Will Microsofts Windows Live Relaunch Fizzle?

Opinion: At TechEd in June, Microsoft's brass is slated to take another run at making Windows Live more understandable to the masses. (Microsoft Watch)

It looks like Microsoft is going to relaunch Windows Live in June at its TechEd conference. Unlike the initial November 2005 Windows Live unveiling, which was long on vision and short on tangibles, this time around, Microsoft needs to put some serious meat on its Live bones.

Although you wouldnt know it without the diligent research from the folks over at LiveSide.Net, Microsoft has launched more than 18 Windows Live services, which are currently in various stages of test/final deployments.

You might know that Microsoft is spending money hand over fist — in excess of $500 million in fiscal 2007 alone—on adding Windows Live data centers, coders, testers and other physical and human capital to build up its cloud of services in the sky. (During its third quarter earnings call, Microsoft had analysts thinking it was spending almost $2 billion on Windows Live. In the past couple of weeks, Microsoft execs belatedly have corrected that information.)

And if you are a Windows Live watcher, youd most definitely know that there have been more than a few problems with Microsofts Windows Live campaign from the outset. Confusing naming conventions are just the tip of the iceberg. (Is that the Windows Live Search service or Windows Live Search application to which you are referring when you say "Live Search"? Is it Windows OneCare Live or Windows Live OneCare?) The inability to define "Windows Live" in any kind of non-Micro-Speakish way that makes sense to the whole spectrum of home, SMB and enterprise users is another.

Microsoft has not issued any kind of publicly articulated roadmap, detailing what kinds of services have been and will be rolled out when. There still is no a single place where information on all (not just a few) of the Windows Live services resides. Ninety-nine percent of the time, Microsofts Windows Live moves have looked Google-reactive instead of user-proactive.

At the risk of sounding like Vista tester Chris Pirillo, who has come up with two lists consisting of more than 100 Vista problems that Microsoft needs to fix before the product ships, well stop there.

With that introduction, what is Microsoft likely to do at TechEd around Windows Live, and will it be enough?

The fact that Ray Ozzie, the grand architect of Microsofts Live strategy, is on tap to kick off the TechEd on Sunday night says to us that Microsoft is going to talk about more than just Windows Live programming interfaces during its annual developer/IT pro event.

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