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Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer today announced the beta availability of the Windows 7 operating system as well as the availability of the latest version of Windows Live.

“I’m thrilled to announce the availability of the Windows 7 beta, which is on track to deliver simplicity and reliability,” Ballmer said. “Windows 7 and Windows Live are part of an incredible pipeline of consumer technology that is making it easier than ever for people to communicate, share and get more done.”

The beta version of Windows 7, Microsoft’s next-generation PC operating system, can be downloaded today by MSDN, TechBeta and TechNet customers. Consumers who want to test-drive the beta will be able to download it beginning Jan. 9 at http://www.microsoft.com/windows7.

Microsoft also announced the global availability of Windows Live, a free suite of communications and sharing applications. Windows Live makes it easy for people to communicate, share and keep their online lives in sync and in one place with one login. The new and enhanced Windows Live services, along with Windows Live Mail and Windows Live Photo Gallery, are designed to work seamlessly with more than 50 popular Internet services.

 

Windows 7 is designed to do the following:

  • Special attention was paid to performance, reliability, security, compatibility and battery life.
  • Provide immediate access to the applications and files people use most often through features such as Jumplists, Previews and the new Taskbar.
  • The new Home Group feature makes it easier for consumers to connect multiple home PCs together to share printers and access files, music, photos and videos.
  • Device Stage makes connecting and working with devices easier than ever with a single interface to manage devices and run common tasks.
  • New multitouch technology in Windows 7 will enable people with touch-screen monitors to use multiple fingers to interact with their PC screens in a more intuitive way.
  • The “Play-to” feature allows easier streaming of music, video and photos to devices in a home network.
  • Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center in Windows 7 have built-in support for more media formats so people can use their PC to play more media content and sync it to a broader range of devices.
  • As an alternative to monthly digital video recording (DVR) fees, Windows Media Center, available in some editions of Windows 7, with a TV tuner and improved user interface, makes recording TV free and easy.

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