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Windows Live is a discontinued brand-name for a set of web services and products from as part of its platform. It has been superseded by a product branded . Chief components under the brand name include web services (all of which are exposed through corresponding ), several computer programs that interact with the services, and .

According to Microsoft, Windows Live "is a way to extend the ". As such, Windows Vista's welcome screen provides a link to download or to subscribe to . Also, , and were not offered with and became an exclusive part of Windows Live. Microsoft announced that would see Windows Live apps included right , and would include built-in synchronization technologies powered by (then SkyDrive). The Windows Live brand was phased out during August 2012, when Microsoft . Active Windows Live services remained active but were gradually renamed.

In addition to Windows Live, which is mainly aimed at individuals, Microsoft brands other properties as "", including:



Windows Live was first announced on November 1, 2005. In its initial release, several Windows Live properties were rebranded and enhanced from Microsoft's set of products and services. However, MSN still exists alongside Windows Live as a means of delivering content (as opposed to customized content and communications). In May 2012 Microsoft began renaming Windows Live services, partly in anticipation of Windows 8, which integrates many of the Windows Live products and services into the operating system.


Online services[]

The following services were once part of Windows Live but are still online even though the brand name is dropped.

Mobile services[]

Windows Phone[]

Main article:

My Windows Phone is a free online companion service for mobile devices that provides users with a free mobile phone back-up solution by wirelessly synchronizing contacts, calendar appointments, photos, and notebooks with a password-protected online portal. Users can access and manage their information stored on their Windows Phone devices via the online portal using their , as well as accessing a set of features for remotely ringing, locking, mapping, and erasing their lost phones. This service integrates tightly with other Windows Live services including , , and .


Main article:

Microsoft released a application on the , which allows users on mobile devices running the iOS to communicate with their contacts via the . In addition to the instant messaging functionalities, the application also allows users to view their Messenger social feed, view their friends' 's, and integrate with and .

Feature phone[]

Windows Live also provides customised services specifically created for . It is offered via three channels — through Client-based (for and other supported mobile devices such as phones), Web-based (for or -enabled mobile web browsers), or -based services.

Mobile Service Offered through Exchange ActiveSync support? Description Status Client Web SMS Calendar Mobile Yes Yes Yes Web-based version of designed for mobile devices to view, schedule and manage calendar appointments and events. SMS service for users to query today and tomorrow's appointments in their calendar Final People Mobile Yes Yes Yes Yes Web-based version of designed for mobile devices for access to contact information. Client-based version allows integration of the contact list with the mobile device's address book. Also allow users to query contact information via SMS Final Windows Live Groups Mobile Yes Web-based version of designed for mobile devices Final Mobile Yes Yes Yes Yes Web- and client-based version of that targets mobile devices, and allow new email alerts via SMS Final Yes Yes Yes Web- and client-based version of that is designed for mobile devices, and allow users to send instant messages via SMS Final Windows Live Profile Mobile Yes View and update user's own information using a mobile device Final Microsoft SkyDrive Mobile Yes Yes Web-based version of designed for mobile devices for accessing documents stored on the cloud. Client-based version allows upload of photos directly from a mobile phone camera. Final

Search services[]

Main article:

Bing, a replacement of the search engine Live Search, was originally named Windows Live Search (and MSN Search prior to that) and was once part of the Windows Live family of services. Windows Live Search once occupied the homepage of Live.com, the domain for all Windows Live services. However, on March 21, 2007, Microsoft decided to separate its search developments from its Windows Live services family, forming part of the Live Search and Ad Platform. As part of this reorganization, the new search brand, Live Search, was consolidated with , a part of Microsoft's Platform and Systems division. However, Microsoft recognised that there was a brand issue as the word "Live" continued to remain in the brand. As an effort to create a new identity for Microsoft's search services, on June 3, 2009, Live Search was officially rebranded as .

Developer services[]

Main article:

Live Connect is a collection of APIs and common controls that allow developers to have a deeper control and offers access to the core Windows Live services and data through open and easily accessible (APIs). Live Connect is built on standard web technologies such as OAuth 2.0, Representational State Transfer (REST), and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), and is designed to work with any technology or device. Live Connect unites the previously separate APIs of Windows Live into a single API that is based on industry standards and specifications.


Microsoft has released several computer programs with "Windows Live" brand, a summary of which is included below. All except are and published in a called (formerly Windows Live Essentials). Essentials programs are designed to integrate well with each other, within , and with other Windows Live services such as and .Windows Live OneCare on the other hand, was a commercial consumers marketed with a licensing model.

Discontinued services[]

Windows Live Butterfly[]

The Windows Live Butterfly awards program (formerly the MSN Butterfly program) was a program whose members were given the benefit of new Microsoft software to test before the beta releases went public and they were in direct contact with the program managers for Windows Live products.

Microsoft had initiated the Windows Live Butterfly program in order to recognize the contributions made by exemplary beta testers. Prospective 'butterflies' were selected by the Windows Live product team and were nominated for a term of one year, after which they could be renominated.

The Windows Live Butterfly program was closed in June 2009.

User interface[]

All Windows Live websites sport a common theme. Different themes have been used on the sites with each phase of product release, called "Waves." Each Wave has a set of online services and desktop programs (). The web services are labelled by each Wave, for example, Wave 4. The programs from Windows Essentials are usually called by a year number, for example, 2011.

Blue Vapor/Flair[]

The Windows Live Flair header

Most original Windows Live applications and services used a visual theme known as Blue Vapor or Flair. This theme no longer exists on any of the current Windows Live properties.

Wave 2[]

Windows Live 2.0 header

With the public beta release of the Windows Live Wave 2 Suite ("Wave" refers to the group or wave of products to be released), a new visual theme was released to enable the transparency effect in . This theme no longer exists on any of the current Windows Live properties.

Wave 3[]

Windows Live 3.0 header

Microsoft released a set of new themes for their Windows Live Wave 3 services, which allows users to customize their pages on Windows Live using a set of pre-selected background pictures. Several of these themes are dynamic and change according to the time of day and the current weather condition of the user. This theme remains in use on sites such as .

Wave 4[]

Windows Live Wave 4 header

In addition to the themes provided in Windows Live Wave 3, the release of Windows Live Wave 4 provided additional themes for users to customise their pages on Windows Live, with several dynamic themes that changes according to the time of day and weather conditions at the user's location. Several of these newly added themes are similar to wallpapers originating from . In addition, the Windows Live Wave 4 header features a reorganised dynamic navigation menu that displays the number of the user's current online contacts and the number of unread e-mails, as well as an in-built service allowing users to connect to the and chat service to chat with their online contacts while browsing any Windows Live properties using a web browser. This theme remains in use on sites such as .

Wave 5[]

Windows Live Wave 5 header

All Windows Live apps for Windows 8 are designed with a user interface. All web services also feature a new Metro-style user interface and stop using "Windows Live" in their names. The UI's header contains a pull-down element with allow users to easily switch to , , , and . The header's color also changes depending on the web service the user is using, with the exception of Outlook.com which allow users to customize the header's color according to their preference. The new interface also has an in-built Messaging sidebar that allow users to view presence of, instant message, audio call and video call their contacts on , chat, as well as .

In February 2014, Wave 5 services and Office Web Apps were consolidated and rebranded as .

Renamed services[]

The Windows Live services are renamed as listed:


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