To truly understand what the new Windows Live and Office Live services are all about, you need not look any further than Microsoft itself. Thanks to the magic that is Robert Scoble, we get a very honest description:
Yesterday will be remembered not because of what we announced. But because of the direction we’re now headed in.
Microsoft is no longer an applications company. It is a services company.
Don’t get caught up in the badly-pulled-off demos yesterday. There is something a lot deeper happening inside Microsoft than that.
That’s important to understand. People do not remember the famous Bill Gates Internet Memo as the day Microsoft decided to integrate Internet Explorer into Windows (though that was certainly a result). Instead, that infamous memo is remembered as the day Gates and Co “got” the Internet. I expect yesterday’s announcement will be remembered in much the same way.
That said, they still launched a product yesterday, and at first glance, it sucked. How could they release a web-based service that doesn’t work in anything other than IE? Scoble has an answer for that too:
So, when you see Microsoft not supporting Firefox out of the gate, you are seeing that we don’t get the role of influentials in gathering audiences.
Just imagine if Microsoft both understood “the role of influentials” and had Robert Scoble on the payroll!