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Ofoto's logo. Click here to visit the Ofoto website! Ofoto services included in Windows XP beta!
(Monday, March 26, 2001 - 15:54 EST)

Windows XP Beta 2 users can order Ofoto prints with ease...

Readers may already be aware of Windows XP, the upcoming operating system from Microsoft (previously codenamed Whistler) which promises to add a number of features improving useability. Amongst these are a number of changes intended to make the OS more friendly for imaging, and one such change is WinXP's support for ordering prints of images directly from the operating system.

Online photofinisher Ofoto has today distributed a press release noting that, as of the latest beta (WinXP Beta 2, which is now shipping to testers), Windows XP users will be able to order prints from the service directly from the OS. No mention is made of which other companies users will be able to select to order prints from.

Microsoft has noted that it is intending to ship two 'release candidates' of Windows XP Professional later this summer. The operating system is based on Windows 2000 and features a redesigned user interface. Microsoft is accepting registrations (at a cost of $9.95) for previewing Windows XP Pro once the release candidates are available. Note that the preview versions will expire after 180 days, and will require users to either format their computer or upgrade to the full version of Windows XP Professional on expiration. No upgrade path from the release candidates to Windows XP Home Edition will be provided.

Our personal take on this is that, whilst we welcome anything which will make it easier for digicam owners to order prints of their photos, we would like to see Microsoft include as many different companies in this feature as possible. If the company chooses (as it potentially could) to limit the selection of photofinishing companies to a select few, this could provide these companies with a strong advantage that would harm competition and result in higher prices for the consumer. At the moment we reserve judgement until Microsoft finalises and announces its list of photofinishing partners...

Original Source Press Release:


New Service Enables Windows XP Beta 2 Users To Quickly and Easily Order High Quality Photographic Prints of Their Digital Images

EMERYVILLE, Calif. - March 26, 2001 - Ofoto, Inc. (www.ofoto.com), the online photography service, is included in the Windows XP beta 2 release that Microsoft is delivering today to thousands of beta testers. This service makes it fast and easy for Windows XP beta 2 users to order film-quality, silver-halide prints from their digital images.

To get prints, customers simply choose pictures from their My Pictures folder, click on the Order Prints from the Internet feature and select Ofoto to place their order. Ofoto offers 4 x 6", 5 x 7", and 8 x 10" prints, as well as wallet-size prints which are ideal for low-resolution images.

With a quarter of all Internet households now owning digital cameras (up from 13 percent in 1999 according to InfoTrends Research Group), and some analysts predicting digital camera sales will exceed those of film by 2002, consumers are increasingly seeking the ability to easily obtain high-quality prints from their digital images. Ofoto's service provided with Windows XP beta 2 helps answer that need with an easy interface right on the desktop.

"We're thrilled to have been selected by Microsoft to provide this service," said James Joaquin, president and CEO, Ofoto, Inc. "By taking advantage of Windows and the Microsoft.Net architecture, we're able to integrate our photo services with the desktop and reach a whole new audience of customers."

Ofoto and Microsoft developers have worked together for the past five months to link Ofoto's back-end printing architecture with the Windows desktop operating system for managing and printing images. Windows XP, the new Windows from Microsoft with a brand new look, is built on an enhanced Windows 2000 engine and enables exciting new experiences that give users the freedom to unlock the possibilities of the digital world.

"Windows XP provides a complete digital photo experience, enabling customers to order film-quality prints from digital images," said Shawn Sanford, Group Product Manager for Microsoft. "Microsoft is pleased to have Ofoto as part of the Windows XP beta 2 release."

Ofoto, Inc. (www.ofoto.com) is an online photography service offering digital and film processing, top quality prints, private online image storing and sharing, editing and creative tools and frames, cards and other merchandise. Founded in July 1999, Ofoto runs its own digital photo lab and offers 24-hour customer support. Ofoto also prints for partners such as Amazon.com, Corbis, Excite@Home, Getty Images, HP, Intel, PhotosToGo and Sony's ImageStation. Based in Emeryville, California, Ofoto is run by an experienced team of owner-managers and is a privately held company with funding from Apple Computer, The Barksdale Group, Benchmark Capital Partners, HP, Index Ventures and the Rosewood Venture Group.

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