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RealTime IT News

Windows Live Finds a New, Pre-installed Home

Microsoft has scored a big customer for its Windows Live online service. Lenovo announced today that it plans to make the Live.com portal the default home page and include the Windows Live Toolbar on all its computers worldwide.

Peter Gaucher, executive director for strategic alliances at Lenovo, said the company considered alternatives, but ultimately decided in favor of Microsoft Live.

"We were looking for a portal strategy and settled on Microsoft Windows Live because of the balance and flexibility it offers," Gaucher told internetnews.com. "The other solutions are good, but force the user into a canned experience, and we wanted to offer something they could customize. Also, there's a very short list of companies who can deliver the kind of global footprint and content we were looking for."

Google struck a similar deal with Dell last year to have the Google Desktop, search, and Toolbar be among the default settings and Web utilities offered in Dell computers and notebooks.

Lenovo will start including Live in systems by the end of this month in the U.S. Gaucher said the initial offering will be "vanilla" Windows Live, with the same free search and toolbar access any Web user can get by visiting Microsoft's Live Web site. "Over time we're going to add functionality based on Microsoft's product roadmap and our ability to deliver customized gadgets and other value to the portal," said Gaucher.

The deal extends to all Lenovo computers including its ThinkPad notebooks, ThinkCentre desktops and Lenovo-branded PCs. Though not exclusive, it's the first such agreement by a global PC maker to include Windows Live.

"This is obviously a big win for Microsoft with Lenovo being a global player and having such a big presence in China and much of Asia and the ThinkPad in corporate America," Tim Bajarin, president of the market research firm Creative Strategies, told internetnews.com. "Microsoft is building a legitimate competitor to Google with Live and landing Lenovo as a key partner is a great step."

Microsoft offers updates to Live and beta services in development, such as Live.com mobile systems, at its Windows Live Ideas Web site.