TechRadar today spoke to a Microsoft representative who doesn't think online apps need to have integration with the browser itself. Following Google's Chrome browser launch, complete with desktop-access to Google's apps, we asked Microsoft whether it has considered integrating Windows Live apps with Internet Explorer 8 – legal issues aside, of course.

"Well, what we've done with Windows Live, particularly in the last year is brought everything together so it connects very well," explained Windows Live Commercial Lead Ian Moulster. "Messenger connects to Mail. Spaces connecting to SkyDrive. It's very nicely joined up."

"I don't think you particularly need the browser in order to do that. You can use any browser (as a front end) and it will work in the same seamless way so I don't see there being a connection between the two," he added.

What of the competition?

And what of competition for IE8 from Chrome? "It's difficult to comment on Chrome as it's a product I haven't seen," said Moulster. "Having choice is a good thing from a consumer point of view. We feel very sure that IE8 is going to stand up against any other browser out there." His comments echo those of Mozilla Europe head Tristan Nitot when we spoke to him earlier.

Google has said that it wants to actively encourage development from third parties. Moulster says that IE8's Activities and Web Slices are still designed so third parties can design plug-ins for the browser. "The approach we've got with Internet Explorer 8 is that people can develop things for it (such as Activities). In terms of openness, we [encourage] people to develop things around Internet Explorer."