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"Using any of these services is optional, and you're welcome to mix and match them with the software and services you choose," he said.
Across-the-Board Data Sharing
Hilwa said the disappearance of the Live moniker is a smart cleaning of clutter around branding for Microsoft.
"But the key here is the way the various services are weaved together to create value for the user," Hilwa said. "The battles for Web users and mobile devices are essentially being strategically yoked together."
For example, whenever a Microsoft account holder snaps photos using a camera-enabled Windows Phone handset, the images will be automatically uploaded to the individual's SkyDrive. Additionally, SkyDrive will make it easier for users to share and collaborate on Office documents -- either using Office Web Apps or Office client applications, Jones said.
Developers also can use Microsoft's SkyDrive APIs to provide an even deeper level of roaming and support in their apps if they choose.
"Through the innovative features of Contracts and File Pickers in Windows 8, you can access your SkyDrive data from within any Windows 8 Metro-style app," Jones said.
Microsoft also is supporting third-party developers through the Live SDK, which enables developers to cloud-power their Metro-style apps, or apps and services for other platforms.
"Our APIs use standard and familiar protocols including OAuth 2.0, JSON, REST, Exchange ActiveSync, and XMPP," Jones said.