Microsoft continues paring back the Windows Live family

Posted by sumeethevans on June 5 2008, 3:30 AM. Posted in Windows Live.

Microsoft is slowly but surely whittling back the unwieldy family of Windows Live services that the company fielded over the past couple of years.

The latest candidate set to get the ax is Windows Live Expo, Microsoft’s attempt to take on Craig’s List in the classified ads space. Like the guys over at LiveSide.Net, I am hearing Microsoft will phase out Live Expo as of July 31.

I asked a Microsoft whether Windows Live Expo’s days are numbered and why, and received a note back from a spokesperson claiming there was nothing new to say about the service.

Last month, Microsoft acknowledged that it was killing off the Windows Live Book Search and Windows Live Academic Search services. Microsoft recently pulled the plug on Windows Live for TV, as well.Microsoft isn’t shooting all of its Live services. The core set of Windows Live services — e-mail (Windows Live Mail), photo sharing (Windows Live Photo Gallery), publishing tool (Windows Live Writer), parental controls (Windows Live OneCare Family Safety), instant messaging (Windows Live Messenger — united via a common installer, are all still alive and kicking.

In fact, Microsoft just rolled out a new version of Live Writer. And the beta of Windows Live Messenger 9.0 is set to end in late June, meaning Microsoft is set to roll out a newer final version of its consumer IM service soon. And Microsoft announced this week it had signed up No. 1 PC vendor Hewlett Packard to preload the Windows Live toolbar on new PCs, starting next year. (In March 2007, Microsoft signed a similar OEM deal with Lenovo for the Windows Live toolbar.)

But the future of services outside of the core Windows Live group seems uncertain. I had been hearing talk for the past few months that Microsoft was readying a new consumer service for public safety.

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