A look back at the year since Windows 7 released

A look back at the year since Windows 7 released

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Windows 7 logo

October 22 marks one year since the release of Windows 7. This is a huge milestone for Windows and for Microsoft. Windows 7 has already sold 240 million copies, more than any other operating system in the same timeframe and helping bring us to 1.2 billion people using Windows worldwide. This is something we’re both honored and humbled by, and we wanted to share some of the other highlights for Windows during the past year.

As you know, your Windows experience is more than the Windows 7 operating system. It’s about how you connect to the sites and services you love with Internet Explorer, how you connect with your people and your stuff through Windows Live, and how you do all of this across your devices – whether that’s your PC running Windows 7, a new mobile phone using Windows Phone 7, or another device.

The complete Windows experience

To enable websites to provide a better web on Windows, we released a number of platform previews of Internet Explorer 9 over the last few months, leading up to the first public beta of Internet Explorer 9 in mid-September. Since then, we’ve already seen 6 million downloads of IE9, far outstripping the adoption rate for Internet Explorer 8. We believe this is driven by the way that sites are now at the center of your browsing experience in IE9, and the way that Internet Explorer’s faster web browsing platform lets you take better advantage of everything the PC has to offer.

The complete Windows 7 experience

This week, Windows Phone 7 started to become available around the world, starting first in New Zealand, and then releasing in other countries in Asia and Europe. Windows Phone 7 availability will continue to spread around the world in the coming weeks and months, with 60 mobile operators already planning to provide new Windows Phone devices. Windows Phone 7 is a huge reinvention of the modern smart phone, including a fundamentally different design paradigm, with unique new concepts like dynamically updated “live tiles” and easy-to-navigate hubs that make your phone a pleasure to use (according to Gizmodo). And through Internet Explorer and Windows Live, Windows Phone also makes it easy to connect to your sites, your people, and your stuff.

People hub on Windows Phone 7

And that brings us to Windows Live. This past year has been a huge one for us too, with a ton of new product releases, a lot of valuable feedback from our customers, and some great early momentum on the latest Windows Live release. Let’s take a quick look back on the last year.

Windows Live logo

Completing the Windows 7 experience with Windows Live Essentials

Windows Live Essentials is a suite of applications designed to complete your Windows PC experience. In June, we released a beta of the new Windows Live Essentials, and got very valuable feedback from millions of you, which led to a refresh of the beta in August, and the final Windows Live Essentials 2011 in September.

Windows Live Essentials logo

The new Windows Live Essentials 2011 includes:

  • Windows Live Messenger lets you stay in touch with your friends by chatting with them on Messenger, Facebook, Yahoo! Messenger, Lync, and Xbox, and by viewing and commenting on their social updates from Messenger, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and over 75 other websites that you can connect to in Messenger.
    Windows Live Messenger 2011
  • Windows Live Mail helps you keep track of your email, calendar, and contacts from Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail Plus, and other email services.
  • Windows Live Writer makes it easy to update your blog on Wordpress.com, Blogger, TypePad, and many more blogging services.
  • Window Live Photo Gallery helps you organize and share photos with your friends on SkyDrive, Flickr, SmugMug, Facebook, and other photo sharing services.
    Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011
  • Windows Live Movie Maker makes it easy to create a high-quality video and instantly share it with friends on SkyDrive, YouTube, and other video sharing sites.
  • Windows Live Mesh helps you sync your files, folders, and settings across your PCs (or even your Mac!) and to connect back to your PC from virtually any computer.
  • Windows Live Family Safety gives you the tools to help keep your kids safer on the Internet.

It’s only been a few weeks since we released Windows Live Essentials 2011. That said, we’re excited about some of the early data. PC manufacturers are already choosing to pre-install Windows Live Essentials on over 75% of all consumer PCs. Windows Live Messenger has over 300 million active users and with our new Facebook integration in Messenger 2011, we’re currently the #3 app for connecting to Facebook (in terms of daily active users). And in just this short time, Windows Live Mesh is syncing over 500 terabytes of data between PCs, demonstrating the importance of ensuring you can connect to your stuff. And as CNET said, this update creates a “wide pipeline to the cloud.”

