In his announcement, Niall casually mentions that Live.com will be the new homepage for IE7 and Vista. That's very big news, and demonstrates a fundamental shift in priorities for Microsoft. Richard McManus does a nice job of articulating the importance of this move, noting:
1) It'll be the biggest mass market use of RSS technologies since Yahoo put feeds into MyYahoo back in September 2004. This will be a huge boost for RSS.
2) It will mean Live.com replaces MSN as the IE homepage - which as LiveSide pointed out
will mean "pushing Windows Live Search at the expense of MSN ad
revenue." If this isn't confirmation that Microsoft sees Google as its
number 1 competitor/threat now, I don't know what is…
It will mean the world of gadgets (aka widgets or modules) and web
services will go mainstream. Forget the current lot of boring clock and
weather gadgets, the real power of these mini-apps is in their ability
to integrate devices and media — think of the upcoming tv recommendations gadget, which talks to your Media Center box in order to program tv shows.
Sweet. Content provided by the default behavior of IE and Vista will be extensible by design. This is not MSN with some preferences...it's dramatically more customizable to include content (microcontent) from any and all feed sources.