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.

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