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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 Psionicist ( 561330 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:37PM (#13928471)
    Firefox Users
    Firefox support is coming soon. Please be patient :-)

    . Did I read that right? MS supporting Firefox?

    Hmm. Cool.
  • by mister_llah ( 891540 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:39PM (#13928482) Homepage Journal
    Ahh, it seems Google's betas have given the name buzzword status...

    I remember the good old days when Microsoft's "beta" products were full versions... ahhhh...

    Good to see Google's eminent technological takeover is at least causing Microsoft to be a little more honest :)
  • Ripping off Google (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ridgelift ( 228977 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:40PM (#13928500)
    Windows Live is a painfully bad rip off of Google's Personal Homepage []. It all just Microsoft up to their old tricks: copy someone elses idea then try to extend it.

    This time, however, the deck is stacked against them. Developers are leaving Microsoft and going to Google in hopes to make millions like early Microsoft employees did. Also Microsoft is stuck using their own software as a development platform which is not as flexible as Google or even Apple to make changes. Google can simply outcode Microsoft in the web arena.

    Should be a bloodbath.
  • Impressive (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JPyun ( 911266 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:41PM (#13928516)
    If MS keeps developing awesome stuff like this, then go Bill. Weee.

    Plus I get a warm and fuzzy feeling using "Windows Live" from Linux.
  • Desperate times... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mister_llah ( 891540 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:42PM (#13928519) Homepage Journal
    Google's pushing Microsoft into a corner... they've got a distinct edge in innovation...

    I definately smell a hint of doom on Microsoft, though... but in business, as good as it seems now... we'll just be trading one tyrant for another... call it FUD, but I guess we'll all see in time :)
  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:43PM (#13928521)
    I hope they don't plan on using ajax or java script to do it. The IE java script interpreter is so damn slow it is like watching paint dry. I just tried to build a large scale app using a java script interface kit and failed. It failed not because the program was bad, as a matter of fact it was damn snappy in firefox. Then I did the unthinkable and loaded it up in IE, slow as mud to the point of being totally unusable. The next person that tells me how great IE is, I am going to punch in the teeth.
  • by Saint Stephen ( 19450 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:43PM (#13928528) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • domain (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Karamchand ( 607798 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:49PM (#13928576)
    I really wonder how much they had to pay for According to whois the domain was just updated on Oct 31.
  • Hoax? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:50PM (#13928590)
    Is this really an official Microsoft site? It looks like it's probably a hoax. Microsoft wouldn't release something this unpolished and clearly inferior to Google's personalized homepage. Microsoft takes Google VERY seriously.

    The first sentence on the page seems like a giveaway: "Your online world gets better when everything works simply and effortlessly together." Microsoft employs lots of good writers; I can't see something like that making its way through to a front page.

    My tracert was inconclusive.
  • by thepotoo ( 829391 ) <[thepotoospam] [at] []> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:51PM (#13928592)
    Microsoft is getting really desperate. They are downright paranoid about us slashdotters, as well they should be. Firefox support (I hope soon) probably means Linux support (interesting... an alternative to WINE, or just useless?) means that they are really panicy about the google situation.

    Also, is it just me, or does firefox do the same thing IE does there? Tried both, and it looks the same, with just the little Firefox users... banner at the top.

  • Bad Move? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by B4L1STA ( 901455 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:54PM (#13928632)
    This seems like it could be the beginning of everything moving to a more web-oriented computer experience. Who needs Windows when you can use Office, MSN, etc. FROM FIREFOX (under Linux). Windows could be left for professionals who need a robust platform to run "real" applications for things like video/image editing, CAD design, etc. Everyday users could do the most basic computer tasks in the same way under Linux as under Windows... I guess even if this kills Windows, Microsoft has a stake in it either way now...
  • by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:56PM (#13928646) Homepage Journal
    Windows Live is a painfully bad rip off of Google's Personal Homepage [].

    I hope you're kidding. It seems, more and more, that there are the deluded who believe that Google, along with Apple, are responsible for everything.

    This is nothing more than a rehash of portals [], such that we saw in the late 90s. Excite was one of the biggest and most configurable portals, and of course many of us configured it, setting up our stocks and our weather, and then never used it again.

