Today Microsoft (news, site) gave Live Spaces, its homegrown blogging platform, a huge booster seat by announcing a partnership with WordPress. Automatic Software's massively popular solution will now be default for Windows Live.
The partnership weaves together Live Spaces and WordPress.com, enabling content to be posted directly to WordPress from Windows Live, and all new content published on WordPress to be cross-posted on a user's Windows Live Profile.
Well, one could guess that Live Spaces wasn't romancing anyone on its own, but Microsoft's official announcement put it like this:
WordPress powers over 8.5% of the web, is used on over 26 million sites, and WordPress.com is seen by over 250 million people every month. So rather than having Windows Live invest in a competing blogging service, we decided the best thing we could do for our customers was to give them a great blogging solution through WordPress.com.
Meanwhile, Windows Live’s Director of Project Management, Dharmesh Mehra, claims that there are actually over 30 million Windows Live Spaces blogs alive today. Looked at from that angle, a partnership with a giant like WordPress would strengthen the collective audience for both companies.
But let's not beat around the bush. It's highly likely that Microsoft is trying to drive more users to its online software suite, an area where Google is its main competition. By using the Windows Live Connect feature to sync content from existing WordPress.com accounts with Windows Live profiles, the hope is obviously that a percentage of WordPress.com's massive audience will begin using Microsoft's services.
Whether Google and Blogger will even feel Microsoft's and WordPress.com's pinch remains to be seen, but it's an interesting dynamic to think about.