Scott Hanselman

Windows Live - I just don't get it.

November 01, 2005 Comment on this post [27] Posted in Gaming
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LameliveIs it just me? Perhaps I'm just old (in web years) or did the web just get WAY more complicated than it needs to be? There's, there's MSN Messenger, there's Windows Messenger, there's Office Communicator, there's Hotmail, yada yada yada.

Tell me that this: isn't going to confuse folks even more?

Why does Microsoft feel the need to release Yet Another Web Portal?

  • Live Mail = GMail
  • Live Favorites =
  • Live Safety Center = McAfee, et. al.
  • OneCare = ibid.
  • Live Messenger = Skype
  • Live = Google

P.S. The fact that looks considerably different in my build of Firefox is really unfortunate given that everyone else seems to manage cross-browser at this point in the game.

P.P.S. Note the search on for "Hanselman" yields a #1 result for my old blog from 3 years ago. A blog I haven't updated in I don't know how long. Results #2 and #3 are for, some reason, sub-categories of my current blog.

P.P.P.S. Patrick says, "Ah, like My Yahoo. Welcome to 1996."

P.P.P.P.S. I typed in "PDX," the airport code for Portland Airport into the Weather Gadget and got Vancouver, WA. Stunning.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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November 02, 2005 2:58
Its not just you, i don't get it either, woohoo a new web portal, WTF??
November 02, 2005 3:05
I'm not sure what's the real difference between and
November 02, 2005 3:32 works in FireFox :)
November 02, 2005 3:38
I'm hoping the gadgets idea will finally give us more than "here's our portal, you can put RSS in it, or you can put in OurNews, OurWeather,OurMail,Our-* stuff"

I really want a portal where I can put *-* stuff.
Plus RSS of course ;-)

Maybe this is a step in that direction.
Why can't I add a flickr gadget, a gadget etc etc? Hopefully I'll be able to soon.

I know that right now it seems to be a bit of a copy, but I'm holding off judgement for a while in the hope that we finally get a portal that is truly open. *

* Yeah, I know. I can hope though..

November 02, 2005 4:33

To be fair does say that Firefox support is forthcoming at the top of the page.
November 02, 2005 4:44

Take a look at it in Safari, even better...

Still, I think the purpose was best described in Dare's post at: where he says (trying to do this without HTML): As someone who works on MSN^H^H^H Windows Live products

In other words, little new here folks, keep playing and come back in a while for the good stuff.
November 02, 2005 5:13 doesn't work in Opera either.
November 02, 2005 5:49
Sadly, the only thing Live does is remind us how badly Microsoft plays with others (Firefox support? Opera support? Safari support?).

November 02, 2005 5:55
I only need Google. Maybe one more alternative is alright, but I'm not using nor It doesn't add any value to my search.
November 02, 2005 5:55
Ron - look at the blog - there are very good reasons they can't support Opera/Safari yet. Here's a link:!1pTNqgeSRxwfEFK-lp62aiFQ!418.entry

Ian - there's already a basic Flickr gadget. Check it out in the gallery at
November 02, 2005 5:58
Brandon: that's pure and utter bullshit. Why are you guys the only ones having trouble with other browsers? Ever check out They've got a solution that works in every major browser (that's Firefox, Safari, Opera and IE).

Those people aren't paid to do it either!
November 02, 2005 6:01
I think one of the big reasons that the guys have such a tough time with getting stuff running in other browsers is that IE has so many non-standard DOM extensions and the like that make seperating out "standards-compliant" code from "IE-specific" code a real pain in the ass.

This is the main reason why I develop Javascript stuff in Firefox (with JS strict mode on!) then hack at it to get it working in IE. Perhaps the MSN red-vests should try that approach too. :)
November 02, 2005 6:11
So now we see Microsoft playing "catch-up" and giving us lame reasons for why they do not know how to build a solution that works on other browsers. I love the part on the spaces blog where it says that safari and opera did not support a "standard" - So are they saying that google is just that much better than they are or what?
November 02, 2005 6:15
The whole thing is coming across as an amateur attempt to clone Google. The only reason it's got so much attention is that it's got the weight of the biggest software vendor behind it. If any smaller shop release the same thing, they'd be laughed off the stage.
November 02, 2005 6:31
"non-IE" != "standards-compliant" .. get over it
November 02, 2005 6:42
Non-IE is far more standards compliant than IE, dude. You can tell code developed under IE - it's chock full of document.all and other IE crappities.

