NY Times reports that Microsoft will release a Unified Installer program for Windows Live this week, enabling PC users to download a set of the services - understood to be Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger 8.5 and Windows Live OneCare Family Safety.The
John Markoff of the Times says that this is an effort to connect the Windows OS with software services delivered via the Net - and he draws parallels with Microsoft tieing Internet Explorer to Windows in the mid-90s (for which Microsoft was eventually convicted of anti-trust violations). The implication is that Microsoft will have an unfair advantage, because the Windows Live Internet services will be tied in some way to Windows - or at least work better on Windows.
Markoff also notes that the Windows Live installer is a direct competitive strike to Google and Salesforce.com, both of whom offer software services over the Internet.
What is the Unified Installer?
Read/WriteWeb first covered the Unified Installer at the end of June, when we spoke to Brian Hall, General Manager for Windows Live. He told us that the types of products represented under the umbrella Windows Live are:
- Anywhere Access
The first two (Communication, Sharing) are very much typical web 2.0 consumer apps - email, social networking, photo sharing, etc. These are the same apps that Google, Yahoo and others have. The other two (Anywhere Access, Safety) are more the types of apps we traditionally expect from Microsoft - but under Windows Live they are delivered as 'software as a service', rather than traditional shrink-wrap products.
According to Brian Hall, Windows Live circa 2007 onwards will be "more cohesive" and much more of a proper suite - addressing the branding problems and seemingly ad-hoc rollout of the first generation of Windows Live from November 2005 (when Bill Gates announced the Windows Live strategy) to 2007. The Unified Installer aims to make available all the pieces of the Live Suite as a single upgradeable download - instead of separate programs and services as they are now.