their own 'AdSense', and now they've gone for what I thought was the more likly thing google was going to branch into: WebApplications. Are Microsoft feeling threatened by Google? Well, Google hasn't encroached onto Microsofts market space (yet!), Desktop Products and OSs etc, But they are 'surrounding' Microsoft. They have a VERY diverse set of products, all for free (as in beer) and soon we'll see base.google.com (Going to KILL ebay) coming out of the box, and perhaps Microsoft are feeling scared :p Heh, thing is everybody loves google, cos google likes firefox :D and now M$ seem to have bowed to that pressure :D
  • Re:No, NO. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Crayon Kid ( 700279 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @08:55AM (#13931175)
    But the GP does have a point. At the core of any search engine is, of course, a search box. That's why, I suspect, for many of us Google starts at the search box in Firefox, or as a bookmarklet on the bookmarks bar (works in any browser).

    Heck, on Linux you can go one step further and bind a key combo to pop-up a text box [sourceforge.net], then have a shell script use the text to launch Google in Firefox, or Beagle on your documents, or IM someone.

    I'd say the "live" desktop is already here. Of course, integration is still a nice thing, but frankly if I can get quality results from the same unified text box, I can live without a unified interface for the results.

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