While Microsoft's new "live" software push is mainly seen as an effort to compete with rivals Google and Yahoo!, there are a number of smaller companies that suddenly find themselves in Redmond's competitive cross-hairs. As part of its broad announcement on Tuesday, Microsoft revealed plans to offer for free a number of things that its rivals charge for, including services such as virus scanning and Internet-to-telephone calling and Web hosting.
Microsoft has recent displayed their ability to call any traditional phone number from within the new Windows Live messenger client. While instant messaging programs have had voice chat for some time, Microsoft's move would be broader by allowing free calling to traditional phone numbers as well.
On the security front, Microsoft went beyond its already announced plans for the subscription OneCare service. In addition to that paid program, Microsoft plans a new Windows Live Safety Center - a free Web-based program that allows on-demand scanning and removal of viruses. This addition is a great idea and one that will no doubt prove to be beneficial for many.
Furthermore, is it just me or does it seem as if Microsoft is trying to take over the world? They are competing on so many fronts that taking over the world seems like a logical explanation. Obviously, I'm joking but for fun let's review:
1. Microsoft's Windows runs on like 98% of the worlds PCs.
2. Microsoft's Office is no doubt used in every office in the world.
3. Microsoft's Internet Explorer is the #1 Internet browser.
4. Microsoft's IM is one of the most popular messaging programs.
5. Microsoft's MSN is one of the top search engines on the net.
6. Microsoft's Xbox is one of the top videogame consoles.
I'm sure there is plenty of other worthy acknowledgement that I'm forgetting, but one has to be a very powerful company to go toe-to-toe with such heavy competition as Apple, Netscape, Mozilla (Firefox), Norton, MacAfee, American Online, Yahoo!, Google, Ask Jeeves, Sony, and finally Nintendo. These companies are all leaders in their own respective markets, and yet Microsoft continues to make headway in each. That's a lot of battles on a lot of different fronts. Kudos to you Microsoft.