Delivering the next generation of personal email with Hotmail

Windows Live Hotmail logo

Whether it’s on your PC or on the phone, Windows Live Hotmail has made enormous strides in the last year. We released a series of updates that have changed personal email for hundreds of millions of people, and we’re proud to hear how Hotmail is making your lives more efficient. We now have over 360 million active Hotmail users who are receiving 8 billion email messages daily and storing over 150 petabytes of photos, documents, and other data on our servers.

Here are some Hotmail highlights from the past year.

  • In June, we delivered the first set of Hotmail updates that made possible a whole new level of personal productivity from your inbox. With new features like Sweep and automatic filtering, Hotmail helps you keep your inbox clutter free, and saves you time on common tasks like sending photos.
    Sharing photos in Windows Live Hotmail
  • Hotmail also became integrated with the new Office Web Apps, so that you can view, edit, and share Word docs, Excel workbooks, PowerPoint presentations, and OneNote notebooks, all from within Hotmail. In the first 100 days after Office Web Apps launched in the US, UK, Canada, and Ireland, we had over 20 million customers for these apps, a number that is pretty phenomenal for a first generation service that’s had virtually no advertising.
    PowerPoint Web App
  • At the end of August, we added Exchange Active Sync to Hotmail, so you could access your email, contacts, and calendar from your smart phone.
  • In September, Office Web Apps became even more robust, with the ability to embed your Office docs in websites and blogs, and mobile access to your Excel spreadsheets.
  • That update was quickly followed by several new security updates to help keep hijackers out of your Hotmail account.

In the words of Katie Boehret from the Wall Street Journal, we’re “Making Hotmail Hot Again.”

Connecting the services you use with Windows Live

As I discussed in my blog about our approach to partnerships, partnering with the sites and services you already know and love is an integral part of the Windows Live strategy. As I’ve already mentioned, we’ve brought great services like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and over 75 other websites into Messenger. Similarly, we’ve deeply integrated great services like Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and TypePad into Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, and Writer. With Hotmail, we’ve made email from other companies more interactive through Active Views that let you track packages and view attachments, right from your inbox. And in September, we announced a huge new partnership with WordPress.com as the premier blogging experience for Windows Live customers.

Windows Live plus WordPress logos

We also released the beta version of Messenger Connect in June of this year, allowing developers from all over the web to quickly and easily connect their apps and their users to Messenger and Hotmail. This enables hundreds of millions of customers to more easily share stuff they’re doing across the web with their Messenger friends, and enables our partners to embed the world’s largest instant messaging network directly into their sites. After collecting feedback from over 2500 developers using the beta, last week we released a much improved final version of Messenger Connect.

Messenger Connect logo

Through Messenger Connect and our partnerships with leading websites and social aggregators, over 2 million sites now allow people to share content with their friends via Messenger.

As we talked about in our discussion on partnering, this is a new approach for Windows Live over the last few years and is now fundamental to how we deliver great consumer experiences. And in the words of Frederic Lardinois of ReadWriteWeb, “The Microsoft Tanker Has Turned and You Ignore it at Your Own Peril.”

Lighting up your phone with Windows Live

Last but not least, this year has been a big one for mobile phone integration. With the new Windows Phone, you’ll get direct integration with Hotmail, Messenger, and SkyDrive. It’s never been easier to share photos from your mobile phone than with the new Windows Phone 7. Once you connect your phone to Windows Live, every photo you take is automatically uploaded for you to SkyDrive, so you can access it from anywhere, and share it with anyone you want.

Uploading a photo to SkyDrive with Windows Phone 7

We also released our first Messenger app for iPhone and subsequently made several updates to this app. Beyond letting you chat with your friends and see their updates, improvements over the last few months have included adding Facebook chat, and translating our app into 31 languages.

Messenger iPhone app

It's been an exciting year

We’re very excited about all that Windows Live has been able to release in the last 12 months, and how this connects with Internet Explorer, Windows Phone, and Windows 7 to bring together the full Windows promise.

Of course, the thing that really makes this worthwhile is our customers, and seeing how you adopt and use our products. So, on behalf of the entire Windows Live team, we want to thank you all for the last year, and I hope you’ll join us in wishing Windows 7 a very happy first birthday!

Dharmesh Mehta
Director, Windows Live Product Management

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  • @Hemingray.  That's odd and shouldn't be happening with 2009 (or later).  I'd recommend using our support center to find a solution: www.windowslivehelp.com/product.aspx.  I didn't see others with the same problem so you likely need to start a new forum topic and one of our moderators can try to help you out.  Thanks for using Messenger.

