Microsoft Commits to Windows Live

Microsoft said Monday that it was committing fully to Windows Live, with 20 new services currently in various stages of testing. The company says it is making "tremendous progress," mainly due to its engagement of consumers in the beta development process.

Windows Live Messenger is the first global product from the lineup to come out of beta, and the company says others would soon follow. The instant messaging client was selected as the first to exit beta because of its importance in tying other Live services together.

"In many ways Windows Live Messenger is one of the main hubs of Windows Live," Windows Live and MSN corporate vice president Martin Taylor said. "Windows Live Messenger also is the first core service that incorporates the sleek user interface and look-and-feel that will be used across all of the Windows Live services."

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The company additionally plans to extend more invitations to Hotmail users to invite them to try the Windows Live Mail beta. Taylor said that Microsoft is focused on making the transition as smooth as possible.

"We're committed to delivering a set of services that puts all users firmly in control of their individual experiences on the Web and enables them to more easily stay connected, informed and protected," he said of future services. Microsoft believes that online communication is changing, and quickly becoming a part of their daily life.

The company also plans to open up the Windows Live platform eventually to allow advertisers, developers and businesses to build their services on top of Windows Live. An SDK is currently in beta testing.

"Windows Live is a huge growth opportunity for Microsoft," Taylor said. As such, the company plans to dedicate $1.1 billion of the company's $6.2 billion 2007 research budget to Windows Live services. "This doesn't mean that Microsoft is backing away from our other core businesses," he added.

Taylor elaborated on future Windows Live launch plans as well. Windows Live Custom Domains will officially launch in the coming weeks, while Windows Live Spaces, Friends-of-Friends Social Networking, and Windows Live Expo will launch during the summer. More innovations in search and live.com are coming soon.

"This is an exciting time for services as well as for Microsoft, and there's more to come," Taylor said.

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