Disbanding Microsoft’s Live Labs Group May be Good for Windows Mobile

My first thought after reading this item over on PaidContent.org…

Microsoft Breaks Up Its Live Labs Group

..was this was a shame since I thought some of the ideas coming out of there were interesting/useful to me. Then, I read this further along in the news story…

Moving forward, about half of the Live Labs group will remain but will focus solely on search, while the other half will join product groups within Microsoft, including Windows Mobile and the company’s online services division…

In my opinion, this means that some good may come out of disbanding Live Labs if the Windows Mobile group absorbs some of Labs’ people and projects. I’ve long felt that some of the Window Live mobile products were interesting but either missed the mark or were plain dangerous. Until recently, for example, installing some Live mobile components merged Outlook contacts and Hotmail (Live Mail) contacts without asking. For some of us legacy online mail contacts lists are near garbage and should never ever touch actual contacts that live inside of Microsoft Outlook. The most recent Live beta I tested thankfully got that message and let me avoid merging the useless Hotmail/Messenger contacts list with my Outlook contacts (I’m still trying to clean up my Gmail contacts list since I’ve been using that lately).

That said, the first order of business that should happen after part of the Live Labs team moves over to Windows Mobile is to create a true OTA (Over The Air) sync with Live Mail Contacts and Calendar. Windows Mobile hardware vendors no longer ship Microsoft Outlook with smartphones. So, Windows Mobile smartphone owners should not be forced to have Outlook or an Exchange Server. They should be able to sync with the free Live Mail Contacts and Calender.