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winlive1.jpgMicrosoft has quietly launched a competitor to Google Apps for your domain, Windows Live Community Builder.

The service offers customized versions of the Windows Live suite, including email, photo service, messenger, writer, livedrive and more for businesses or non for profit organizations ” looking to achieve deeper and more engaging connections with their community.”

The service includes company specific domain support with the ability to register a domain name via supported partners included in registration.

The service was first written about by one of Microsoft Australia’s evangelist team Harvey Sanchez here and does not seem to have been announced elsewhere. Sanchez does note that this is a soft launch so perhaps we’ll see more on the service shortly.

With Windows Live Community Builder, businesses or non for profit organisations or anyone looking at creating a community service can now achieve deeper and more engaging connections with their community through customised, branded online experiences. Whether they want branded, familiar email services for their community or a member’s only area on their web site, complete with calendaring, contacts, and mapping features; Windows Live Community Builder has what they, their administrators, and their technology partners need. It’s easy to get started and painless to maintain – and it includes the peace of mind that comes from the technology, experience, and market leadership they’d expect from Microsoft.

No details as to whether the service is paid or free, but given I couldn’t find any payment details I’m presuming free, at least for the base service.

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