Last week, in a widely anticipated move, Microsoft officially started tolling the bell for Windows Live’s demise.
Although the current Windows Live apps will be available for the foreseeable future, they’re now orphans — soon to be replaced by new Windows 8 Metro apps.
Live applications give way to Metro apps
Windows 8, which seems to be on track for an October release, will usher in scores of new programs, new ways of working, and completely new methods for interacting with that old war horse we call Windows. I’ve already written about several improvements in Windows 8 — Storage Spaces (Jan. 12) and UEFI secure boot (Jan. 19), among others — and I’ve lambasted several parts I don’t like, most notably the Metro Start screen (March 8) and the confusing array of versions (April 25).
The Windows Live series just doesn’t fit into Windows 8′s new paradigm. Previously, as Windows evolved, older programs still worked comfortably in newer Windows interfaces. But the future is Metro, and it requires applications that match its immersive experience.
For example, Windows Live Mail (which replaced XP’s Outlook Express and Vista’s Windows Mail) will be retired to the old-bits farm and replaced by Metro Mail, which will run only on Metro. “Retired” is the key word here — Windows Live Mail won’t immediately disappear; you’ll probably be able to download it until the last Windows 7 machine bites the dust in 2055. But Microsoft isn’t going to put any more effort into Windows Live Mail. It’s being orphaned, just as Outlook Express and Windows Mail were orphaned before it.
Microsoft laid out this transition last week in a Building Windows 8 blog post titled, entertainingly, “Cloud services for Windows 8 and Windows Phone: Windows Live, reimagined.” The, uh, reimagination includes a chart that shows Windows 8′s new applications and services and how they relate to the current Windows Live apps.
Like it or not, this is the way of the future.