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I’ve been lurking around with Windows Live for a while – since it was announced at least (Scoble seems to be the aggregator of the Microsoft bloggers on this one). Glad to see that now Firefox is now supported.

Windows Live is interesting; I’m still not seeing the ‘Woo!’ factor here; much of this has been done before. I blogged on some of the cutting edge ‘Web 2.0‘ pieces earlier. Protopage is still one of my favourite neu-portals – it’s clean and fresh.

My personal take is that Windows Live is a direct head-to-head response to Google – and some of the innovations they are delivering.

It will be interesting to see who ‘wins’ in this space; Gates vs Schmidt; both have openly stated that the content is not king; the advertising revenue is king. [Note to self – dig out the quotes and references on this..]
Here’s one:

“This coming ‘services wave’ will be very disruptive,” Gates said in an Oct. 30 e-mail to top Microsoft employees, which was seen by CNET “We have competitors who will seize on these approaches and challenge us.”

Microsoft have millions of developers and a captive desktop audience of hundreds of millions of machines. If the mooted Office Live comes to fruition and delivers an online office and neu-desktop environment targetted at the home and small business users – then that is a great revenue stream. I can see a ‘free’ (a la Hotmail) service funded by ads; and a ‘nominal fee’ service with minimal or no ads. Interesting.

Google on the other hand have cornered the search market; they are also becoming the de-facto standard for mapping and directions in the web. Can they turn this into another ad-driven revenue stream without becoming another Microsoft/AOL – and incurring the wrath of their users.

Remember – when everything is ‘free’ and ad-supported; the next cool thing can easily kill you.

Software as a service; will it finally be a reality?