From PC World Magazine
Quote: In a stunning reversal, Microsoft announced that future versions of Windows would no longer feature e-mail, contact management, calendar, photo management, and movie making in the initial install. Instead, Microsoft customers will be encouraged to download these app’s from Windows Live online services. And although these services are, for now, somewhat underpowered compared with their current in-OS counterparts, there’s every expectation that Microsoft will enrich the entire lineup in time for the Windows 7’s 2009 or 2010 launch.
This is precisely the opposite of what Microsoft did 15 years ago when it launched what would be the last great version of DOS. Back in 1993, Microsoft stuffed the popular desktop PC platform (which still led Windows by a good margin) with its own versions of virtually every popular utility on the market. DOS 6 shipped with memory management, disk compression, backup, antivirus, and hard drive optimization. Two areas—memory management and compression—had before then spawned a cottage industry of solutions that were designed to access memory between 640K and 1MB (hard to believe, isn’t it?) and help users extend their already-overstuffed 20MB (yes, I said "MB") hard drives.
Read the entire story here
Its a turning point to the extent where Microsoft sees more value offering the now debundled productivity and multimedia applications as free downloads to drive innovation. Microsoft has said that bundling Windows Mail, Photo Gallery and Movie Maker held back a great deal of innovation. This was a similar case for Windows Internet Explorer which was originally going to have new releases only with new versions of Windows, but this decision was changed after the Longhorn reset. The benefits consumers will get from their Windows experience with Windows 7 is continued updates and new features beyond what comes in the box and we can even see this happening already with app’s like Windows Live Photo Gallery which succeeded the initial release that came with Vista, featuring better integration with Live Services like Windows Live Spaces and social networks like Flickr and FaceBook.
Microsoft bundled those features in DOS at the time out of necessity, its what users wanted, not what the Company thought they might need. I personally wouldn’t mind if Windows Live Wave 3 came with Windows 7 to save me the time of downloading and installing it. But, there is a balance being created here. Its satisfying end users and third party developers to really compete on their merits.