August 10, 2007 |
Yesterday Microsoft began testing a new dashboard view for its Windows Live services. Windows users can now view new emails, blog postings; contact updates or use other Microsoft services including antivirus and spyware scans. Microsoft is attempting to further engage the over 300 million Windows Live users to compete with Google and Yahoo in the Internet advertising race. But my question is why is Microsoft always playing catch up?
Chris Jones VP of the Windows Live group told Reuters: “It is a quick view and summary for all of the services you are using on Windows Live.” This move is obviously designed to drive traffic to Windows' other less popular services via the massive user base using mail and messaging. All in all the new service seems a little low tech to me, but I must say it is effective. Microsoft says a new wave of Windows Live services is due later on this year.
Is it just my imagination or does Microsoft seem to be just grinding to a virtual standstill on the Web? This latest release is nice and obviously Microsoft needs to keep Hotmail and Windows Live stay “alive”, but shouldn't we expect more from them? Personally I like some MS stuff and would love to see them excel at more than the X-box 360. Perhaps I envision any company so powerful as capable of taking the lead in every venue. Windows Live is actually very effective if only an attempt to catch up, but is this all there is? Without going into a Web 2.0 philosophy dialogue – shouldn't Microsoft be into cutting edge innovation?
A new dashboard and finally naming their online hard drive does not constitute Web 2.0 - cutting edge innovation and market share magic. I always feel badly about (or for) companies when an objective review heads South under my keyboard, but this is Microsoft Corporation. I have tested 200 startups with more innovation and just plain cool – and many developed by one or two people. Watching these behemoths of Industry struggle to eek out a weeks work is like watching George Bush struggle with phrases bigger than; ”It's hard work people!”
Windows Live services like SkyDrive, OneCare security, integrated IM and other cool services actually makes Windows Live more functional than MySpace and many other social networks. The point is they should have been first. One has to wonder if Microsoft is not so much an innovator as an emulator. Perhaps Windows really was an Apple OS overlay, maybe X-Box is just a tweaked PS and Microsoft is just about upping the ante rather than actually creating innovation. If this is true, then it is kind of a sad commentary on an icon of our connected world. Maybe we expect too much?