HolidayBuyer's Guide

Microsoft's "Live" debut and dead air

Microsoft's long awaited stake in the Web ground is a work in progress, it seems.


Sure, Windows Live and Office Live, unveiled by Bill Gates and his services chief Ray Ozzie on Tuesday, point toward Microsoft's ideas for competing with the likes of Google, Yahoo and

There's a new focus on Web ad revenue, and even a glimmer of new services--virus scanning, Internet-to-telephone calling and Web hosting--that will pit Microsoft against some all-new competitors. More services will likely be disclosed over the coming months.

Unfortunately, what most bloggers recall on the day after the announcement is the bungled demo. Just minutes after Blake Irving, a Microsoft vice president, uttered the words: "It's easy. It's live, and it has 'me' at the center of the universe," his closely watched demo died.

Blog community response:

"...holy freakin' crap on a keyboard, what does it take for this company to actually do a demo right the first time!?!...I'm sure we had talented, well meaning, earnest people working really hard to get the presentation together and all, but... I'd be much happier for you to be employed elsewhere. If you can't put a demo together in front of such an important crowd, you don't need to be working at Microsoft."

"...the net went down halfway through the presentation, just as they were getting to the demo, which was a total wipeout, biggest failure I've seen in almost 30 years in the biz. I think there's a pretty good chance they cut off our net access so we couldn't write about it real-time, if so, it was a brilliant move, but an act of desperation. Or maybe they got lucky...But they're going to have to do much more than they did today."
--Scripting News

"After using Windows Live for a little bit, I'm pretty surprised that this is their attempt to compete with My Yahoo, My Google, and My AOL. The initial experience is poor; the site has little or no value until it is customized. Most users won't bother with the effort of extensive customization. Windows Live needs to provide a great initial experience and be trivially easy to use before it's going to appeal to the mainstream."
--Geeking with Greg

"Microsoft realizes the power of being able to build an integrated experience across a hardware device, a software application, and an internet service. Microsoft has more than a decade of experience with hardware devices, and has been involved in everything from game consoles to phones, PDAs, automobiles, and more. This may turn out to be a trump card that gives Microsoft an advantage against players like Google and Yahoo!"
--O'Reilly Radar