MS boosts Live with FolderShare buy

Microsoft bought file-synchronization technology maker FolderShare, which it plans to add to its Live line up of online applications and services.

Microsoft is already shopping to fill out the Live hosted software platform it launched this week. Microsoft said Thursday it has acquired FolderShare, an online service that lets users synchronize data from multiple computers and access files through a Web browser. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

FolderShare was created by ByteTaxi, a boutique software developer. The software essentially creates a private P-to-P (peer-to-peer) network, running in the background on any Internet-connected Windows or Macintosh device and synchronizing selected files. Through FolderShare.com's Web site, users can log on and access files from their Internet-connected computers and can share selected files with other members.

FolderShare had offered a free, basic version of its service, with pricing plans starting at US$50 a year for users looking to connect more devices and synch more files. Microsoft is lifting those fees and offering FolderShare for free for an unlimited number of files, up to 2G bytes each.

In August, FolderShare's developers took advantage of Microsoft's open APIs (application programming interfaces) for Windows Desktop Search to integrate it with FolderSearch, allowing users to search all of their computers in parallel. Microsoft plans to deepen FolderShare's ties to its own software and to offer FolderShare as part of its Live platform.

With the Live Web portal, Microsoft is looking to compete with online content and application providers like Google and Yahoo, offering customers advertising-supported, Web -based applications to complement their desktop software.

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