IT analyst firm Info-Tech Research
Group calls today’s Windows Live and Office Live announcement by Microsoft the
end of shrink wrapped software-in-a-box and the start of the Internet-based
services era. Info-Tech believes this announcement marks a turning point in
the industry.

“Windows Live and Office Live mark Microsoft’s first major foray into web
services,” says Info-Tech analyst Carmi Levy. “Although the stated target
markets are consumers and small businesses, the door has been opened for
eventual migration to all enterprises, regardless of size.

“Enterprises must pay close attention to this change to ensure their
application development and deployment strategies keep pace.”
Levy says it is common for vendors to beta test new products in the
consumer market before introducing them to business.

Levy also says that with this announcement, Microsoft is reaching out to
non-Windows users. “Microsoft needs to counter Google’s relationship with Sun
Microsystems and support of OpenOffice. Microsoft’s release of the MSN APIs
earlier this fall and today’s announcement help them accomplish just that.”