Exclusive: Interview tomorrow with Windows Live Directors

Tomorrow morning I have an exclusive meeting with some of the Windows Live Directors. During the meeting I will have the opportunity to do some QnA. With that in mind, of course I have millions of questions that I would like to be answered. However if you have any specific questions about anything related to Windows Live, this is your chance to get an answer.

I will be getting everything prepared in a few hours, so time is of the essence folks. So comment on this news post and I will get most of them answered and announce some things tomorrow after the interview. If you don't have an account on Neowin, you can send your questions to my inbox at sean@neowin.net.

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My questions:

1) It would seem web apps are slowly making Windows more irrelevant. Was the real idea behind rebranding a fistful of MSN services to Windows Live just a way to give the Windows brand as much screen time as possible, no matter how much no one wants to see the word Windows associated with their online stuff?

2) Doesn't attaching Windows to everything come off as desperate and not the logical way to transition Windows from software to web services? Amidst the influx of younger, innovative, stylish 2.0 services, wouldn't a web suite called WINDOWS Live be the equivalent of having your dad, grandpa, or Buzz Killington show up to your next kegger and make the evening unbearably uncomfortable?

2) With Windows having such a stigma these days, why would having a suite of apps and services called WINDOWS Live help anything? Wouldn't throwing the Windows name in the mix just worsen matters and give the impression Live products are equally buggy and cumbersome?

3) Live Services segment many features as their own brand and site with unfortunate long names (i.e. - Windows Live Family Safety, Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Video Messages), whereas your competitors have less brands and choose to further equip and develop those brands, thus making it easier for people to understand new features and become more loyal. How does Windows Live's approach (doing the opposite basically) benefit people or save time?

4) How much more money is budgeted to entice PC and mobile companies to choose Live Search over Google? How in good conscious and with the knowledge people are just going to re-select Google could you spend gobs of money on fruitless efforts, money that otherwise could be put to good use elsewhere? Perhaps you could match every failed dollar and give a hefty donation to a worthy non-profit. What do you think?

Skydrive: FTP access or access from Desktop (like XDrive)?

Updating Windows Live apps via Windows Update: Yes or no?

Edit: Also not sure how to turn it into a question but please can you ask about the WL Messenger network and how it can sometimes do weird stuff/be rather unstable?

1. Will there be an easy to work with API for things like Calendar and Contacts? It may be an ignorant question, but so many 3rd party integration apps like Ubiquity seem to pull Google info so easily yet have nothing for Windows Live. I want Windows Live as easy to plug into as Twitter and Remember the Milk, so we can see a lot more 3rd party integration.

2. Can we get a better way to dig in to our Windows Live Contacts without first having to open the Essentials Mail app and then clicking Contacts? Same for Calendar. Can we separate how these are launched?

3. How long before the Photo Gallery app brings automatic people tagging via face recognition like the new iPhoto, or Picasa Web? Better yet, how about some Facebook tag syncing with people tags, like the new iPhoto?

4. How long before we can access Skydrive from our desktop? Would this be a new Essentials app, or access from Explorer? How about a Federated Search plugin?

5. What do we have to look forward to in terms of Windows 7 integration features, like better Jump Lists? Will apps like Photo Gallery make use of Libraries?

Here are a few questions...
1. What is the status of Live Web Messenger? Is it still in development?
2. Windows Live Call is limited to a specific VOIP provider and does not support inbound voice calls. Are there any plans to expand WLC's capabilities? Many small businesses/individuals who are NOT using Office Communication Server or ResponsePoint would benefit from a configurable SIP client to connect to 3rd party providers.
3. Will Live Mesh and Live Video Messages eventually become part of Live Essentials?
4. What new features are you planning in Wave 4 of Windows Live services?

One serious thing that bugs me: Windows Live team has been saying that they support Firefox for a long time now. But even today, the experience in Firefox is not "complete". For a very recent example - consider the new Windows Live Photos portal. If you open a slideshow in IE, you get a nice thumbnail scroller on the right side which is completely absent from Firefox. To add insult to the injury, the slideshow photos are show in smaller size in Firefox. There are few more examples all over Windows Live like this.
Can you ask them why they still treat Firefox as second grade citizen? Especially since IE7 and IE8 are nothing to write home about (in terms of performance).

and one more thing.. please add multiple live ID login support to firefox .. and other possible browsers as well

One thing I wish they would do is have an open syncing api/framework/ability with Windows Live to sync contacts and information and stuff not only between applications like now but to devices (not only windows mobile and things) and 3rd party hardware/devices and software(iphones/ipod touch for example). Then again I wish google would too if either beat the other would definitely prompt a switch for me. But we can always dream.

But the Windows Live Mail contact book/calender application is great just wish it had a bit more practicle use beyond the use inside Windows Live Mail itself. Maybe Live mesh will solve this to some degree, i dunno.

Here's my question: Now that Microsoft struck a deal with Facebook, will we see Facebook Chat integrated with Windows Live Messenger in the near future?

Kevin. said,
Here's my question: Now that Microsoft struck a deal with Facebook, will we see Facebook Chat integrated with Windows Live Messenger in the near future?

No.

Kevin, I asked this in a Q&A session today. It's something they are looking at but it's down to Facebook really to open up. I'd expect some more integration over this year, the feeds is just the start.

creamhackered said,
Kevin, I asked this in a Q&A session today. It's something they are looking at but it's down to Facebook really to open up. I'd expect some more integration over this year, the feeds is just the start.

Ah, ok. Thanks! It'd be great if both services were interoperable.