"High-powered hardware and slick looks are nice, but computers should actually make things. Apple and Microsoft both offer software to organize photos, make movies, and enjoy your computer. We compared iLife and Windows Live Essentials head-to-head from a first-time home user's perspective."
Both Microsoft and Apple want you to go digital, and that is the goal of these two packages. iLife '11 comes with every new Mac (or you can upgrade for $49.00 USD), while Microsoft has chosen to make their Live Essentials a free download, mainly to streamline Windows 7 and make it "leaner and meaner." You can also get pieces of Live Essentials versus iLife '11, which comes as an entire package. You can't make a full comparison of these two offerings, since they only have two areas (photo and video handling) in which they compete, but this is a nice article showing exactly what you get with each software suite and the unique programs each has that you can't get anywhere else. The big thing for Microsoft, according to the author, is making it known to it's users that Live Essentials is out there, and it's free. Anyone that uses a Mac has heard of iLife '11 but Windows users may or may not know about what Microsoft is offering them.