Microsoft adds mobile, single sign-on support to Live ID

Microsoft expanded the capabilities of Windows Live ID, adding support for single sign-on and making it possible for users to get an ID from a mobile device.

Microsoft has expanded the capabilities of its Windows Live ID service by adding support for single sign-on for its Windows Live services and making it possible for users to sign up for an ID from a mobile device.

Microsoft executives posted the updates to Windows Live on separate blog entries. Windows Live ID is the gateway to Microsoft's Windows Live services, which include e-mail, instant messaging, blog hosting and security.

Users with multiple sign-ons for various Windows Live services can now unify them through one ID and password, according to a blog entry from Jeff Steinbok, a member of Microsoft's Live Spaces development team (sign-in required). To set this up, users can go to the Windows Live account site and look for the section called Linked Windows Live IDs. A user can add IDs to a single "linked" ID and password so they only need to sign in once to use various Windows Live services.

Microsoft also is giving users the ability to sign up for a Windows Live ID from mobile devices, according to a Windows Live Spaces blog post by Phil Holden, director of online services (sign-in required). In his post, he wrote that Microsoft designed to work with built-in mobile phone browsers and users only need a data plan from a mobile carrier to get started.

To sign up for a Windows Live ID from a mobile phone, users have two options they can use directly from their mobile browser, according to Holden. They can go directly to the Windows Live account-creation site or go to http://mobile.live.com and find a Windows Live service, such as Hotmail, and select "Get a Windows Live ID."

Microsoft is trying to make its Windows Live services more appealing and widely accessible to users as it competes with Google and Yahoo to provide Web-based services to businesses and consumers. Yesterday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer emphasized how mobile devices are key to Microsoft's services strategy, in comments made during a keynote at the CTIA Wireless I.T. and Entertainment conference in San Francisco. Overall, Microsoft hopes its online services will fuel its strategy to earn more revenue through online advertising linked to those services.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service

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