You are far more liable to end up down an IE-only path if you are developing for IE from the start.
November 02, 2005 7:16
The reason you don't get Window Live is because it's nothing more than a rebranding of the various MSN pieces into Windows brand. And I just posted in my blog the reason why I think it's going to be a failure.
November 02, 2005 8:15
Must be all that Koolaid you were forced to drink. Actually I don't get it either so at least I know I'm not alone in this cruel, lonely multiverse.
November 02, 2005 8:25
Can't you say the exact same thing about every Google product?

Gmail = Hotmail
Talk = MSN Messenger
Google = MSN Search
Google Maps = TerraServer
I'm sure I'm missing some.

All "knockoffs" of previous Microsoft releases.

The reason nobody (including me) sees it that way, is that Google made improvements to make theirs unique (well, I'm not so sure about Talk). So we don't accuse Google of copying MS.
Are you assuming that Live won't add any new features (does gmail have drag and drop folder management)? Why accuse MS of copying Google, or anyone else? They are building on the sucess of their predecessors; something EVERY good software developer should do.
November 02, 2005 9:39
At least the Google stuff *improved* on the Microsoft stuff, rather than re-hashing it like
November 02, 2005 10:43
Joshua got it right.

The largest, most profitable software firm the world has ever known worked on something to show they "get it."

Is it wrong of me to have expected more?

I got that tingly feeling with Windows 3.1. The hairs went up with Windows 95. When Exchange made the jump it made me excited.

This bored me.

Where were the new ideas? The new ways of doing things? The better than the rest?

Was it supposed to be a "see what we're doing?" If so, I can see that from any number of other companies.
November 02, 2005 12:09
Well, I thought I'd give Live Favorites a try:

"*An error has occured importing your favorites.*"
"_Import failed. Error=6. Server version=11.0.1029. Exceeding maximum combined favorites and folder count.._"

Well, gosh... forgive me for having a lot... that's why I want to store them there, silly!
November 02, 2005 13:46
I think that the word "Google" in your posts answers the question as to why Microsoft feel the need to release these applications.

Infact, all company names in your posts which are not "Microsoft" answer that need :)
November 02, 2005 19:06

You just don't "get it" man. See, that's the new Microsoft message, at least as seen by Robert Scoble. If you don't immediately heap praise upon whatever new offering they have announced , be it live or the "ribbon", you just don't "get it". You're not smart enough to see the whole picture based on their brilliant marketing. You have to "wait and see", once they release something that is more obvious then your poor, addeled brain will grasp the enormity and greatness that is "".

Just you wait. ;)

(P.S. I can't even use MS Virtual Earth or Mappoint to find a burger joint in Redmond consistantly and you expect MS to know that Vancouver is across the bridge in a whole other state! Talk about setting your expectations high!)
November 03, 2005 17:57
Not so sure the new "Windows" branding everywhere will be good for adoption...
November 06, 2005 8:52
From a technical stand point, I must agree with you, Windows Live is nothing new under the sun. However, IMHO Windows Live is a major change in Microsoft business model. It is the recognition by Microsoft that it makes a lot of sense to sell software using advertising-supported model. This is the repetitive theme that kept jumping out at me when reading the press release was "advertising".

"Windows Live will primarily be delivered free to users and supported by advertising,"

It does not mean that Microsoft will stop selling Windows and Office the way it is today. I just mean that Microsoft want to get a major share of the WEB 2.0 market leads actually by Google. Microsoft must ensure that the revving web promoting on the client side the browser as THE platform will not run on something else than Windows OS. Just like Microsoft did for WEB 1.0 against Netscape, you should expect Microsoft to embrace and extent WEB 2.0 platform in a way that will ensure Windows OS to survive on the PC. And this is why, even if it is only a web portal, this free service has WINDOWS in its name. It will all start as an AJAX only web portal but expect XAML and WPF to follow in a near future.

Here is my post entry about Windows Live

November 09, 2005 10:58 now has firefox support.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.