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Microsoft takes aim at Apple's iMessages in next Windows

Microsoft unveils new desktop messaging features for its Windows 10 Creators Update, which will be available in spring 2017.

Allison O'Mahoney of Microsoft discusses new messaging features that will be included in Windows 10 Creators Update.
Sarah Tew/CNET

In an apparent bid to become your go-to platform for instant messaging, Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled new features in its Windows 10 Creators Update that will let you message others from your desktop.

With the "My People" feature, you select the people with whom you communicate the most, and their pictures will appear on the bottom of your desktop screen, said Allison O'Mahoney, a program manager at Microsoft, during a Windows event in New York. You can drag any content to the person, add an optional message and send the information without opening a separate application to attach a file.

The Windows 10 update will also include the ability to send and receive "shoulder taps," live-action emojis that will appear above your favorites on your desktop.

Emails, text messages from Windows and Android phones, and Skype calls from your favorites will appear as messages directly on your desktop in the Windows 10 Creators Update. The ability to send and receive messages from desktop to phone and back again appear to be Microsoft's answer to Apple's iMessages, the iOS instant messaging service that you can access across Apple devices.

The Windows 10 Creators Update will be available in spring 2017.