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Microsoft Works Live Coming?

Business Week says Microsoft plans to add the functionality of its second tier office suite, Microsoft Works, to the web-based Office Live. This would bring Microsoft Word, spreadsheets (a light versions of Excel, with files completely compatible with their Microsoft Office counterparts) calendar, address book, project organizing, email, thesaurus, Encarta, and Powerpoint viewing, in a made-for-online form.

The company is working on plans to offer a free version hosted on its Office Live Web site, as well as a subscription flavor with more bells and whistles. While it’s not a done deal, the company is throwing a lot of manpower at the project. “It’s not a small number (of people working on the project) to be sure,” says Chris Capossela, vice-president for Microsoft’s Business Division Product Management Group. “This is core. We want to win this space.”

Based on Office Live, Microsoft knows hot to do web-based application incredibly well (and better than Google), it just hasn’t done so.

Now, Works Live may not contain all of the functionality of the store-bought Works package, but if it is close enough, it could be very successful. If Microsoft is smart, it’ll come up with a business model designed to appeal to those who would consider Google:

  • Full version, complete with every function Microsoft can build in, free for Office users (must be running the most recent version of any Office or Works Suite), or $25 a year for others. Unlimited space for saving files.
  • Free limited version, with Microsoft promising to meet or exceed any feature of any major web-based competitor). Storage space shared with your Hotmail/Live Mail/Live Drive account.

If Microsoft gave away the store to Office users, but required those without Office to pay up, it wouldn’t be competing with itself, which is the primary worry at MS. Those users who might buy Office if it was cheaper, they can pay for the full version. Those users who will never buy Office, they can try the free version, which will at the least be competitive with Google

Keep in mind, these are just my speculative ideas. Indeed, Microsoft’s vision might be completely different. And BusinessWeek might be wrong. It could be that my vision of the limited version is all you’ll ever see of Works Live. As usual, we’ll just have to wait and see.

September 21st, 2006 Posted by | Applications, General, Google, Office | no comments

Sony Giving Away Xbox 360s

Sony BMG, a 50/50 joint venture between Bertelsmann and Sony (makers of the Playstation 3) is running a giveaway to promote Jessica Simpson’s new album, A Public Affair. Enter your info and you could win a copy of her new album and an Xbox 360.

Anyone see the silliness here? Sony giving away a product that it is betting the future of the company to defeat? I didn’t even realize it at the time, but Jessica Simpson is the Xbox Artist of the Month, yet a Sony artist. Either Sony doesn’t care what Sony BMG does, since it only owns half, or it isn’t thinking straight. You don’t giveawy competitor’s products! When was the last time Apple held a giveaway for a Windows Media Center PC, or Ford handed someone the keys to a new Corvette?
(via Digg)

September 21st, 2006 Posted by | General, Humor, Xbox, Xbox 360 | no comments

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Witness What Could Have Been

Few remember it now, but in the earler stages of Longhorn, Microsoft was proposing some pretty crazy stuff for the Longhorn UI. Witness this video of “floppy windows” from 2003:

Well, you can get this sort of stuff in XGL, of course.

More videos on ExtremeTech.

The new Windows Shell team blog discusses why they don’t have floppy windows in Vista. The reason: Vista can do it, as promised, but doesn’t, because it creates a crappy user experience. In fact, there are a million cool things the Vista UI can do, and the idea is that any third party can create a utility that hacks the Desktop Windows Manager to do it.

For god sakes, if you want to make a lot of money, someone needs to create an easy software program that lets users choose from hundreds of effects to add to Windows. Microsoft will have something to shut up Mac users, and Windows users will be able to do amazingly cool things. This is one area that needs to be exploited before Chris Pirillo abandons Windows forever.

September 21st, 2006 Posted by | General, Longhorn, Vista, Windows | one comment

Expo Gets PayPal, More Features

Windows Live Expo, Microsoft’s community classifieds system, has added some new features. Now, you can pay for items via PayPal for secure transactions, either from PayPal debit accounts or through credit cards. Sellers can also specify the cost and type of shipping. Expo also now integrates job listings from Career Builder, featured ads by AdMission that highlight your listing for an added fee, a preview of national search results below local results, and an Expo tab for Windows Live Messenger.

Read more at the Live Expo team blog and LiveSide. You can also take a tour.

September 21st, 2006 Posted by | Expo, General, Live, Windows | no comments

Remove IE Clicking Sounds

The Yahoo Mail blog had a funny post about the completely annoying sounds Internet Explorer makes when loading things, comparing it to the clicking noises made by dolphins. To help, Omar Shahine provides a simple registry key that you can use to completely disable the sounds. Copy this text into a blank Notepad window:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Save the file as “Navigation Sound Off.reg” and run it. For convenience, I’m providing the file ready-made for you (it worked fine in Windows Vista on my machine).

Click here to download Navigation Sound Off.reg

Microsoft really should consider getting rid of the sound permanently. It made sense when everyone had dial-up connections, and the sound was useful to let you know when the damn page finally started responding and finished loading. Now, with pages loading quickly and dynamic AJAX apps that load items in the page constantly, the sound can click almost over and over and over, and make you want to throw the damn computer out the window.

September 21st, 2006 Posted by | Applications, General, Internet Explorer, Windows | 5 comments

Mary Jo Foley Leaves Microsoft Watch For ZDNet

Mary Jo Foley, possibly the premier blogger covering Microsoft, has jumped ship from Microsoft Watch, the blog she started and made huge, to ZDNet. Replacing her at Microsoft Watch is Peter Galli from ExtremeTech.

Mary Jo’s new blog is called All About Microsoft, at She says that the move was spurred by her belief that blogging is the future of journalism, and the need to write at a place that reflected that view. She’s done a short exit interview with Robert McLaws, where she talks about eleven years of covering Microsoft, being blacklisted by MS, and why Microsoft just “matters” more than any other technology company.

I had the opportunity to meet Mary Jo at the Ziff offices in Manhattan once, and she really seems to get this reporting thing better than most. Based purely on my impressions of the place, with its old magazines covering the walls and antiquated publishing systems, I could see the need to move to a pure digital news organization. I salute her career move, and hope that All About Microsoft becomes even more successful than Microsoft was.

You can get the feed here.

Microsoft Watch is the 755th blog in Technorati, with 3,276 links from 1,370 blogs. Best of luck to Peter, but I suspect he’ll find those shoes pretty damn hard to fill.
(via Scoble)

A history lesson for everyone, especially TDavid, who asks:

The part of this that doesn’t make much sense is has Ms. Foley really left anything? I mean if Ziff Davis was behind Microsoft Watch, what will be that different at a ZDnet blog besides a different web address? Why doesn’t she start or or something if she really wants to go out on her own? Working for Ziff Davis is still working for Ziff Davis, yes/no?

Microsoft Watch is owned and operated by Ziff Davis Internet, the online component of Ziff Davis, the magazine publishers. However, in 1989, Ziff Davis launched ZDNet, an online set of publications complimentary to their print operation. ZDNet was acquired by CNet in 2000 during the sale of Ziff-Davis to SoftBank.

So, CNet owns ZDNet, formerly Ziff Davis Inc., which is why articles from are always reprinted on ZDnet. Microsoft Watch is owned by the publishing company Ziff Davis Media Inc., which hasn’t had a relationship with ZDNet in six years. Even more confusing than that whole Wired Magazine / Wired News thing, right?

You know who explained this all to me? Mary Jo Foley, of course.

September 21st, 2006 Posted by | Blogs, General | 2 comments