RealTime IT News

Microsoft Launches MSN Messenger Service

Microsoft Corp. Thursday rolled out its MSN Messenger Service, a free Internet messaging service integrated with Microsoft services including the Hotmail free e-mail service, Outlook Express 5, NetMeeting and Internet Explorer 5.0.

The MSN Messenger Service brings online message exchange to Hotmail's more than 40 million users, and has decided to beat the competition by joining it; the service is also available to AOL Instant Messenger users. Microsoft is lobbying for all messaging services to be interoperable.

The service client is currently available for download, and is available in English, French, German and Japanese.

"Communications continues to be the cornerstone of the Internet, and instant messaging is becoming a more prevalent way for people to communicate," said Brad Chase, vice president of the consumer and commerce group at Microsoft.

In contrast to its operating system strategy, Microsoft, with 40 other Internet messaging companies, is calling for standardized instant messaging and presence protocols that would enable subscribers to use any messaging application to communicate with members of any service.

The Internet Engineering Task Force, which works to develop Internet standards specifications, formed the Instant Messaging and Presence Protocol (IMPP) Working Group. The IMPP Working Group in turn plans to address the interoperability problem and work to eliminate the isolated services produced by some vendors.

Microsoft likened the isolated services to "having a telephone that only makes calls to customers who have the same brand of telephone."