We can’t disclose a lot of what we saw [or even if we saw anything at all] at the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Global Summit [isn't that a typical Microsoft name?]. However, consistently we heard that Microsoft at all levels are committed to win. Both Steven [not Steve] Sinofsky and Chris Jones were very aggressive about driving that in, regardless of what’s happened in the past. Although Microsoft might be more private about what they’re planning or what’s going to happen in the future, I think that’s because of the criticism they’ve encountered in the past. The Internet industry is such a fast, always changing field that Microsoft’s management is attempting to morph with it. They’ve realized that the first wave of Windows Live was a little rocky, but they’re learning from it for wave 2. Just like Google is now becoming so large that they’re being criticized as well, Microsoft is going back to basics. Ideas are going to be well developed inside the company before pushing them out to the public, where confusion can become rampant as we’ve seen. There’s going to be a clear distinction between what’s a Windows Live product and what’s an MSN product, as well as what’s a beta product, or a technical preview product. For example, Gary Flake emphasized that Live Labs products like PhotoSynth are Technical Previews and may or may not be developed into a beta or product. We’ve seen this with alpha products like PC Satisfaction Trial, which later developed into Windows OneCare Live beta, and now Windows Live OneCare.
Overall I was pleased with what I’ve heard and can say that no, Windows Live isn’t dead, or will be for anytime soon [even MSN is still alive and kicking, and that started in 1995]. I think we’re all going to hear a clear explanation of what Windows Live is, and what it will be for the future. It’s an exciting time for the industry, and Microsoft is going to win! Go get them Steven!
Update: Please read the follow up post that can be found here.