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Microsoft The Internet

Microsoft Introduces IM Licensing 574

Posted by michael
from the use-jabber dept.
prostoalex writes "The MSN Messenger ban of outside clients and cited security issues might be explained by yet another Microsoft move. The company's Internet unit, MSN, contacted third-party providers like Trillian and Odigo with a suggestion to buy access licenses. From the ZDNet article: 'Running an (IM) network is expensive,' said Lisa Gurry, group product manager for MSN at Microsoft. 'We can't sustain multiple other people's businesses, particularly if they charge for certain versions of their software. We're introducing licensing processes for third parties like Trillian.'"
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Microsoft Introduces IM Licensing

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  • by Max Threshold (540114) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:11AM (#6836971)
    ...could best be served by simply dropping support for MSN. Who uses it, anyway?
    • However, providing a good option for migration is, which is why multi-protocol chat programs is important.

      If we can work together to make a client (and there's plenty out there such as GAIM etc) that is as user-friendly and easy to install as MSN, then it would go a long way to solving this problem.

      The new MSN has gimics to get ppl to use it, like integrated games, once you have a protocol defined surely it wouldnt be too hard to have a nicely defined API so people could write add-ons?
    • Not sure why the parent post is marked Flamebait, I completely agree. The MSN client is so bloated that I won't use it.

      What are IM systems for? Communication. There is no logic in restricting the end-user's choice of interface. You don't see telephone companies selling phones that won't work unless you call someone with another phone made by them, do you? If you want to control and profit from a service, you charge for the use of the communication channel and allow users to choose their interface.

      That said, no one will use a pay IM service unless that's all there is. They're trying to force people to use their interface, then add so many features that everyone uses it and AIM/ICQ/Yahoo/Jabber die off...and then, open your checkbooks!
      • by Jason1729 (561790) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:43AM (#6837060)
        You don't see telephone companies selling phones that won't work unless you call someone with another phone made by them, do you?

        No, but up until relatively recently you couldn't get your own phone at all, you had to lease them from the phone company. That way they could also make sure you didn't just plug in another phone without paying an extra fee for the other jack because you couldn't buy a phone at all. Today, who would think of paying an extra fee for each phone jack? It's free. There are still a lot of elderly people paying $5-10/month to lease phones they've been paying for for 30 years or more. It's sad that the phones are worth less than 1 month's fee.

        IM is still in it's infancy so there will be silly restrictions like this.

        Jason
        ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]
      • by Max Threshold (540114) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:59AM (#6837112)
        You don't see telephone companies selling phones that won't work unless you call someone with another phone made by them, do you?

        No, but you see them encouraging exactly that. Unlimited PCS to PCS, anyone?

      • by pen (7191) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @05:05AM (#6837125)
        You don't see telephone companies selling phones that won't work unless you call someone with another phone made by them, do you?
        I see cell phone companies selling cell phones that only work with their network.
        • I see cell phone companies selling cell phones that only work with their network.

          Not so fast. I know a thing or two about telecom (but am certainly not an expert). I think the perception of the "cell phones that only work with our network" is a great invention of the cell carriers. But here is the thing--

          Most cell phones work based on one of three standards: Advanced (I call it Ancient) Mobile Phone System (or AMPS), Digital AMPS (or DAMPS), or more frequently GSM, as AMPS and DAMPS are old and of muc
      • by WindowsTroll (243509) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @06:23AM (#6837332) Homepage
        I don't see what the big deal is about M$ charging an access fee. Posts to this thread have mentioned that IM is similar to a phone company - and last I checked, I get monthly bills so I can use the service. There is an infrastructure involved that requires resources that cost money. The money has to come from somewhere. It can come from advertising, licensing fees, or philanthropic donations.

        If you don't want to pay the fee, use a service that doesn't have one. However, be aware that if too many people switch over to the free alternatives, the IM service provider may have to charge a fee to recoup the extra expense of handling all the extra people.
        • by sniggly (216454) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @07:19AM (#6837495) Journal
          MS is charging a license fee, not an access fee. So if integrated messenger X puts up the money and allows you to download it for free you can communicate on the ms messenger network without paying a fee. Otherwise you have no option but to use MS messenger itself. Which will of course remain free.

          MS messenger is available natively for windows & mac. It's available through plugins (gaim, kopete) on linux/bsd. Gaim/kopete wont be able to license ms messenger. So the only change this will bring is that linux/bsd clients no longer have a ms messenger protocol: effectively linux & *bsd access will be blocked on the msmsngr network.

          MS integrated messenger in windows to build momentum. The moment they have a significant market share they lock down the protocol and start to license access to their users. I'm interested in talking to people who use msn, not in using the protocol, I could care less what protocol is being used. But now MS forces me to start emailing all those people who use MS messngr that they either have to get another IM account or they wont be able to chat with me through IM anymore. SO now they all have to get a yahoo account, download the client, configure, install, blah blah blah stuff they can totally do without. Thank you Microsoft.

          I can't run windows or mac because they dont have the applications i work with.

          • It's not just about blocking *ix/*bsd. I use Trillian Pro through Win2K/XP systems because it rolls all the clients up into one, so I would suffer as well. I hate having a plethora of IM clients open. Don't treat it as another Win vs Lin crusade. You'll have more people on your side if you see it as the cross-platform problem issue that it is.

            This is about blocking alternative clients that do not offer links into their web shops and do not offer an ad banner pointing to their ads. I imagine that if Trillian (Pro or free version) offered an ad banner than all IM services could submit into, then they wouldn't make such a stink about that access into their networks. I for one would still not want to see that, so my solution is going to have to be to wait and see what Trillian developers do or just drop contact with my MSN messenger pals.
            • Well trillian is a commercial product so you can actually buy a client and part of the license fees will be paid to MS for use of the protocol (thats how i understood it). MS apparently already was in touch with trillian about that.