  • Hemingray
    85 Posts

    @Dharmesh Mehta: I ask because I have 2009 on both my main PC (Windows 7) and my notebook (Windows XP). I signed into WLM on the laptop kicked my main PC off messenger.

  • @Hemingray.  Both 2009 and 2011 versions of Messenger support signing in from multiple locations.  You can find more information on the feature here: explore.live.com/windows-live-messenger-multiple-places-signed-in-faq

  • Hemingray
    85 Posts

    Um, I know this isn't the right place, but Does Live Messenger 2009 no longer support multiple signin?

  • I think MS should concentrate on session-long HTTPS before worrying about more 'toys.'



  • Hello. Not to detract from the exceptional experience I have had with the entire Live essentials package, but the last few weeks more and more spam mail is getting through your filters. I have been hit with several dozen a day that used to be zero the first few months of my new hotmail account. What's going on? What is Microsoft doing to fix this issue? They shouldn't even make it to my junk email folder, and certainly not my inbox like they are now. Any Microsoft people want to answer this?

  • thuriel
    10 Posts

    All of them are awesome releases besides the new Messenger, it sucks butt

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    I'm gonna be quite frank.

    Windows Live Essentials:  Bad if you're on XP.  Somewhat Decent on Vista.  Good on Windows 7.

    Windows Live Messenger for iPhone:  Useless if you have an Android Device.  Great if you have an iPhone.  No one who just got a brand new Android device is about to spend $500 on a WP7 device.  Need an Android client.  Until then, there is no point in even using Messenger - at all - if you use Android (and many people do).  The 3rd Party Clients are attrocious and require users to create yet another account to use something they are already signed up for.

    Internet Explorer 9 Beta:  Should have been held back a few months.  Some of Microsoft's own sites do not even work properly with this browser.  I had it on both my machines and uninstalled it last night.  It's unusably limiting and it's not fun being forced to install a 3rd party browser because IE9 simply doesn't work for so many web sites.  No, I'm not going to make a note of teach one and send in feedback.  I stopped doing that half a decade ago.  I will say that it fails on the WoW Armory and WoWHead.  Tooltips on those sites do not work correctly.  Some sites work in compatibility mode, others simplly don't work at all.  I've also had issues with getting sites to load if I click on a link of Copy a Link and paste it into the Address Bar.

    This browser, as it currently stands, is unusable for any serious user that uses sites outside of the "few popular ones" which use JavaScript (among other things).

    The speed is great, but I didn't notice a big difference in real-world use over IE8.  The best thing about IE9 is the minimalized User Interface.  However, putting a browser out and urging people to download it when they will be forced to install Google Chrome, Opera, Firefox, or Safari to access sites that "just work" in IE8 is a marketing faux pas, IMO.

    Great features, good improvements, love the new interface, love pin to task bar.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work for me.  Useless as it stands.

  • Congratulations Microsoft!

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    That year has gone fast. I can remember getting my copy of Windows 7 Professional on the launch day like it was yesterday! And so many improvements on Windows Live and Windows Phone! And another thing (kind of off topic). I have the latest Hotmail rollout....but the pinning doesn't work. It just shows a white square with the Hotmail logo. No jump-list support. I'm usinh Internet Explorer 9. Any help, anyone?

  • Congratulations on a job well done.

  • 7flavor
    352 Posts

    Well only if you didn't remove features I would have been happier (en.wikipedia.org/.../List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_7). Hopefully SP1 will fix some of the most annoying issues like inability to disable auto sort and auto arrange. Windows Live Wave 4 and IE9 also continue to "simplify" assuming everyone wants functionality stripped off.

  • That's amazing. How time flies. So much have been done over the one year since the initial launch. Well done Microsoft! I've never turned regretted ever since I started to use Windows 7. That's how good it is.:-) www.pcoptimizationsecrets.com/happy-1st-birthday-windows-7

  • Hemingray
    85 Posts

    Wow! It's been that long already? Only seems like yesterday that I just unwrapped my preordered copy on launch day! Congrats Microsoft & the Windows Team! On top of Windows 2000 and XP, this has to be one of your top notch, best OS releases yet!