Microsoft has launched its "software plus services" strategy with the launch of its next generation of Windows Live services that the company says makes it easier than ever to communicate and share information safely, from anywhere, and across multiple devices.

The new Windows Live offering is designed to deliver a desktop and web experience "that work naturally together."

The launch sees enhancements to existing features, such
as Windows Live Hotmail, Messenger and Spaces, as well as integration of some additional new tools into the Windows Live Suite:

* Windows Live Unified Installer: Offers the option of an
all-in-one download for the full Windows Live suite of downloadable services

* Windows Live Events: A new service for planning events - from inviting friends with any email address to sharing photos after the event

* Windows Live Writer: A desktop application that simplifies the process of publishing content to a blog

* Windows Live Photo Gallery: A complete solution for finding, fixing, organizing and sharing your digital memories, including photos and videos

"Entertainment, community and communication are all deeply intertwined elements of Windows Live", said Sharon Baylay, general manager, Microsoft Online Services Group UK.

"The suite combines serious communication with a great deal of fun - sending videos, sharing photos, planning events, flirting, chatting, sharing stories and more. We are offering a rich set of software plus web services covering
communications, community and entertainment that our customers can use on their desktop or on the move."

"Five years from now we expect every software product to have a companion online service to support it - customers will come to think of this as standard. It is our software plus services approach that allows us to deliver this and we are one of very few companies that can execute this at scale. We believe the seamless integration between online and offline services will enable us to offer our customers an enhanced user experience."