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Microsoft has released a new wave of Windows Live services that adds more social-networking qualities to its set of online services. The new version of Windows Live services lets people users have designated as “friends” see activities they are doing in other Web applications through Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger and other Live applications and services. To provide the new “activities” feature, Microsoft has partnered with popular third-party Web sites to link their applications with Windows Live, including Flickr, iLike, LinkedIn, Yelp, Flixster, Pandora, Twitter, Photobucket and Tripit.

Nvidia officials on Tuesday reiterated the company’s interest in the mini-laptop space but said it would wait for the market to mature before jumping in. Earlier this year, the company made a deal with Via Technologies to make graphics chipsets to work with Via’s Nano processors, which are designed for laptops and mini-laptops. Mini-laptops, also called netbooks by Intel, are inexpensive laptops with screens of 10 inches or less. The netbook market is growing, and it could branch out into product categories such as smartphones and multimedia netbooks that can handle graphics effectively, said Marv Burkett, the company’s chief financial officer, in a webcast from the Credit Suisse annual technology conference being held in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The global cell phone handset market will contract next year as consumers hang on to their handsets longer amid tough economic times, market-research company iSuppli said Wednesday. The company revised down its outlook for the worldwide cell phone market and said it expects handset shipments next year to be 1.22 billion phones, which represents a 6 percent drop from its 2008 forecast of 1.29 billion units. The 2008 forecast is also lower than iSuppli’s original prediction of 1.31 billion phones. From 2010 the market is expected to resume its growth but shipments aren’t predicted to surpass the levels of this year until 2011.

VMware on Tuesday released VMware View 3, new software aimed at providing desktop virtualization, application virtualization and management of virtual desktops in one product. VMware View is a reworking of the company’s VMware Desktop Infrastructure product that adds other components to solve the problem of managing virtualized desktop environments. VMware View is part of an initiative that VMware is calling vClient, which it unveiled at its VMworld conference in September.

…And those are the top stories from the IDG Global IT News Update, brought to you by the IDG News Service. I’m Sumner Lemon in Singapore. Join us again later for more news from the world of technology.

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