Microsoft Sets Photo-Printing Pact

Microsoft continues its march into the realm of home entertainment today with a new photo-printing partnership with Fuji Photo Film. The film-processing giant has landed a prominent link on Microsoft's popular Windows XP operating system, which currently sits on 225 million desktops. Users who click on Fuji's Get The Picture Online service will be able to search for local digital photo-finishing retailers, then upload and send the photos that they want to have printed.

The prints can be picked up in participating stores, which include Wal-Mart Stores' Sam's Club unit, Ritz Camera Centers and Wolf Camera, in as little as an hour. Fuji, whose minilabs process the digital photos at scores of other retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Walgreen, is endeavoring to expand the XP-based service to these outlets as well. "This is an important relationship for Fuji," says Robert Palmer, a digital printing analyst with Lyra Research. "Fuji is going to be able to attract a lot more customers through the Windows desktop." He estimates that about 90% of digital camera owners manage and archive their photos on their computers.

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