On Nov. 1, 2005, Microsoft Corp. previewed for the first time two new software-based service offerings called Windows Live™ and Microsoft Office Live. Designed to deliver rich and seamless experiences to individuals and small businesses, the new offerings combine the power of software plus services and provide compelling enhancements to Microsoft Windows® and Microsoft Office products. In particular, Windows Live helps bring together all the elements of an individual’s digital world while Office Live helps small companies do business online. In the same way that Xbox Live® enhanced the value of Xbox® by marrying the power of the Internet with the richness of software and hardware, these new offerings will deliver similar value to customers. Below is more information on each of Microsoft’s live offerings.
Windows Live™ is a set of personal Internet services and software designed to bring together in one place all of the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with more safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web. Some Windows Live services entered an early beta phase on Nov. 1, 2005; these and future beta updates can be found at http://ideas.live.com.
Microsoft’s research shows that people increasingly are spending more time online, but many are frustrated with the fragmented nature of their Internet experience. Windows Live is designed for people who want to easily manage and create their information, interests and relationships, saving them time and effort and allowing them to better manage their life and their world. Designed to put the individual in control by offering complete choice and customization, Windows Live looks to seamlessly bring together the information, relationships and interests they care about along the following four pillars.
Find and Discover Information
Windows Live will provide individuals with the tools to easily find and organize important information, no matter where it is:
Live.com. The Windows Live home page, Live.com, is a software-powered service that enables consumers to build a fully personalized home page that automatically delivers the information they want, no matter who published it, so they can stay on top of the news, blogs, RSS feeds and other information they really care about. Live.com will become the place to seamlessly access other Windows Live services and will serve as a great place to experience Windows Live Search. Live.com will deliver a new, innovative, search-driven experience that will make it an effective place to perform Internet searches. It includes features such as searching for RSS feeds (news, for example), and allows a user to easily add these feeds directly to the page as well as saving persistent searches. Live.com will also be a platform for third-party developers to build and deliver customized services, called “gadgets,” to customers. Live.com is available in beta form at http://www.live.com, and more information can be found at http://ideas.live.com. Windows Live will be offered alongside MSN, which will be the destination for compelling programmed content experiences to consumers. Windows Live services will be available on MSN, and the trusted content from MSN.com can be consumed by people using Live.com, should they choose to make it a part of their personal online experience. Microsoft expects many customers will use both MSN.com and Live.com, which will be made easy via a seamless experience.
Windows Live Search. With expected delivery in 2006, Windows Live Search will deliver powerful and personal search services that help consumers find what they are looking for on the Web, their desktop, their mobile device or in their local geographic area, such as instant answers, documents, pictures, multimedia content, local information and immersive maps. Windows Live Search will be a core element of the overall Windows Live experience, powering compelling scenarios across the Windows Live services.
Enhance and Deepen Relationships
Windows Live will provide users with a set of new and more meaningful ways to communicate and share with the people they care about:
Windows Live™ Mail. Windows Live Mail is Microsoft’s new, global Web mail service, built from the ground up to be faster, safer and simpler while delivering powerful new customer scenarios. Currently in limited beta testing, Windows Live Mail will continue to evolve through customer feedback, scaling to more customers over the coming months. MSN® Hotmail® customers will be able to use Windows Live Mail with their existing Hotmail ID. People can sign up to join the Windows Live Mail beta at http://ideas.live.com.
Windows Live™ Messenger. Windows Live Messenger builds on MSN Messenger to help people develop even deeper connections with the people they care about through a variety of experiences — from communication to sharing. Future enhancements will enable people to place PC-based calling through Windows Live Messenger (this feature will be provided through third-party commercial relationships). Windows Live Messenger will also allow users to more easily share files such as their personal pictures and documents with their contacts. People can learn more about the Windows Live Messenger beta in the coming months at http://ideas.live.com.
Windows Live™ Favorites is a service that enables individuals to access their Microsoft Internet Explorer and MSN Explorer favorites from any PC that’s online. The service is currently in beta form at http://ideas.live.com.
Windows Live for mobile devices. People do not always have easy access to a PC, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to access their important communications or information via Windows Live services. Microsoft is working to ensure that Windows Live services including Windows Live Mail and Windows Live Messenger and more are available through mobile devices — from rich experiences on Microsoft Windows Mobile®-powered devices to basic Internet-enabled phones.
