Bloggers are responding to the long-expected news that Microsoft is releasing an installer this week for its Live-branded Web applications with a general nod; we knew it was coming, but it's not a market-changing event.
TechCrunch flippantly referred the installer as a "thingy" in its headline and questions the hyperbolic (imagine that) coverage at the New York Times that compares Redmond's belated drive into Web-delivered software to its monopolistic assault on Netscape more than a decade ago.
TechCrunch's Michael Arrington writes:
The important new web services are all browser based, and Microsoft has no competitive advantage over offerings from Google, Yahoo, AOL and thousands of new web startups all trying to move users from away from the desktop.
The NY Times piece says some components of the Live app family will be free (e-mail, photos and a blog writing tool); others, like security, will definitely be for a fee. We were unable to determine this morning if the Live installer will be pushed via Windows Update - which would definitely be a competitive leg up for Microsoft.
Coverage of the Microsoft/Google arch-rivalry is always a bit convoluted - primarily because the companies' own strategies often are so fragmented. This quick note at Big Mouth Media notes that Google recently began distributing StarOffice for free. Of course, that's a hard client piece of software, which Google is suppose to be driving to extinction.