Windows Live: XBOX and Live Messenger converge
Interesting Windows Live related news coming from Microsoft today. May will see the arrival of Live Messenger for XBOX 360. XBOX Live members will now be able to interact with the 260million strong Live Messenger user base directly from their XBOX 360. Furthermore, there will be new features specifically for XBOX users such as:
- "What game am I playing currently?" (Very similar to "What am I currently listening to?" in conventional Live Messenger)
- "Let me boast about my high scores to all of my mates"
- "Publish my gamer tag"
- Personalised XBOX content on Marketplace.
What makes this good news for Microsoft (and their ad partners) is that they will now be able to do much better advertising. If they know that someone is an XBOX live member then advertisments delivered to that person through all the many channels (e.g. MSN, Live Messenger, Live Search etc…) can be much more targeted and, potentially, personalised. Whether Microsoft have the good sense to reap the benefits or not of doing this will remain to be seen.
This move from Microsoft has been long overdue. Finally we are starting to see complementary services from Windows Live that build upon their software heritage. As I have said before, Microsoft will not win the battle for online hearts and minds by trying to ape what their competitors are doing. They need to build online services that complement what they already have out there. The advantage Microsoft have got is that they already touch their customers in so many different facets (at work, at home, MSN, media, gaming, mobile etc…); or, as I said previously, they have their fingers in so many pies. Windows Live can help to cross-sell all those currently disparate offerings. The disadvantage Microsoft have is the "lumbering beast" factor. Their competitors are newer and nimbler and can push their services out to consumers alot quicker than Microsoft can.
Incidentally, another feature that I once requested has since appeared in Live.com. Three months ago back in January 2007 I suggested that Microsoft should lean more on their Windows heritage and introduce the equivalent of Windows’ Start button into Live.com. Well three months on it transpires that they done just that and pleasingly it looks exactly the same as the new Start menu icon in Windows Vista.
I have said before that Microsoft need to promote the consistent look-and-feel on Windows Live that has served them so well over the past 12 years and clearly they agree. The introduction of the Windows start menu in Windows Live is a step in the right direction.
Lastly just to make you aware, for all Windows Live related opinion from Conchango head to http://blogs.conchango.com/tags/Windows+Live/default.aspx where my learned colleague (and fellow LUFC tolerator/sufferer) Keni Barwick and I are starting to build up a backlog of material. Or, you can just subscribe to our Windows Live RSS feed.