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Microsoft launches events service

The largest software maker in the world, Microsoft, is launching a Web-based service for organizing events and remembering them afterward — trying to move further into the highly competitive areas of social networking and online photo sharing.

The free Windows Live Events service, announced Thursday, will let people send online invitations that direct recipients to a related Web page, similar to IAC/InterActiveCorp.’s popular Evite.com.

But Microsoft is putting a big emphasis on connecting attendees after the event takes place, letting them reminisce by posting photos, video and text about the event on the same page.

That’s where the new service may face a challenge, analysts said, because of the multitude of social networking and photo-sharing sites already in existence, from Facebook to Flickr.

Microsoft has the notion of creating persistent event Web pages.

The service, which will be at events.live.com, is expected to roll out gradually over the next few days. It’s part of a broader attempt by Microsoft to fill out its lineup of Windows Live online services.

Microsoft will make money from the Windows Live Events site through an advertising banner at the top of Web pages.