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Windows Live suite goes live

Software and service suite now available for download

Microsoft has launched the final version of its Windows Live suite of software and online services following five months of beta testing.

Consumers can now download the full Windows Live suite or pick and choose their favorite apps and services from a software list that includes: Windows Live Messenger 8.5; Windows Live Mail; Windows Live Writer; Windows Live Photo Gallery; and Windows Live OneCare Family Safety programs.

Windows Live's services meanwhile include: Windows Live Spaces; Windows Live Events; Live Hotmail; and Windows Live for Windows Mobile (client- or browser-based access to Windows Live from a Windows Mobile-based device).

Applicable to PCs running Windows Vista and XP SP 2, in addition to supporting 64-bit systems, Windows Live was described by Chris Jones, the corporate VP of Windows Live Experience Program Management like this:

"Windows Live is a set of online tools, available at no charge, that makes it drop-dead easy and fun to communicate and share online from anywhere across multiple devices. It's e-mail, instant messaging, publishing to the Web and photo sharing wrapped into one simple suite. It also makes staying in touch with friends, family and colleagues easy. And, with built-in safety features, Windows Live helps you stay in touch with confidence. Think of it as a great companion to Windows to really enhance your experience."

One of the key claimed benefits of the Windows Live suite is that many of the programs and services are compatible with popular third-party sites and services such as flickr.com (blocked in the UAE) and Facebook.

Live Mail for example offers similar and familiar functionality to Outlook Express, allowing the user to combine one contact list and multiple inboxes including other internet POP and IMAP e-mail-based accounts.

Windows Live Photo Gallery is being billed as a simple way to manage, edit and share photos online to Windows Live Spaces (Microsoft's blog service) or Flickr.com. Users are also able to share any Windows Live Spaces photo albums with friends on the social networking site Facebook.

"By creating an integrated suite of services that is easily accessible and enables our customers to get the most out of our services but also the other ones they use is an approach we think sets us apart," Jones added.

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