HONG KONG, JUNE 28, 2006
 (STAR) Microsoft Corp. has released Windows Live Messenger, one of the first of more than 20 new Windows Live services that will launch globally over the course of the year in over 60 markets, including 12 in Asia.

Windows Live Messenger goes beyond a traditional instant messaging (IM) service, enabling people to connect and share, with video calling, easy sharing folders and more.

"Windows Live is all about giving consumers the tools and services they need to be in control as they stay connected to the people they care about, on top of the information that is important to them, and protected across all of their online activities," said Alex Stewart, Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific director for the Windows Live and MSN business.

"The launch of Windows Live Messenger is an important milestone for the business as we work toward realizing the Windows Live vision. This vision is based on putting people at the center of their digital life and creating a seamless experience across their PC, devices, applications and the Web," he added.

Windows Live Messenger is the next generation of MSN Messenger, the world’s most popular IM service and it goes beyond text IM to help connect people with voice, video and more.

It also acts as a window to the Internet, connecting people to their e-mail, blog, search and other Windows Live services with one click of the mouse.

The features of Windows Live Messenger include:

• Video call. The free, synchronized audio and video service in Windows Live Messenger, powered by Logitech International SA, allows customers to view and talk to their friends through their PCs in full-screen video with one click of a mouse.

MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger have more than 20 million active video conversation users each month, making it one of the largest consumer video telephony providers in the world.

• Microsoft LifeCams optimized for Windows Live Messenger. Microsoft Hardware and the Windows Live services group have announced a line of webcams that are optimized for use with Windows Live Messenger to make sharing experiences with friends and family easier than ever before.

The first of these webcams, the Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 and Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000, contain several groundbreaking features designed to simplify people’s digital communication experiences.

Microsoft LifeCams offer exclusive features such as the Windows Live Call Button for one-touch video calling, LifeCam Dashboard for easy and natural camera controls, and One-Touch Blogging for posting pictures to Windows Live Spaces.

• Sharing folders. Now sharing is as easy as dragging and dropping a file. With a new, intuitive user interface, customers can more easily share their files and personal photos with family, friends and colleagues on their Messenger Contract List.

• Windows Live Contacts. Contact information is always current with Windows Live Contacts in Windows Live Messenger. The feature enables customers to easily share their contact information with whom they want to share it and lets them subscribe to their friends’ contacts so they always have their latest contact information.

Windows Live Contacts is integrated and accessible across Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail and MSN Spaces. More than 25 million customers are already taking advantage of this feature.

• Integration with Windows Live services. Customers using Windows Live Messenger benefit from its integration with other Windows Live services such as Windows Live Search, Windows Live Local, Windows Live Mail and MSN Spaces.

Through this integration, customers can easily get answers to questions or find directions, access their blog or online photos, send e-mail to their Windows Live Contacts when desired, or access links to their favorite saved websites, all from within the Windows Live Messenger experience.

Windows Live Messenger is now available in more than 60 markets, including the Philippines.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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