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November 13, 2008 at 00:01 AM EST
Microsoft Introduces Updated Windows Live Services

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. today announced the next generation of Windows Live, an integrated set of online services that make it easier and more fun for consumers to communicate and share with the people they care about most. The new generation of Windows Live includes updated experiences for photo sharing, e-mail, instant messaging, as well as integration with multiple third-party sites. The release also includes Windows Live Essentials, free downloadable software that enhances consumers' Windows experience by helping them simplify and enjoy digital content scattered across their PC, phone and on Web sites. More information about Windows Live is available at http://www.windowslive.com.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO)

Consumers today are creating online content and sharing it in many places across the Web. To help make it simple for the more than 460 million Windows Live customers to keep their friends up to date, Microsoft is collaborating with leading companies including Flickr, LinkedIn Corp., Pandora Media Inc., Photobucket Inc., Twitter, WordPress and Yelp Inc. to integrate activities on third-party sites into Windows Live through a new profile and What's New feed. The new Windows Live also gives consumers the added convenience of having a central place to organize and manage information.

"Think of Windows Live as the single place where people using our e-mail, messaging and photo-sharing services can stay connected," said Chris Jones, corporate vice president of Windows Live Experience Program Management at Microsoft. "Our customers have friends across the Web. They communicate through many unconnected Web services and want access to it all from a single location -- without worrying about how it's done. Now Windows Live takes care of that, with an integrated personal communication service that works across the Web with optimized experiences on the PC and mobile phone."

Microsoft Partners Support New Generation of Windows Live

The ability for Windows Live customers to add third-party sites to their profiles and have those activities appear in a Windows Live feed across their network was made possible through collaboration with more than 50 leading Web companies, including Flickr, LinkedIn, Pandora, Photobucket, Twitter, WordPress and Yelp, among others. As Windows Live customers share photos, update their profiles and write reviews, these activities will automatically publish to their Windows Live network.

"Microsoft's Windows Live is an exciting new platform that enables new experiences for both Photobucket and Microsoft users that would not otherwise be possible," said Alex Welch, president of Photobucket. "Online photo sharing is an important part of people's everyday lives and, as the leading stand-alone photo and video-sharing Web site, Photobucket is thrilled to be teaming up with Windows Live to make this experience even easier for users."

In addition to partnering with leading Web companies, Microsoft announced alliances with HP and China Telecom Corporation Ltd. to deliver Windows Live services to more people across the globe. HP, the worldwide leader in printing solutions, will distribute Windows Live Photo Gallery with its consumer printers, including Photosmart and Deskjet lines, starting next year. The combined offer provides HP customers with Windows Live Photo Gallery, an end-to-end photo management and printing solution.

"Beginning in 2009, HP will feature Windows Live Photo Gallery and HP Creative Print Projects across the HP Photosmart and HP Deskjet consumer printing portfolios," said Sam Greenblatt, general manager of Core Technologies, Imaging and Printing Group, at HP. "We are pleased to be working with Microsoft to provide an enhanced user experience for our customers. This offering will allow users to print, share, organize and edit a wide array of creative print projects at home, such as photo books, collages, cards and calendars."

China Telecom, one of the world's largest telecommunications, broadband and mobile services providers, is committed to providing a world-class integrated information service. The company will be providing a co-branded version of the new Windows Live Messenger to its Internet services subscribers on PCs and through mobile devices in the near future.

New Ways to Communicate, Share and Organize, at Home or on the Go

The changes to Windows Live announced today make it easier for consumers to manage their digital life and keep their life in sync. Highlights include these:

-- Windows Live is making new social features available to all customers, including an updated profile, a "what's new" feed of activities across the network and Web, photo sharing, and on-the-go access from virtually any device with Windows Live SkyDrive. Online storage is increasing from 5 GB to 25 GB.

-- Windows Live Messenger, the No. 1 instant messaging service worldwide with more than 330 million active customers, now includes more personalization, a "What's New" feed with updates from contacts across the Web, drag-and-drop photo sharing in the conversation window, a favorites list to designate the most important contacts, and group IM to chat simultaneously with up to 20 people at the same time.

-- Windows Live Hotmail, one of the largest e-mail services worldwide with more than 375 million active customers, is getting a significant upgrade. It is now much faster and has 80 percent more effective spam filtering(1) compared with previous versions of Hotmail. Upcoming changes include the ability to bring multiple e-mail accounts together, the ability to put multiple e-mail addresses onto almost any device, increased storage, and a revamped calendar that makes it easier to share calendars with others, subscribe to multiple calendars and use a calendar with Microsoft Outlook.

-- Windows Live Groups, a place for groups to collaborate online, includes a shared calendar, shared storage, a shared e-mail address and shared instant messaging.

All of these services work with Windows Live Essentials, a suite of applications for communication and sharing that also works with leading e-mail, photo and blogging services worldwide.

Availability

This next generation of Windows Live, available at http://www.windowslive.com, will begin rolling out to customers in the U.S. over the coming weeks and will be made available globally in 54 countries and in 48 languages by early 2009. Today's release not only marks a milestone in the evolution of the Internet, but also represents a key new opportunity for developers, advertisers and other organizations to build services that serve their respective constituencies.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

(1) As compared to Hotmail August 2006.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

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