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Windows Live? Really, I thought Windows meant it was an OS, so why not?

Windows Live? Really, I thought Windows meant it was an OS, so why not?

Let’s have some fun and make a basic assumption or two: –

    1. Today most computers are connected via Broadband (fast) internet.
    2. Many of these computers are connected from the moment you boot and login to your OS.

The paradigm of the stand-alone client desktop might still have a place in the home but with more home users having multiple computers connected via wireless routers the concept seems to be fading into obscurity.


Windows Live (formerly provides a series of services that either supplement or replace large parts of the Client OS Desktop infrastructure: –

Live service What does it do? What could it replace in Windows OS? Login Gives user access over services / data Windows Login
Live Sync Sync: Live to one or many Computers ActiveSync and or SyncToy
Skydrive online storage: cloud hard disk My Documents Home page Aggregation of Live services Windows Desktop
People Contacts for services and network Address Book
Mail Hotmail web or client app Outlook Express
Calendar Handling schedule / events  
Messenger Instant Messenger
Photo Gallery Create / Add / Collaborate Photos My Pictures
Movie Maker Windows Vista/ 7 Movie Suite Windows Movie Maker
Live Writer Blog publishing tool 3rd party applications
Toolbar Enables browser shortcut access to Live services
Live Favorites Favorite URLs stored under your Live account Favorites
Family Safety Permission based web experience filtering / monitoring 3rd party applications
One Care Combined safety / cleanup / tune-up tools 3rd party Antivirus / Anti-spyware or Windows Defender, Disk Cleanup, Defragmenter
Spaces Personal / shareable landing page
Office Live Workspaces (Apparently) Sharepoint like collaborative workspace for Office documents Sharing folders in Windows Explorer within a Workgroup or Domain
Live Mobile Live services via Mobile web browser with SMS enabled alerts in many countries

As you can see from the table above the list is extensive of services that are offered for free. The 3rd column in the chart "What could it replace.." is based on my belief that if Microsoft insist on branding Live services as Windows Live then the following should be true or at least optional to the Windows user: –

    1. Windows Live Services should be fully integrated into Windows Client OS – the user should have the option of selecting this integration on first installation of Windows and the services that are Live should fully replace those locally. (for example)
      1. Login to the PC should be the Live login which brings the local and Live services online.
      2. My Documents should map to the user’s Skydrive which should replicate the folder structure of local My Documents.
      3. Internet Explorer should display Live Favorites as default maintaining a synchronized local backup copy.
      4. etc.
    2. Windows should then provide a bandwidth monitoring system that moderates the proportion of bandwidth being used by Live services e.g. frequency of sync.

The key for Live to fully leverage its benefit as a core part of any Windows OS is allowing seamless collaboration and  sharing.

The user will benefit from the following: –

    1. Easy scalable shared resources.
    2. Take anywhere data, documents, settings, permissions etc.
    3. Less CPU and Memory resource usage for various services within the OS instead of which this load is placed on the Live web application server. This being Windows one can assume this is built on IIS technology.
    4. Integration between mobile devices and desktop computers.
    5. The ability for any user to create Domain / Workgroups on the fly and assign access / permissions easily.
    6. and others …

This has been an idea that has been permeating in my head for several years starting with Favorites. It was always a source of something between bemusement and frustration why your Web browser stores Favorites, Contacts or Events by default locally. To use your browser you need to be online!

What will it take for Microsoft to take this leap? The event in question may have occurred when HP purchased Palm and their proprietary Web OS. However, will the EU and other regulatory bodies see this as another opportunity to slap Microsoft with antitrust / antimonopoly lawsuits if this technology comes pre-installed as part of Windows?

webos HP

I guess if Steve Ballmer agrees with me then time will tell. Do feel free to let me know what you think; do you want your next Windows OS to be Live?


Windows 7 already got rid of Outlook Express and added Windows Mail, that integrates Windows Live Mail.

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