Explore and Find New Interests
Windows Live will deliver new ways for customers to discover and explore:
Social Networking. Social Networking features for Windows Live will be based on the people whom customers know rather than strangers who may visit their blog or Web site. Social Networking in Windows Live will be centered on a customer’s unified contact list, enabling the user to find and connect with people who have similar interests, but may be new to his or her social circle. Customers will be able to choose and control who has access to discover and connect with them.
Windows Live Spaces. Microsoft will continue to invest in services that help people express themselves, and find, connect and nurture deeper relationships with others around the world. MSN Spaces will transition to Windows Live Spaces as Microsoft adds new features to the service next year.
Protection and Performance
Windows Live will offer consumers a set of tools and services to help keep their computing experience safer:
Windows Live™ Safety Center. Helping protect customers is important to Microsoft. The Windows Live Safety Center is a free, Web-based, on-demand service that will enable customers to scan their PC for viruses and clean their PC, as well as perform other tasks to help protect their PC and Windows Live services. Windows Live Safety Center is currently in beta form and can be accessed through http://ideas.live.com.
Windows OneCare™ Live. Customers will be able to take the health of their PC to the next level with Windows OneCare Live, a robust subscription service that not only helps protect your PC from viruses and spyware, but also helps ensure that it continues to run well by keeping it up to date and helping make sure the system is maintained regularly. Windows OneCare Live will also manage backups to help give customers peace of mind that they won’t lose the information, photos, music, documents or other files on their PC that are important to them. Windows OneCare Live is currently in managed beta testing, and people can nominate themselves participate at http://ideas.live.com.
Integrated protection. Beyond the Windows Live Safety Center and Windows OneCare Live, Microsoft is also making many more investments to help protect customers as they use Windows Live services, such as the Microsoft Phishing Filter, currently available for the MSN Search Toolbar and which will be available in the future for Windows Live Search customers, Smartscreen spam and phishing filtering for Windows Live Mail, and much more.
Microsoft Office Live
The initial Microsoft Office Live offerings will provide small businesses with an affordable set of Internet-based business services hosted by Microsoft to help them establish, manage and grow their business through a professional digital identity as well as collaboration and business management tools that traditionally have required dedicated server and IT resources to operate. Microsoft will introduce a beta version of Microsoft Office Live — a set of Internet-based business services that can work on their own or enhance the experience of customers using the Microsoft Office System of products, servers and services, such as Microsoft Office Live Meeting and Microsoft Office Small Business Edition — in the U.S. in early 2006.
The initial release will be available in three versions: Microsoft Office Live Basics, Microsoft Office Live Essentials and Microsoft Office Live Collaboration. This services offering will help small businesses establish an Internet domain and manage their business and customer relationships via the Web in a more integrated and affordable way — from free, advertiser-supported services to some available on a subscription basis. Customers can register for the waiting list for the Microsoft Office Live beta at http://www.officelive.com.
Office Live offers Internet services for running a growing business:
Microsoft Office Live Basics. This advertising-supported, free-to-customer offer provides small businesses the basics required for establishing a digital identity, including company domain name, a hosted Web site with 30 megabytes of storage, five e-mail accounts with their own domain names, a WYSIWYG Web designer for quickly designing a Web site and Web analytics to analyze the resulting traffic.
Microsoft Office Live Essentials. Microsoft Office Live Essentials will provide customers what they need to establish and manage a small business; company domain name, Web site space, 50 e-mail accounts with their own domain names, WYSIWYG Web designer to design a Web site, FrontPage support for advanced Web design, advanced Web analytics to analyze the resulting traffic, and a range of hosted small business applications to automate daily business tasks such as customer management, project management and document management. These hosted services can work on their own or enhance the experience of customers using the Microsoft Office programs, servers and services, such as Microsoft Office Live Meeting and Microsoft Office Small Business Edition.
Microsoft Office Live Collaboration. This offering will provide a range of hosted, cost-effective business management tools that are affordably managed and maintained by Microsoft. Capabilities include customer management, project management, document management and a private Web site for collaborating among employees as well as externally with customers, suppliers and contractors. Office Live is designed to provide a complete, affordable and easy-to-use solution that can be used alone via the Web or with popular Microsoft Office programs.
