October 22 marks one year since the release of Windows 7. This is a huge milestone for Windows and for Microsoft. Windows 7 has already sold 240 million copies, more than any other operating system in the same timeframe and helping bring us to 1.2 billion people using Windows worldwide. This is something we’re both honored and humbled by, and we wanted to share some of the other highlights for Windows during the past year.
As you know, your Windows experience is more than the Windows 7 operating system. It’s about how you connect to the sites and services you love with Internet Explorer, how you connect with your people and your stuff through Windows Live, and how you do all of this across your devices – whether that’s your PC running Windows 7, a new mobile phone using Windows Phone 7, or another device.
The complete Windows experience
To enable websites to provide a better web on Windows, we released a number of platform previews of Internet Explorer 9 over the last few months, leading up to the first public beta of Internet Explorer 9 in mid-September. Since then, we’ve already seen 6 million downloads of IE9, far outstripping the adoption rate for Internet Explorer 8. We believe this is driven by the way that sites are now at the center of your browsing experience in IE9, and the way that Internet Explorer’s faster web browsing platform lets you take better advantage of everything the PC has to offer.
This week, Windows Phone 7 started to become available around the world, starting first in New Zealand, and then releasing in other countries in Asia and Europe. Windows Phone 7 availability will continue to spread around the world in the coming weeks and months, with 60 mobile operators already planning to provide new Windows Phone devices. Windows Phone 7 is a huge reinvention of the modern smart phone, including a fundamentally different design paradigm, with unique new concepts like dynamically updated “live tiles” and easy-to-navigate hubs that make your phone a pleasure to use (according to Gizmodo). And through Internet Explorer and Windows Live, Windows Phone also makes it easy to connect to your sites, your people, and your stuff.
And that brings us to Windows Live. This past year has been a huge one for us too, with a ton of new product releases, a lot of valuable feedback from our customers, and some great early momentum on the latest Windows Live release. Let’s take a quick look back on the last year.
Completing the Windows 7 experience with Windows Live Essentials
Windows Live Essentials is a suite of applications designed to complete your Windows PC experience. In June, we released a beta of the new Windows Live Essentials, and got very valuable feedback from millions of you, which led to a refresh of the beta in August, and the final Windows Live Essentials 2011 in September.
The new Windows Live Essentials 2011 includes:
- Windows Live Messenger lets you stay in touch with your friends by chatting with them on Messenger, Facebook, Yahoo! Messenger, Lync, and Xbox, and by viewing and commenting on their social updates from Messenger, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and over 75 other websites that you can connect to in Messenger.
- Windows Live Mail helps you keep track of your email, calendar, and contacts from Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail Plus, and other email services.
- Windows Live Writer makes it easy to update your blog on Wordpress.com, Blogger, TypePad, and many more blogging services.
- Window Live Photo Gallery helps you organize and share photos with your friends on SkyDrive, Flickr, SmugMug, Facebook, and other photo sharing services.
- Windows Live Movie Maker makes it easy to create a high-quality video and instantly share it with friends on SkyDrive, YouTube, and other video sharing sites.
- Windows Live Mesh helps you sync your files, folders, and settings across your PCs (or even your Mac!) and to connect back to your PC from virtually any computer.
- Windows Live Family Safety gives you the tools to help keep your kids safer on the Internet.
Delivering the next generation of personal email with Hotmail
Whether it’s on your PC or on the phone, Windows Live Hotmail has made enormous strides in the last year. We released a series of updates that have changed personal email for hundreds of millions of people, and we’re proud to hear how Hotmail is making your lives more efficient. We now have over 360 million active Hotmail users who are receiving 8 billion email messages daily and storing over 150 petabytes of photos, documents, and other data on our servers.
Here are some Hotmail highlights from the past year.
- In June, we delivered the first set of Hotmail updates that made possible a whole new level of personal productivity from your inbox. With new features like Sweep and automatic filtering, Hotmail helps you keep your inbox clutter free, and saves you time on common tasks like sending photos.
- Hotmail also became integrated with the new Office Web Apps, so that you can view, edit, and share Word docs, Excel workbooks, PowerPoint presentations, and OneNote notebooks, all from within Hotmail. In the first 100 days after Office Web Apps launched in the US, UK, Canada, and Ireland, we had over 20 million customers for these apps, a number that is pretty phenomenal for a first generation service that’s had virtually no advertising.
- At the end of August, we added Exchange Active Sync to Hotmail, so you could access your email, contacts, and calendar from your smart phone.
- In September, Office Web Apps became even more robust, with the ability to embed your Office docs in websites and blogs, and mobile access to your Excel spreadsheets.
- That update was quickly followed by several new security updates to help keep hijackers out of your Hotmail account.
Connecting the services you use with Windows Live
As I discussed in my blog about our approach to partnerships, partnering with the sites and services you already know and love is an integral part of the Windows Live strategy. As I’ve already mentioned, we’ve brought great services like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and over 75 other websites into Messenger. Similarly, we’ve deeply integrated great services like Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and TypePad into Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, and Writer. With Hotmail, we’ve made email from other companies more interactive through Active Views that let you track packages and view attachments, right from your inbox. And in September, we announced a huge new partnership with WordPress.com as the premier blogging experience for Windows Live customers.
We also released the beta version of Messenger Connect in June of this year, allowing developers from all over the web to quickly and easily connect their apps and their users to Messenger and Hotmail. This enables hundreds of millions of customers to more easily share stuff they’re doing across the web with their Messenger friends, and enables our partners to embed the world’s largest instant messaging network directly into their sites. After collecting feedback from over 2500 developers using the beta, last week we released a much improved final version of Messenger Connect.
Through Messenger Connect and our partnerships with leading websites and social aggregators, over 2 million sites now allow people to share content with their friends via Messenger.
As we talked about in our discussion on partnering, this is a new approach for Windows Live over the last few years and is now fundamental to how we deliver great consumer experiences. And in the words of Frederic Lardinois of ReadWriteWeb, “The Microsoft Tanker Has Turned and You Ignore it at Your Own Peril.”
Lighting up your phone with Windows Live
Last but not least, this year has been a big one for mobile phone integration. With the new Windows Phone, you’ll get direct integration with Hotmail, Messenger, and SkyDrive. It’s never been easier to share photos from your mobile phone than with the new Windows Phone 7. Once you connect your phone to Windows Live, every photo you take is automatically uploaded for you to SkyDrive, so you can access it from anywhere, and share it with anyone you want.
We also released our first Messenger app for iPhone and subsequently made several updates to this app. Beyond letting you chat with your friends and see their updates, improvements over the last few months have included adding Facebook chat, and translating our app into 31 languages.
It's been an exciting year
We’re very excited about all that Windows Live has been able to release in the last 12 months, and how this connects with Internet Explorer, Windows Phone, and Windows 7 to bring together the full Windows promise.
Of course, the thing that really makes this worthwhile is our customers, and seeing how you adopt and use our products. So, on behalf of the entire Windows Live team, we want to thank you all for the last year, and I hope you’ll join us in wishing Windows 7 a very happy first birthday!
Director, Windows Live Product Management
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