Microsoft To Launch Windows Live Local

Microsoft is expected to go live later today with a local version of its Windows Live service, according to an analyst briefed on the initiative.

Microsoft Windows Live Local, powered by Virtual Earth, will allow users to open a satellite-based map image of a city and a bird's-eye view of specific buildings--all in a single screen. Rather than relying on satellites to capture images from the sky a la Google Earth, Microsoft's new service is using low-flying airplanes to capture its images.

"The local service is combining maps and local, and bringing it all to the next level," the analyst said.

A month ago, Microsoft announced the upcoming release of two Web-based software services--Windows Live and Office Live--to support Microsoft Office. Windows Live includes a new e-mail service, Windows Live Mail; a new instant messenger, Windows Live Messenger; and a virus removal and security service. Office Live includes services to help owners of business owners with fewer than 10 employees manage their businesses with Microsoft Office. The services will include a Web site building utility, as well as a set of subscription business management applications.

Microsoft's new Web-based tools are seen by many as a means of defense against Google and Sun Microsystem's OpenOffice.

Office Live and Windows Live are ad-supported, although subscription- and transaction-based payment will also be available.

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