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Microsoft Corp. says it has signed an deal that will give its Bing search engine access to the digital archives of France's National Library.

The agreement signed Thursday will permit Bing to index and search the library's Gallica online archive of 1.25 million books and documents, from Moliere manuscripts to 19th-century newspapers.

The deal is non-exclusive, meaning both Microsoft and the library are free to sign similar agreements with other search engines and digital archives, they said in a joint statement.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Bing will launch its French search engine in the next few months.

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