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At Mix, Microsoft's Windows Live platform group loosens up

Microsoft will offer more entice business terms to use its Live online services and open up new APIs for its Windows Live Spaces user data.

Microsoft next week at its Mix '07 conference plans to detail more generous business terms for partners to use its Live online services and to open up new application programming interfaces for Windows Live Spaces.

The company will allow outside developers--which can be at commercial enterprises--to build mash-up applications that generate up to one million unique user visits at their sites per month for free. Beyond that, Microsoft will charge 25 cents per user per year or look to establish a business relationship where it can deliver online ads to those sites, company executives said.

In addition, Microsoft will provide APIs to photos or contact information for its Windows Live Spaces users if they give permission. Windows Live Spaces is Microsoft's social networking site where people can post blogs, share photos and other information.

The goal is to drive traffic to Microsoft's Web properties and entice Web businesses to use Microsoft products and services, executives said.

"One of the innovations we will enable is to allow you to build a commercial business free and clear on these sets of services," John Richards director of product management for Microsoft's Windows Live Platform.

The company has tried to unify the business terms that let outsiders use its APIs and create consistent technical offering that they can count on for a few years, said George Moore, general manager of platform strategy for Windows Live.

Getting access to content from a person's contact lists--which is also covered under the free one million unique users per month threshold--can generate some potentially interesting mash-up applications, Richards said.

For example, an application could pull birthday dates from a person's contact information and automatically send a song via a music-sharing site.

At Mix, will show demonstration of how it has integrated Microsoft's instant messaging within its Web site via APIs. The integration will allow people to anonymously send messages to members.

Microsoft will offer the ability to let other sites integrate presence information through Windows Live Messenger within 90 days, Richards said.

In other changes, Microsoft will raise the limit on the number of free queries that can be done by commercial business from 10,000 to 25,000 per day or 750,000 queries per month.

Also at Mix, Microsoft is expected to release a beta of its Silverlight cross-platform browser plug in.