Microsoft released Windows Live Essentials 2011, a set of free downloadable applications tied to Windows 7 and Windows Vista that the company said would allow users to organize their e-mail, communicate with each other, and create and share documents online.
The move is Microsoft's latest effort to expand beyond its core desktop applications business into the realm of cloud computing. Windows Live Essentials 2011 includes Windows Live Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Messenger, Mesh, Mail, Family Safety and Writer.
While the new version of Windows Live Essentials supports Windows 7 and Vista, it does not support Windows XP as did earlier releases of the Web-based services. The new release is available in 48 languages.
Microsoft also has struck a deal with PC manufacturer Dell, which will ship PCs preloaded with Windows 7 and Windows Live Essentials 2011 by the end of the year. Deals with other PC makers are in the works, according to a blog posted by Chris Jones, Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows Live experience program management.
Said Jamie Cannon, group product manager for Windows Live, in a statement: "We've brought together the best of Windows with the best of the Web. People are spending more time in the cloud, and as a result it's where people communicate, connect and share. And so, we believe that bringing them together in a seamless way allows consumers to bridge the power of both."
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