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Microsoft Intros New Web Cams

Redmond, Wash. — Microsoft announced two new Web cams on June 13 aimed at augmenting its Windows Live voice and video messaging services in the face of fierce competition from Google, Yahoo! and Skype.

The LifeCam VX-6000 and LifeCam VX-3000 both feature a dedicated Windows Live call button for placing video calls to other Windows Live users. The cameras are integrated with Microsoft’s Windows Live Spaces blogging tool, letting users post photos directly from the camera to their Windows Live Spaces blogs.

They also offer a built-in acoustic noise-canceling microphone, the ability to add video effects to video chats and a “universal attachment base” for affixing the cameras to monitors of various sizes.

The VX-6000, $99.95 suggested, offers a resolution of 5-megapixels (interpolated) for still photos and 1.3-megapixels for video capture alongside a 3x digital zoom. It also features a 71-degree wide-angle lens, which the company says permits up to three people to fit inside the video frame.

The VX-3000, for a suggested $49.95, features a still resolution of 1.3-megapixels (interpolated) and VGA resolution video.

Both models will ship in August. Microsoft said addition LifeCam products will be launched in September.

According to Tom Gibbons, consumer productivity experiences group VP, people spend over a billion minutes a month using Windows Live’s video service.