    Developers are leaving Microsoft and going to Google in hopes to make millions like early Microsoft employees did.

    It's a bit late for that at Google now: It's too big of a company for that get-rich-quick type nonsense. However it is true that a lot of ex-Microsofters have left to join small startups, or to create one themselves. This is especially true too now that Microsoft is becoming just like every other traditional "where careers go to die" organization.

    Also Microsoft is stuck using their own software as a development platform

    Nonsense. Microsoft's development platform is extraordinarily powerful, and it certainly isn't a detriment that they use it.

    The problem that Microsoft's internet ventures have, and it's always been this way, is that they do the absolute minimum amount possible to ensure that they aren't eviscerated, but no more. If you remember, the IE team smoked Netscape, and then they were promptly disbanded. Why? Because that team and group represented a threat to the Microsoft cash cows - Office and Windows. These "web versions" of Office and Windows are almost laughable - if anything they'll complement, and most certainly they won't replace until Microsoft is on its deathbed and the revenue has completely dried up.
  • by arhines ( 620963 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:57PM (#13928652) Homepage
    I'm not sure what brought you to that conclusion...

    My reaction, avid OSS user that I am, was basically "Wow. This is actually pretty cool - they've surprised me." I needn't point out that google has said publicly that they have no plans to in any way turn into a web-based product, so if anyone has an edge here it is clearly the people who just released a beta of their web-based office suite...
  • difinetly M$$.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xTantrum ( 919048 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:00PM (#13928684) wow, wish i was the one who owned that name. Imagine how much money they payed for it.
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:05PM (#13928723) Homepage Journal
    Remember when Microsoft was going to do this last time? Supposedly Office was going to be sold to users on an ASP (as in Application Service Provider) basis. You'd pay your monthly fee and you'd get to keep running your software. The market didn't care so much for this extortion^W business plan, and Microsoft decided to move to their "forced upgrade" cycles.

    BTW, if anyone is interested, you're not missing anything on I just went there in IE and it immediately tried to install a bunch of spyware crapola. I was not amused. On the bright side, there's a category for Slashdot!
  • by gregbains ( 890793 ) <greg_bains@ho[ ] ['tma' in gap]> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:09PM (#13928746) Homepage Journal
    Slashdot built in! Also it seems to take better use of my screen space, more customisation is possible, it has MY weather - not weather from 50 miles away from me, I use Hotmail more than Gmail (due to pain of updating), and actually easier and nicer to use, IMO
  • by Lucractius ( 649116 ) <Lucractius@gmail.cTOKYOom minus city> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:33PM (#13928900) Journal
    the "market" just doesnt realise they like it.

    HTML & server side scripting are another form of "dumb terminal",
    Hands up if you use a remote X session to a server for something, ditto VNC or NX

    AND suns sunray thin client workstations are works of F***ing art damn it, they can pull more central server based tricks with those than any company buying them could ever want id. there are people that want these kinds of machines because it IS cheaper for them. If you are working on a number of platforms simultaneously with a number of groups/projects, its simpler to deal with one central server (real or virtual) for each reasonably sized team and platform they need and give them all their necessary enviroments. When the projects over theres only one machine to wipe and reinstall, not 10 or 20. They arent for everyone but they arent the rejected has beens you make them out to be.

    Above all. the remote software pardigim is becoming more useful to the end users only now, while there has always been a set of proffessionals and technical types making use of it in various forms. Its only now with the explosion of the (god i hate using this term like this) Web 2.0 revoloution, that they have become aware that they dont have to be stuck on their computer all the time. They dont want to be. they want to be able to show someoen their stuff when theyre vistiting a freinds place, they want to be able to do stuff at work, or on vacation they did at home without the hassle. They want "their stuff" to be more available to them than ever. MS is tapping this in a big way now.

    I just hope it kicks google to counter it, and revamp their now becoming stale personalised page design.

