Microsoft has integrated 20 new third-party applications into Windows Live as part of an effort to make its online services hub more like a social-networking site vis-a-vis Facebook.
Last year, Microsoft began adding more social-networking features to Windows Live, the online services hub it offers to drive online advertising revenue. Microsoft is trying to compete with Google in this market but so far has been unsuccessful.Analysts have said the social-networking features also are a way for Microsoft to retain users, as many people are beginning to use the e-mail services of sites like Facebook in lieu of other e-mail applications and Web-based mail from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. Indeed, a study released Wednesday found that Facebook usage from July 2008 to February 2009 climbed between 16 percent and 32 percent, while usage of Microsoft's Outlook e-mail application remained flat. The study, conducted by Clickstream Technologies, surveyed 2,000 Windows PC users and several hundred home Mac users in the U.S. However, the study did not address if people were using Facebook e-mail in favor of Outlook.