The beta of Windows Live Messenger, which is the next generation of MSN Messenger, includes a number of enhancements such as PC-to-phone calling. MSN Messenger has more than 230 million customers worldwide.
Martin Taylor, corporate vice president of Windows Live and MSN at Microsoft, said that the software suite is easy to personalise and features a toolbar that provides one-click access to customers' services.
Features include a web calling service as well as cordless phones designed exclusively for Windows Live Messenger.
Handsets from companies such as Uniden and Philips that make Windows Live Call available through the handset can be used to make landline and internet phone calls.
Consumers can use their cordless phones from anywhere in the home, even while away from the PC.
Other enhancements include a unified contacts list, and drag-and-drop sharing facilities.
A video calling feature allows customers to view and talk to their friends through their PCs in full-screen video with one push of a button using a webcam and broadband internet connection.
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