    Minimalism like google is only one way to get a great UI,
    and MS seem to have gotten a good one to counter it subtly.

    overall, im pissed im hearing this from MS, come on google & sun, i cant stand this.
  • by lakin ( 702310 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:39PM (#13928938)
    I dont really feel like this is directly competing with anything google has atm. The Google personalized portal thing is (as many people have already said) basically the same as, both of which bring your internet to one page - frequent sites, news, mail etc. This new windows live seems more like its going to bring together your local pc and your internet life. Granted, it doesnt do much of this at the moment, but the ideas page [] mentions pc files. Make it easy enough to use, and slap an icon on the windows start menu they could easily make this the way people do basically anything with their pc. (Want to work on a word document? Fire up the Windows Live page!)

    Given how limited it is at the moment though, google still has enough chance to make up something that similarly makes you think Google whenever you have a task/problem.

    Personally though, i dont really care who wins, aslong as its not just one company. Whatever google (and yahoo and everyone else) comes up with doesnt need to be a Microsoft killer, it just needs to be something Microsoft cant kill. Otherwise in ten years, microsoft will be going bust and we will all be complaining google has a monopoly over our internet browser office suites with few companies able to use an alternative because of the big discounts google is giving them and the new propriety format meaning it doesnt always look the same. Still, we can always hope one state will demand all departments use Suns version because it uses an open format. And of course, microsoft will start to turn around when they release a new portable device (with a web store) thats more expensive than the current unpopular ones, but it looks soo good... And its ok that they build a monopoly on this device, because they are the good guys and google is the evil empire.
  • Re:No, NO. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rogabean ( 741411 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @09:55PM (#13929033)
    I'm going to bank that they don't hurt Google in the least bit. Google has a customizable portal that I tried using for a while as well. And honestly I ended up back at the original Google page (well truthfully I'm using the suggest version... I love that page).

    When it comes to searching the web... I don't want a portal and I'm going to assume that most people don't care. Portal services I use Yahoo, but I never use Yahoo for searching I use Google. It's simple and clean which is what i want in a search engine.

    Microsoft is likely to hurt Yahoo in the portal arena for me if they can match and surpass what Yahoo currently offers though.

    just my .02 copper though.
  • Re:Hoax? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oztiks ( 921504 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @10:07PM (#13929088)
    I think its real but it is in desperation..

    MS Office makes up a large amount of MS's income with the recent resignation of Offices key executive and just a day after google goes public about contributing actual paid employees into open office it does make you wonder...

    This whole thing looks nice but two things i dont get is a) the slashdot feed is there (linux users haven) and i saw the netscape logo there too b) its all beta beta beta, MS has a reputation of releasing stuff with a little more substance.
  • Re:difinetly M$$.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by imroy ( 755 ) <> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @10:16PM (#13929126) Homepage Journal
    Live555 [] use to have They make various bits of streaming media software. They have a library that's used in compiling MPlayer [] with stream playing support. I wondered why they changed. I thought it was some silly bit of corporate branding, but I guess MS made them an offer they couldn't refuse.
  • by jwjcmw ( 552089 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @10:21PM (#13929143)
    I have been wondering whether all of these new Ajax apps are going to be workable on the client. Especially when you start having multiple applications open at once. I was checking out various calendar apps earlier today (, and others). My machine was seeming pretty sluggish...firefox was taking up over 200MB of memory and constantly using between 25-50% of my cpu...and none of the windows seemed to be doing anything.
  • (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tuross ( 18533 ) <> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @11:00PM (#13929367) Homepage
    It was more than 2 years ago, more like 5 or so. Microsoft put out vapourware press releases about how they were moving from boxing products for sale in stores and instead moving to a subscription model where they host the app and you rent it off them. The reason at the time was that with the popularity of the Internet, *lots* of people were discovering just how bad Microsoft and their products were, and were thinking about subjects like "this really is a buggy, defective product - either fix it or give me my money back". Both of those choices means Microsoft lose money. So instead of selling someone a product which they own, the product is instead rented to them under very strict terms and conditions; we've seen Microsoft EULAs so we know what those terms are like - you can't use it to speak the truth (ie, say how bad Microsoft or their products are), you can't use it to compete with Microsoft in anything, you must sacrifice your firstborn child to the Redmond gods, yadda yadda.

