I will post more on this next week but the differences between the two presentations was considerable. Regrettably, Microsoft may have the better product. Regrettable, because on the basis of attendees at the respective presentations, few publishers will know it is better because few publishers bothered to show up at the presentation. This may have been partially due to the difficult to find conference room in which the presentation was made; however, MS only had about 20 attendees versus two Google presentations in front of over 125 in each case.
Microsoft have definitely learned from Google in the way Google approached the presentation and the management of the publishers' content. The display is visually more appealing in the Live case and they have incorporated a number of widgets that allow outbound linking which will be very useful to users and publishers. It is the publisher 'work-bench' that I identified as a key differentiator. In Live, the access for a publisher to manage the content - particularly content access, pricing and rights information - is especially functional versus the Google model. I will look into and describe the benefits to Live next week.
No publisher should market and promote their books exclusively through the Google Book program. Intuitively, most publishers would understand this, but why there were so few people willing to spend the time with Microsoft is shocking. Microsoft Live for Books is the new kid on the block and it would seem more likely that having heard the Google spiel numerous times, publishers would be very interested in hearing from someone else. Especially when that someone else has gone out of their way to support publishers copyright.