Microsoft Unveils Photo, Video Suite

Just in time for the holidays, Microsoft on Tuesday took the wraps off Digital Image Suite Plus, which bundles the company's photo editing and organization tool of the same name with Pinnacle Studio 10.0 - a popular video editing application for creating home movies.

Microsoft's answer to Apple's iPhoto, Digital Image Suite 2006, lets users create a photo library using keywords, flags and a "star rating" system, along with effects to pictures such as a black and white filter. RAW images from Canon and Nikon cameras are supported in the latest release.

The suite also includes Photo Story 3.1, Microsoft's tool for adding music and narration to a slideshow in order to create what it calls a "photo show" for playback on a computer.

Pinnacle Studio version 10, meanwhile, focuses on pro-sumer video editing. Users can follow a three-step movie creation process, utilizing features for zooming and adding music and titles, alongside detailed tutorials. Pinnacle Studio individually retails for around $70 USD, although a $20 rebate is available.

Although Microsoft has a history of tapping third-party applications for special software bundles, the Pinnacle package is seen by some as a small announcement with big implications. With Adobe and others like Yahoo and Google focusing more on the consumer photo and video space, Microsoft is ostensibly turning to its favorite partners to stay relevant.

Digital Image Suite Plus is priced at $130 USD with a $30 mail-in rebate available, and will be sold at retail outlets and online. The bundle closely matches the price of Digital Image Suite 2006 on its own, which costs around $100 USD.

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