    Since there was such a huge backlash over this idea, they have instead been slowly but surely been edging towards it, sneakily bringing it about anyway. That's what the whole "genuine advantage" thing is about - tracking who is using their stuff so they can bill them via the subscription model once they drop the boxed versions from the shelves and all support. That's why there's this concept of "end-of-life" product with no more support - it's not just about forcing people to buy their same product again, its just getting people used to the idea that instead of a class-action lawsuit for continually defective products, you just upgrade. And if you have to upgrade so often it becomes a pain, maybe its easier to simply subscribe instead rather than buy this stuff you get no support for anyway?

    Your homework is to go find out the other things they have done in the past decade to support their move towards the unaccountable subscription model. It's scary.
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @11:07PM (#13929409) Homepage
    Back in the day when Microsoft were too stubborn/clueless/scared-shitless of thin-client computing, they did everything they could to kill the whole idea of network computing. They would hear nothing about how software would be delivered to lightweight machines over the network.

    When Sun was saying "The Network Is The Computer", Micosoft was busily saying "Network? What Network? There's no network -- Hey, look, Clippy!".

    And, now that they're trotting out what is, oh, what, a 10 or 15 year old idea, they're going to spin this and say they've innovated, and look at what they came up with.

    The simple fact (IMO) is that Microsoft couldn't innovate the shit into a diaper. They rehash ideas other people have done, make incompatible implementations, and bray really loudly about how they're giving the consumer what they want.

    It's only because Google is lining up to completely eat Microsoft's lunch in the area of web-delievered technologies that they're even beginning to look at this market segment. The difference being, Google implements it, releases it (and free SDKs for it), and then moves on to making other stuff. [ Witness an earlier story about a Carmen San Diego-esque game based on Google maps, Google pedometers, and god knows what else I've missed ]

    As has been pointed out by smarter people than I, Google is leaving the actual technology in their wake. Microsoft is leaving press-releases and open-ended promises about what they might deliver in the future.

  • by MinutiaeMan ( 681498 ) * on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @11:26PM (#13929492) Homepage
    Yeah, I checked the page with OmniWeb, and I got the same thing. Not that I'd ever, ever use the product, but I still want to know what they're doing... Even more amusing to me is the fact that they went to the trouble of adding an XHTML DOCTYPE, but it fails validation miserably [].

    Somehow, I have a feeling that Office Live might turn out to be more useful (and practical) than Windows Live. I mean, isn't the whole point of the World Wide Web that your computer's operating system doesn't matter? What features of Windows (other than the crashing, the viruses, the spyware, the buffer overflows...) would be useful via a Web browser instead of the actual operating system? And if there are useful features, wouldn't it make more sense to make these new "Live" services completely platform-independent, in order to lure back those who've been using alternative platforms?

    Office Live, on the other hand, could definitely be useful, assuming it's done right. It would make it easier (and possibly cheaper, though that would really depend on caveats below) for people on non-Microsoft systems to have access to Office's features and file formats, making cross-platform document sharing easier for all platforms, not just Windows and Macintosh. (Seeing how Office for Mac OS X is one of Microsoft's biggest cash cows right now...)

    However, I see a couple of problems with this whole "Live" concept, as Microsoft is approaching it:

    (1) Based on my attempted preview of the pages, the services seem to be Windows-only, at least for now. Why the hell should anyone already using Windows pay for an additional "Windows Live" service? Likewise for Office. Additionally, unless they intend to change the purpose and capabilities of Windows, I'm starting to realize that a Web-based operating system seems like a complete oxymoron, and probably a solution in search of a problem.

    (2) Unlike Google, which would use their rumored OO.o-based service as a means towards getting advertising revenue, Microsoft is almost certainly approaching these products from the perspective of simply edging out competitors and maintaining their stranglehold on the OS and productivity suite markets, and also to boost their revenues by suckering people into subscription-based services. This means that once again, they're probably going to be working on pushing out a product that's "just good enough" (c.f. Internet Explorer) in order to rake in the cash and lock people into their own proprietary system.

    (3) Ownership of data. With the hypothetical Google service and OO.o's use of the OpenDocument standard, the very nature of open source and open standards makes it crystal clear that the user owns the documents that would be created/edited/shared/published via the service. Naturally, by contrast, Microsoft will be seeking to limit the exporting functions, ensuring that once you create a document with their service, you'll have to send them perpetual payments in order to maintain access to that document -- i.e. they own your document.

