With the release of Windows Live Writer on August 11, 2006, Microsoft has delivered a winner for bloggers who want to use a desktop client.
I started experimenting with the Live Writer three days ago and was able to set it up easily to work with my WordPress blog. All the Live Writer needs is the user name and password and it automatically recognizes the type of blog you have and configures it self. Although Microsoft hopes that bloggers will use the Live Writer as a client for Windows Live Spaces, Microsoft has gone out of its way to make sure that it is compatible with other weblogs including Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, and WordPress. Frankly, given the history of Microsoft, I am pleasantly surprised and impressed with the Live Writer.
Prior to Live Writer, I was using Writely to blog my posts. Writely is the web based word processor that was bought by Google in March of 2006 and potentially poses a threat to Microsoft Word. However, Writley is very limited in that it can only be configured for one blog at a time. With Live Writer, one can maintain multiple blogs switching easily between them.
When Google bought Blogger in February 2003, it showed incredible foresight into the future of blogging and where the Internet was headed. However, Google appears to have squandered valuable time and the opportunity it had to improve the Blogger. It is only now that Blogger is getting a major upgrade from Google which will give it some of the features that WordPress has had for a while.
Microsoft, with the introduction of the Live Writer has delivered a strong counter punch to Google. First, like many Google products, Microsoft is offering the Live Writer for free. So people are going to try it! Most will like Live Writer because it is very user friendly. Second, for those individuals who were using Writely to blog, the Live Writer is a far superior choice. Third, by assuring that the Live Writer is compatible with Blogger, Typepad, LiveJournal, WordPress, and other formats, Microsoft is creating some good will among users which it needs very badly given its history.
Let’s face it. Whether you love or hate Microsoft, it has a record of coming from behind and catching up and even surpassing competitors. Google, however, is no Netscape. Although Google will remain the search king for the foreseeable future, it needs a very clear focus and a strategy to compete with Microsoft on other Internet fronts. Upgrading Blogger is a good move, although it could have been done much earlier. Google should not let Writely stagnate like that for years and ideally develop it as comprehensive blogging tool. That is where the future of the Internet is going.