Benefits for Small Businesses
Microsoft Office Live will benefit small businesses by addressing their most pressing needs to grow new customers, retain existing ones and keep ahead of the competition:
Free professional Web site with the company’s own domain name and free e-mail accounts expertly hosted by Microsoft
A private, online work space for organizing and managing customer and business information
A complete set of tools and small-business management applications for managing time, tasks, projects and company data that integrate with existing Microsoft Office programs
The company’s own work space to collaborate with employees, customers, partners, suppliers and contractors
An extensible platform for solutions customized for the business delivered by Microsoft Certified Partners
Microsoft delivers live experiences today with Xbox Live and will continue to advance the software-plus-services experience with the release of Xbox Live services for Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system later this year.
Xbox Live continues to transform and unite Xbox game communities worldwide, with more than 300 games planned by end of holiday 2005 for Xbox and Xbox 360 and a presence in 24 countries worldwide. As the first global, unified, online console games service, Xbox Live continues to take online gameplay and entertainment to unprecedented heights. With a dynamic, global community of over 2 million members, Xbox Live offers best-in-class games, intelligent matchmaking, tournaments, unique programming and integration with Xbox.com — there is simply nothing else like it. The service continues to provide more and more ways for members to meet, interact and stay engaged with each other:
Multiple levels of service.* Xbox Live now offers new levels of service to get everyone in the game. Gamers are constantly connected, no matter what they are doing on the system:
With the Xbox Live Silver level, gamers can create their own digital identity with an Xbox Live gamertag and personalized Gamer Profile, send and receive text and voice messages, access the Xbox Live Marketplace and Xbox Live Arcade, engage in voice and text messaging*, and launch private one-on-one voice chats with their friends.*
Xbox Live Gold level is a paid level of service and has all the features of the Silver level, plus the ability to play multiplayer games online, exclusive privileges and rewards on Xbox Live Marketplace, multiplayer online tournaments, achievements and stats, and access to Xbox Live programs such as Game with Fame™, Play and Win and Prime Time.
Xbox Live Marketplace. Coming soon is the Xbox Live Marketplace, a download center for additional game-related content such as free trailers and demos as well as premium content that adds more to games, such as new levels, characters and weapons.
Ubiquitous voice chat. Gamers can now chat with friends anytime, while doing anything on their Xbox 360 system, regardless of subscription level
Gamer Profile. On Xbox Live, all members have the ability to create their own Gamer Profile, which is a summary of their preferences, achievements and online personality. Elements of a Gamer Profile include a gamer card to look at key stats of a challenger; gamerscore, which is a cumulative score of all achievements and enables gamers to quickly compare profiles between other gamers; reputation, a rating provided by the community that indicates how players are perceived by other players; and much more.
The Xbox Live service for Xbox 360 will be available at the launch of Xbox 360 on Nov. 22, 2005, in North America; Dec. 2, 2005, in Europe; and Dec. 10, 2005, in Japan.
Xbox Live Arcade on Xbox 360
Xbox Live Arcade is a central destination for Xbox 360 gamers to discover, download, try and buy smaller game titles directly on an Xbox 360 console.
With Xbox Live Arcade for Xbox 360, casual gamers will find a wide variety of game genres available for download, including action arcade titles, coin-op and retro classics, puzzle games, casual sports games, light strategy titles, and card and board games. Xbox Live Arcade games are easy to buy and easy to start playing quickly.
Every game in the Xbox Live Arcade will have a free, fully playable trial version that any Xbox Live Gold or Silver member can download onto their hard drive or memory unit. Gamers can check out all the games and decide to unlock only the games they want to permanently play. Once the full version of the game is unlocked, it is added to the user’s Xbox Live Arcade collection and is always available for play (with or without their being connected to Xbox Live).*
*Paid Gold subscription required for online multiplayer, co-op and some downloads. Some Xbox Live services require additional hardware (e.g., headset and camera) and fees. Broadband Internet service (sold separately), Passport account, and hard drive or memory unit required.
Microsoft, Windows Live, Windows, Xbox Live, Xbox, MSN, Hotmail, Windows Mobile, Windows OneCare, Xbox 360 and Game with Fame are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
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