Microsoft Corp.s Web site Live.com has over the past few days added a new feature aimed at owners of Internet domains.
The new facet can be found at www.live.com, which Microsoft uses to deliver some of its software products. The Live.com Web site debuted about three weeks ago.
At Live.com, Microsoft now supplies e-mail and instant messaging features for any Internet domain (addresses used to network computers).
To a large degree, the new initiatives from Microsoft were expected.
Microsoft has always seen an opportunity to distribute its services through an online environment, where it is less expensive to do so and cheaper for consumers.
Analysts felt Microsoft is also trying to fend off challenges from Google Inc. and other competitors that have already adopted the same "live" view on software.
But it means a departure from Microsofts historical way of offering services: licensing the applications to computer manufacturers or selling them to consumers on disks.
"The kind of software were talking about today remembers what the user wants so when the user shows up, their profiles, their preferences, those things most important are brought down onto their device," Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said when Microsoft introduced Live.com.
"The term weve used is live software. Microsoft as a company is making a bet on this, and how this brings opportunities for partners of all types."