Today, Windows Live services are used by over 500 million people every month. There has been a lot of discussion recently on what constitutes an “active” user of a service; for the purposes of this post this term refers to people who use Hotmail, SkyDrive, or Messenger at least once a month, meaning they send email, use instant messaging, or upload files to SkyDrive.
These services run at massive scale – Hotmail is the world’s leading web email service, with 350 million active users and 105 petabytes of storage; Messenger is the world’s leading instant messaging service, with 300 million active users, and SkyDrive has over 130 million users with 17 million of these uploading files every month. Windows Live Essentials applications are among the most popular applications in their categories on Windows – including Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Movie Maker, leading in photo management and video editing, and Windows Live Mail, second only to Microsoft Outlook in mail apps.
While these results are certainly noteworthy, they still did not meet our expectations of a truly connected experience. Windows Live services and apps were built on versions of Windows that were simply not designed to be connected to a cloud service for anything other than updates, and as a result, they felt “bolted on” to the experience. This created some amount of customer confusion, which is noted in several reviews and editorials. The names we used to describe our products added to that complexity: we used “Windows Live" to refer to software for your PC (Windows Live Essentials), a suite of web-based services (Hotmail, SkyDrive, and Messenger), your account relationship with Microsoft (Windows Live ID), and a host of other offers.
Windows 8 provides us with an opportunity to reimagine our approach to services and software and to design them to be a seamless part of the Windows experience, accessible in Windows desktop apps, Windows Metro style apps, standard web browsers, and on mobile devices. Today the expectation is that a modern device comes with services as well as apps for communication and sharing. There is no “separate brand” to think about or a separate service to install – it is all included when you turn on your PC for the first time.
We also believe that you should have a choice and control over what services you use, what information you share (with others and Microsoft), and how you access your services. That’s why using any of these services is optional, and you’re welcome to mix and match them with the software and services you choose.
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When you connect a device or service to your Microsoft account, you’re automatically provisioned with a set of cloud services, includinga contact list, calendar, inbox, instant messaging, and cloud storage. Of course these services connect to your PC and your Windows Phone, they’re accessible from any web browser, and they’re accessible to different apps if the developer of the app implements our API. Because these services are a part of your Microsoft account, they are shared across all Microsoft products and services. For example your contact list is shared across Windows Phone, Windows 8, Hotmail, Messenger, and SkyDrive, so when you add a contact in one place, it shows up in the cloud and on all of your other devices and services.
Windows 8 also uses cloud services to roam settings across your PCs so you can log in to a new PC and pick up right where you left off. Along with a Microsoft account, everyone gets a SkyDrive, which is cloud storage for documents, photos, your phone’s camera roll, and settings from your PC. SkyDrive powers the Windows Phone camera roll, so every picture you take is automatically copied to your cloud photo album. SkyDrive makes it easy for you to share and collaborate on Office documents, either using Office Web Apps or Office client applications. And developers can use the SkyDrive APIs to provide an even deeper level of roaming and support in their apps if they choose. Through the innovative features of Contracts and File Pickers in Windows 8, you can access your SkyDrive data from within any Windows 8 Metro style app.
We recognize that customers will have services from many different companies, particularly for social networking and communications. So we let you connect your Microsoft account to other services. Just like our contact list, your connected services are stored in the cloud and roam across your devices. This means that if you connect your Microsoft account to LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, your contacts from these networks show up in your contact list, so you can send them email from your PC or call them from your phone. We also support 3rd party developers through the Live SDK, allowingdevelopers to cloud-power their Metro style apps, or apps and services for other platforms. Our APIs use standard and familiar protocols including OAuth 2.0, JSON, REST, Exchange ActiveSync, and XMPP.
Windows 8 is designed to be cloud-powered, so it comes with Metro style apps for communication, sharing, scheduling, photos, and videos. Preview versions of these apps come installed with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and include Mail, Calendar, People, Photos, Messaging, and SkyDrive. They’re all powered by cloud services, so when you sign in with your Microsoft account, your email, calendar, contacts, messages, and shared photo albums show up right in your apps. For customers who have shared family PCs, family safety is now a feature of Windows accounts and no longer requires a separate download. As we’ve discussed before, Windows Phone comes with the same set of apps, powered by cloud services, and connected to your Microsoft account. For customers who use Windows 7, we have a set of Windows desktop apps, including Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mail, Messenger, Family Safety, and our recently released SkyDrive for the Windows desktop.
The chart below breaks down our software and services in the new world of Windows 8:
|API (dev. |
[TD="width: 72"] Account
[TD="width: 72"] Storage/
[TD="width: 72"] Email
[TD="width: 72"] Calendar
[TD="width: 72"] Contacts
[TD="width: 72"] Messaging
[TD="width: 72"] Photos/ Videos
- NT4 SP6
- Cyrix 266 mmx
- Graphics Card(s)
- Sound Card
- Monitor(s) Displays
- 14' CRT
- Screen Resolution
- Hard Drives
- 200mb Seagate
- 2 button
- Internet Speed