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Microsoft hones developer angle on 'Live'

Developers are important customers of Microsoft's Live-branded software-as-a-service initiative and company executives have started to provide some clues on how they will be served.

The company has long had made developer relations a very high priority and the forthcoming Office Live and Windows Live product lines are no exception.

In a recent blog posting, S. "Soma" Somasegar the vice president in charge of Microsoft's developer division gave a glimpse of the company's thinking.

"We will not only offer Windows Live and Office Live as consumer services but also make them available as rich development platforms. Developers will be able to customize, enhance and innovate on top of these services," Soma wrote.

He mentioned two "mash-up" scenarios. Without a lot of programming, a developer will be able to combine information from one program with Microsoft's Virtual Earth mapping service in a real-estate application. Another is integrating search queries directly into a Windows application.

Microsoft's success in wooing developers to its online Web properties is significant in its competition with Google. The search giant typically releases well documented developer interfaces, or APIs, to encourage developers to write applications that drive Web traffic.

Launched in November following a major reorganization, Microsoft's Live products are meant to help Microsoft garner more revenue from online services. It has indicated that some Live products, such as Office Live, will be designed to complement existing software with online services.

Microsoft's flagship development tool as well.

Code-named Tuscany, a Live product that accompanies Visual Studio is now being considered and designed, according to Microsoft executive John Montgomery. He said that the product will likely include features to foster collaboration between developers