Perhaps it was the early morning (8:30 a.m.) time slot. Or maybe the fact that the Windows Live strategy session wasnt listed on the TechEd program, only on the Web site. Or it could have been the change in speakers, with scheduled speaker Brian Arbogast, corporate vice president in charge of Windows Live, being replaced by one of his direct reports.
Regardless of the reasons, the Windows Live strategy session audience was rather sparse, with many chairs at the Boston Convention Center ballroom occupied by other Microsoft employees. Nonetheless, Microsofts Windows Live developer show went on, with Windows Live platform team members George Moore, general manager, and Ken Levy, product planner, walking attendees through Microsofts high-level Live developer pitch. The pair also explained at a more granular level the interfaces and services that Microsoft is making available to developers, in the hopes that they will build to the Microsoft platform.
In the Windows Live space, Microsofts primary competitors are Google, Yahoo, eBay and other companies that increasingly are cultivating developers, too.
Moore told attendees that while Microsoft has been building out its MSN services (many of which are in the process of being rebranded as Windows Live) for the past six or seven years, it only now that the platform is gaining critical mass. Moore noted that the Live team currently is maintaining a database of 12 billion contact records (with name, instant messaging handle, e-mail address, presence status, birthday and other related information). Many users have multiple records, supporting different home/work identities, he added.