Microsoft Facing Messaging Bug

It’s only been available for about a month, but Microsoft Corp. is already rushing to repair a bug in its new instant messaging software.

Microsoft Thursday confirmed a bug in its MSN Messenger could allow people who share computers to see and read e-mail sent with Microsoft’s Hotmail.

The company said it learned of the bug earlier this week and plans to release a patch to repair it by week’s end. Microsoft characterized the bug’s threat as minimal since a person must have access to someone else’s computer before they can exploit the problem.

The bug is just the latest in an flurry of events over instant messaging that started with Microsoft’s entry into the market last month. Shortly after its release, America Online Inc. modified its system to keep its users from using MSN Messenger. AOL maintained the program posed a security threat to its users. Later, Microsoft redesigned the software so it could be used with AOL.

In an unexpected move, Microsoft this week annonced plans to make the protocols behind MSN Messenger publicly available. That will allow other companies to design products that will interoperate with MSN’s.

In another effort to forge a truce in the messaging battles, IP telephony consultant Jeff Pulver is hosting a closed-door instant messaging summit on Sept. 8th in New York. While he won’t reveal whether AOL and Microsoft have agreed to attend, he claims more than 40 companies are confirmed attendees. One idea to be floated at the meeting: Allowing IM users to opt-in to interoperability.

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