Microsoft takes on Google with online apps bundle

Microsoft is understood to have invited beta testers to try out a new product offering a series of online applications in a single bundle.

Microsoft is understood to have invited beta testers to try out a new product offering a series of online applications in a single bundle.

News of the forthcoming Windows Live Essentials has leaked onto the web via independent blogs. A post on the ActiveWin.com website apparently quotes a Microsoft e-mail inviting people to apply to beta test the new product.

It describes Windows Live Essentials as a way to get the bundle of Windows Live online services - e-mail, instant messaging and security – as a single, simple download. Comments added by readers compare the product to the Google Pack bundle of free software.

The product also includes a Windows Live Dashboard, offering a view of the services the user already has and any new services available.

The emerging product looks set to step up rivalry with Google, which this week launched a beta of its new Apps for Your Domain service, adding free productivity applications – including instant messaging, a calendar application and website design software – to its hosted domain service.

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