Microsoft, the Redmond, Washington software giant, will soon be combining two of its online services: Windows Live and Office Live. Microsoft intends to simplify the customer experience and give customers one destination to interact with these cloud-based web service offerings.
Kirk Gregerson, Director of Office Life Management and Marking, announced in a blog post that Microsoft will integrate customer feedback during the merging process. Gregerson also alluded to upcoming service updates and features in the new Live services.
What Might A Combined Portal Look Like?
Right now, Windows Live and Office Live exist on two separate and distinct web environments. As Microsoft moves to embrace the Software as a Service model, we can likely expect a name change that will incorporate many enterprise-level collaboration features. Elizabeth Montalbano at PC Advisor postulates that the new online Live portal will be named Kumo.
This rumored name is based off a 2008 trade marking of the Kumo name. According the same blog post, Montalbano says that along with the new name, Microsoft will also re-brand their search engine and entire suite of online services under the Kumo name.
Now Is A Good Time
The online office suite, as a marketplace, is anyone's game at this point. Even though Zoho and Google have a headstart, many established Microsoft customers haven't engaged with any of these competing online office suites -- yet. Microsoft carries a lot of weight as a brand and we foresee many customers who may want to utilize cloud-based word processing, email and presentation software such as PowerPoint taking the bait when Microsoft whole-heartily rolls out an Office Live version on the web.
Another potential use case for a well-thought out Live Office on the web can be seen in the huge success of netbook compact laptops. These ultra-connected machines have limited storage and users of netbooks are apt to consume the services provided by an online Office suite.
Good On Ya, Microsoft!
We commend Microsoft for looking to combine, unify and re-brand their various online Live properties. Having these assets utilizing different names and website domains makes them feel disparate and un-connected. As Microsoft looks to take on competitors such as Google Docs and Zoho Office, they should do so with distinctive branding and a unified customer experience.