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Paul’s Picks - 29 Mar 2006

Summaries of in-depth product reviews on Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta 2

PROS: IE finally offers security and features customers demand
CONS: Beta version has security bugs; reveals site-rendering problems
RATING: 5 out of 5
RECOMMENDATION: Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0 Beta 2 offers a glimpse of the future, with substantial security improvements and a well-designed suite. Like Mozilla Firefox, it includes inline Web search and tabbed browsing. The result is a surprisingly feature-packed and usable browser. If you're running IE 6.x you'll want to upgrade to IE 7.0 or switch to Firefox as soon as possible. Use Beta 2 to determine your choice. Microsoft's offering might actually be the lowest-risk option.
CONTACT: Microsoft * 800-426-9400 *

Windows Live Beta

PROS: Microsoft integrates Web services into Windows without forcing them down users' throats
CONS: Not as useful for typical business users or IT pros
RATING: 4 out of 5
RECOMMENDATION: A recasting of many MSN products and services, Windows Live offers online services, Windows desktop applications, and more. Windows Live Messenger, a successor to both Windows Messenger and MSN Messenger, combines IM, video conferencing, and Web-to-phone calling. Windows Live Mail Web mail rivals Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA). Most of the services appear to be consumer-oriented, but some are promising for businesses, too.
CONTACT: Microsoft * 800-426-9400 *

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