Microsoft just announced its new Web-based Windows and ‘software as a service’ strategies. After first announcing the Xbox 360 will be
released on Nov 22 in North America, Gates talked about their new
“Live” brand (thanks Mike
from TechCrunch for the news
– he has pictures
too). The “Live” era will encompass the “Software Plus
Services” strategy and is all about providing “seamless experiences”. Their goal is “Building Live Software”. The brand will encompass Windows Live and
Office Live – integration with the Web.

This is Microsoft’s Web 2.0 strategy,
except substitute the word “Live” for that term.

Mike has more details:

“Came back on stage at 10:37, announced Windows Live and Office Live.


Windows Live: Primarily ad supported. Does not kill off MSN.


Office Live: ìinternet based services for growing and managing your business online.î extensible, thousands of partners. ad supported level with tier above requiring subscription.”

Dan Farber has the news
too
: “In opening the event today, Bill Gates said that every five years Microsoft looks at its strategy and makes big betsñ1990 was Windows, the Web in 1995 and Web Services .Net in 2000. The next big bet, Gates said, is delivering new type of software experience, called “live software.”
[…] Sounds like a bit of Web 2.0 mixed with Microsoft’s live naming themeñLive Meeting, XBox Live. Services = Software, in a broad way, from hosted services like email and CRM to MSN and mapping mashups.”

Photos from Mike Arrington.
More to come on the news, as I get details…

Update: See my follow-up post about Live.com. I’ll also write some analysis later on in the day, when I’ve got the full picture.