Microsoft Cleans The Panes On Windows Live
Microsoft’s collection of services under the WindowsLive.com banner received a little attention from the company’s makeover artists.
It’s probably a good thing Microsoft turned its marketing staffers loose on WindowsLive.com, because quite frankly we’d lost track of what they were doing with their ur-portal of services. The company spends so much time promoting things like Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger separately, it’s easy to lose track of what else they offer.
The new push as noted by Microsoft’s Marty Collins comes from the community aspects of WindowsLive.com. They’re emphasizing the user-generated content aspect of the main site, in the form of testimonials.
The Vista operating system receives a mention, so it’s likely this latest push comes as part of the Vista branding message. Vista earned, deservedly, criticism for some shortcomings, and no less a Microsoft luminary than Bill Gates wondered what the hell was going on with his company’s signature OS in a legendary rant from 2003.
It could be that Microsoft finally realized that people who know them for software may not know them as well for other services. Google picks up fawning admiration, mostly, when they release something new as an online service. Other than Virtual Earth, Microsoft hasn’t excited the imagination as much.
Though they offer some useful services, Microsoft is as much a walled garden as are Google or Yahoo, IM interoperability efforts notwithstanding. They dare not try and tie WindowsLive.com services too tightly to their OS or the Internet Explorer browser, lest they raise the ire of antitrust overseers in Washington.
In a way that’s a shame, and we say this as long-time observers of Microsoft’s shenanigans over the past couple of decades. They were a vicious competitor on numerous fronts, and only Gates’ blind spot for the Internet in the early years of the World Wide Web kept them from becoming as powerful online as they are on the desktop.
Maybe Collins and her team can persuade people to yawn at Yahoo and gloss over Google in favor of Windows Live services. There are some good services under the Live banner, and if they help enhance the perception of Vista, particularly among back to school computer purchasers, they may be able to build a little brand loyalty among those young computer users.