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You might’ve heard of Xbox Live if you’ve any interest in gaming or internet, now the next you’ll hear is Windows Live & Office Live, the offerings of the same giant, Microsoft, reported Yahoo! Reportedly, Microsoft is trying hard to fend off threats from Google, Yahoo! & other small upstarts that are thriving on the online services business model.

So with Windows Live, Microsoft plans to bring its firepower from the PCs to the internet!! The Windows Live website currently offers similar features as the portal, including a free email service(you need to have a Hotmail account to be considered for an invitation). Microsoft also showed a preview of Office Live, a suite of about two dozen online applications geared towards increasing productivity of small businesses. This service will also be offered via invitation only from sometime early next year!! With an ammunition of about $40 billion in cash, Microsoft plans to unsettle its main rivals Google & Yahoo! which provide free online services & have their cash registers ringing day-night due to the booming online advertising industry!!

However, the main concern of people will be trust. Is Microsoft trustworthy enough for people that they’ll put in their data at their hands? I think that this is a bit of an over-statement, since a lot of people have MSN & Hotmail accounts and millions of small & big companies have business relations with Microsoft. Sure, their past, blackened by their bullying activities & anti-trust law suits, can weigh in on the people’s minds but then, what’s past is past!! You’ve to look forward!! Has Microsoft’s past stopped the sale of Windows or anything? I don’t think so. The company is still thriving & raking in dollars!! So comments, like those of Charlene Li, an analyst with Forrester Research,

With Windows Live, Microsoft is asking people to entrust a lot of their lives in the hands of Microsoft. Trust is a loaded word for Microsoft.

are certainly a bit of an over-statement as well. Now, in the news article on Yahoo!, it was reported

The perils of relying on Internet connections became painstakingly apparent as Microsoft tried to unveil Windows Live Tuesday. The demonstration was delayed several times when the service lost its connection to the Internet.

That’s a bit of a laugh, as has anyone ever noticed or reported how many times Google’s GMail service has gone down since it was opened for public beta in april last year? No, ofcourse not, because its not Microsoft. 🙄 And to imagine it, even after being a public beta for more than 19 months, GMail is still not ready for a public opening!! 😀

Now, Sun Microsystems & Google have already announced that they’ll work together on providing online services & many have pointed this to the fact that Google might be helping Sun to port its Office suite to internet, providing an online Office suite, but nothing has been clear in this regard.

Now Microsoft has been pretty clear about their Office Live service. It won’t provide word processing or spreadsheet programs, but it’ll offer about 22 applications that will help automate accounting & project management. Apparently what Bill Gates meant was that Microsoft’s online push is not meant to replace Windows & other PC applications but to complement them!! Eventually they also plan to MSN & Hotmail email services to Windows Live, though will continue to function as it does now!!

Windows Live will generate revenue from online advertising & will be free for users while Office Live be a subscription based service, apparently like other online services, a good example of which is the popular CRM service SalesForce.

What’s to be seen now is what exactly is offered at Windows Live, frankly I’m much more curious about Office Live!! 😉