Microsoft is making plans to drop an assortment of e-mail and media-editing tools from the next version of Windows, concentrating instead on those programs' Windows Live analogues.
The Engineering Windows 7 blog, run by engineering team leaders Steven Sinofsky (senior VP of the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group) and Jon DeVaan (senior VP of the Windows Core Operating System Division), frames the forthcoming OS as an "ecosystem" comprised of PC and hardware manufacturers, developers, users, and enthusiasts. Going extinct from that ecosystem will be the following: Windows Mail, Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Calendar, Windows Contacts, and Windows Movie Maker.
Instead, users will be encouraged to download free versions of those programs from Windows Live, as Microsoft representatives confirmed to BetaNews today.
Call it the Slimmer-and-Faster diet. After the five-year mission that was the development and launch of Windows Vista, Microsoft's hinting at simplifying matters for Windows 7 -- unbundling tools that turned up, redundantly enough, in both the Vista OS and Windows Live. And though there's no predicting whether the new OS itself will show speed gains, the speed to market of the next version is key, with public demonstrations of the system on tap as early as late October's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.
Sinofsky, formerly in charge of keeping Microsoft Office on its 18-month update regimen, is widely believed to be serious about getting OS schedules on track. Moreover, the current redundancy is relatively inefficient. With Microsoft constrained by various antitrust rulings, shifting some applications to Windows Live and perhaps even third-party developers could make a tight turnaround schedule somewhat less dire.
Last week's rollout of "Wave 3" of Windows Live included a version of Movie Maker; the release included much but not all of the Vista version's functionality; Mail, Photo Gallery, Calendar and Contacts were already represented on Live. Meanwhile, screen captures purportedly grabbed from the current Win7 beta build -- 6780 -- and posted on various sites over the weekend show programs such as Wordpad, Paint, and Calculator are still going strong as part of the OS.