    "Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny!"
  • by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @12:08AM (#13929652)
    News flash, the only people who complain about Google are the evil corporate masters that you're also supposedly railing against.

    I bitch about Google enough as a user, and I suspect I'm not alone. You see, I don't use WinXP. They have a couple of really good apps that I'd love to see ported to open platforms, Picassa and Google Earth being two worth mentioning.

    It's all well and good to say that Google's pro-open source, but when they fail to actually deliver the cool apps to an open platform, what does that say, exactly?

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @12:47AM (#13929835)
    Sorry to bust your balloon but microsoft is fundamentally dedicated to a world where everyone pays a monthly subscription for microsoft products and there are no competitors and any potential competitors are locked out before they can even get started.

    Fooled me once, shame on me- fooled me at least 15 to 20 times- well I guess I should assume you are trying to fool me on any future attempts. (convicted of stealing competitors products, well known tendency of breaking competitors products by tweaking the operating system, well known tendency to slow competitors products by tweaking the operating system or using illegal API's and still certifying product, bundling, giving away products for free until the competition is dead then never innovating, "embracing and extending" java, j++, the halloween memoes, "collaborating" on products with a competitor and then bringing out their own version using knowledge they picked up during the collaboration, etc. etc. etc.).

    They are not just another large capitalist company. They are something unique and they want to lock that in forever. They bought or drove out of business every legitimate business that competed with them either legally or illegally (Stak/doublespace comes to mind- there are others).

    Trust me, you don't know it but you really do want 4 to 5 solid OS's competing with many different products so that they keep each other honest.
  • Discontinue IE (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gates82 ( 706573 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @12:57AM (#13929881)
    Will this finally rid us of core OS pieces that are supposed to be simple applications? By having all of these services remote it seems that IE could revert to a simple web browser and office wont change how the OS runs, etc. Microsoft could free Windows of all extra (and dangerous) applications that make themselves one with the operating system.

    So who is hotter? Ali or Ali's sister?

  • by patdabiker ( 710704 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @01:15AM (#13929950) Homepage
    It is interesting to note that opening in Safari gives nothing but a search bar; while Firefox you get plenty of content.
  • Obnoxious PR-Speak (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bedouin ( 248624 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @01:24AM (#13929985)
    "It's easy. It's live, and it has 'me' at the center of the universe," said Blake Irving, a Microsoft vice president who was on stage to demonstrate Windows Live.

    Microsoft has the most obnoxious PR-speak of any corporation on earth. On the other hand, Google or Apple would just tell you what their product does and why you need it, usually in one sentence.
  • Re:No, NO. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ZagNuts ( 789429 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @01:26AM (#13929988) Journal
    The point was that if the Microsoft page starts becoming widely used advertisers will have to make the choice between advertising on Microsoft's portal or with Google's Adsense and Adwords, thus reducing Google's revenue by splitting the ad market.
  • by fordracerguy ( 927759 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @01:31AM (#13930010) Homepage
    Microsoft can't even properly support Firefox with Hotmail. I will never once even attempt to log into You know what I mean about hotmail/Firefox... Various little things that don't work right.
  • Re:No, NO. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Retric ( 704075 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:23AM (#13930193)
    Googles advantage with targeted adds is based around the high conversion rate when someone clicks on a Google add they are 2x as likely to buy something from that site as they are from yahoo. Thus people are willing to pay about 2x a much per click for Google adds vs any other type. Now if people really start using Microsoft's portal you might cut into MS's profit's but I don't expect that to be an issue. I use hotmail instead of gmail because I can't connect to gmail at work but I still use Google for search. For MS to cut into Google's profits they are going to have to compete in search AND provide an add service that is as profitable for other sites to use. (Addwords pay's a lot for little space and it fit's in with a lot of websites.) AND take over all the other Google websites that are supported by Addwords.

    PS: Advertisers already have hundreds of options for advertising, as long as people are still looking at websites that are willing to use addwords MS is not goign to cut into Googles profits. In some ways advertising is a zero sum game, but Google is only a tiny fraction of overall advertising. If MS where doing 30billion / year in web adds it would do little to Google's bottom line.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!