updated 3/30/2006 6:58:03 PM ET 2006-03-30T23:58:03

Microsoft Corp. is releasing new versions of its software packages for safeguarding and archiving e-mails and other corporate messages.

Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services, which was known as FrontBridge Technologies before Microsoft acquired that company, comprise of four products that can help companies do things like minimize spam and viruses and archive messages for legal and regulatory requirements. (MSNBC.com is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)

The revamped product line will be available April 1 in most countries.

The products are offered as a service over the Internet, rather than as software that companies have to install. Web-based offerings are growing in popularity because they can be cheaper and easier for customers to deploy and less cumbersome for software makers to update. Microsoft, which makes most of its money from desktop-bound software like Windows and Office, is trying to make inroads into that field.

Redmond-based Microsoft says the products, which will be sold directly to businesses, are meant to complement other security safeguards that companies have on their premises.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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