              The whole idea of having to pay for messenger access is fairly ridiculous anyway, user records dont need alot of space on the server, clients could message p2p.. so you only need a very thin server side daemon. The idea that its more secure ... ms is using its own flaws in its

    • best be served by simply dropping support for MSN. Who uses it, anyway?

      Ah, another person who doesn't work for a large American company. Sorry, but I do work for one and we use Microsoft Messanger, not because it is the best, but because it works with all the rest of our Microsoft stuff. So how are my Linux boxes supposed to communicate? We need to look at options, but we also need to work in the real world.
  • by phisheadrew (526202) <phisheadrew&cinci,rr,com> on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:14AM (#6836975)
    Particularly ones who charge eh? What about gaim or any of the other clients that are free? Hopefully none of the developers buy this license, or it will prompt others like AOL or Yahoo to take similar actions. Who's going to foot the bill then? Users!
    • by mericet (550554) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:17AM (#6836990) Homepage
      There is no way they are going to give access to open source clients, they cite security and privacy concerns, and that implies client side security.

      This is bad security design for sure, but means no open source anyway, period.

    • by kylef (196302) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:21AM (#6837004)

      AOL has already changed their protocol on several occasions specifically to break the clients. This is nothing new.

      I don't understand the big deal here. The MSN Messenger servers are Microsoft property. If they want to charge 3rd party clients to use them, that's their prerogative. And it seems to be a perfectly legitimate business move, unless you're of the persuasion that believes the public is "entitled" to use these servers in any way they choose. I disagree, however, and so do private property laws in the US.

      • by NanoGator (522640) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @05:32AM (#6837213) Homepage Journal
        "I don't understand the big deal here. The MSN Messenger servers are Microsoft property. If they want to charge 3rd party clients to use them, that's their prerogative."

        Interesingly enough, if licenses are being sold, MS has a fire lit under them to a.) keep it up and running and b.) to keep it working.

        I don't see the BFD about licenses either. I'd rather read that MS wants money to log in than to read that MS is constantly mutating to keep people off, not unlike another monopoly Slashdot hates.

        Ah well, it's about MS, there's no such thing as the silver lining.
    • by zwoelfk (586211) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:24AM (#6837014) Journal
      OK -- I know this will be an unpopular opinion here, but I think this move by Microsoft is a good thing, and shows promise.

      First, they are right -- it's their network, and other people are piggy-backing on their servers for free and making bank on it. Why should they allow that? You have plenty of other options if you want to chat outside of Microsoft's servers...

      Second, instead of the standard MS practice of just squashing the competition, they are introducing a reasonable (assuming the fee is reasonable) solution -- and have decided it's OK to join forces with third party products, if that's what the users want. I say "Bravo!" to MS in this instance.

      If Apple offered licensing to their music service servers for third-party developers, people would be cheering. But if it's MS, it simply must be bad, right?

      On top of this, presumably, part of the license fees include the network protocols - Which means less reverse-engineering, and less tail-chasing, which will probably counter-balance the cost of the license itself. And hell, these clients may actually work consistantly now.

      I want to encourage MS whenever they do anything even remotely reasonable. To show them they don't have to be anti-competetive, business-stealing, life-destroying bastards to make money.

      Z.
      • ". . . they don't have to be anti-competetive, business-stealing, life-destroying bastards to make money."

        Unfortunately for your argument you've very succinctly described the very raison d'etre of MSN.

        KFG
        • by kfg (145172) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @05:41AM (#6837248)
          Flamebait it may or may not be, but the fact is still that MSN is simply an attempt to propriatize the internet for Microsoft's financial gain. It has no other reason for existence and no other perciavable use.

          AOL, bless it's little soul, at least has the excuse that they preexisted the internet and are simply trying to hang on to life in a world that has made an end run around their bread and butter.

          I think the head of MS's Office division put it rather succinctly when they went after WP and Lotus:

          "We want our fair share of the market and we consider that fair share to be %100."

          They feel much the same way about the internet and MSN is their overt attempt to get there.

          They're kinda used to getting what they want too, by hook or crook, as it were.

          What's their share of the Office Suite market these days?

          Mind you that they'll find the internet a bigger piece to try to chew, but they'll give it their best shot.

          KFG
      • by DrXym (126579)
        Practically anyone who has MS Windows will use the official client, so as far as Microsoft is concerned, the remainder fall into two categories.
        1. IM startups trying to capitalise on the MS network with their own offerings (with skins etc.), funded by their own advertising.
        2. Open source and grassroots software running on (horrors!) non Microsoft operating systems.

        The first group are making money off of Microsoft, while clearly the second group are not, although it could be said they're indirectly adding val

      • by Tyreth (523822) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @06:17AM (#6837318)
        Second, instead of the standard MS practice of just squashing the competition, they are introducing a reasonable (assuming the fee is reasonable) solution -- and have decided it's OK to join forces with third party products, if that's what the users want. I say "Bravo!" to MS in this instance.

        Isn't that a little premature? This seems like normal behaviour. Start off with a small fee (is it small?), then once they're locked in, pump up the price, eliminating unwanted competition and bleeding cash from the rest.

        As they say, put a frog in hot water and it leaps right out, put it in cold and boil slowly and it will die.

      • by 26199 (577806) * on Sunday August 31, 2003 @07:45AM (#6837553) Homepage

        ...MSN messenger comes with Windows.

        So, they're abusing their monopoly to take over the IM market, then charging alternative providers or blocking them to make sure they really have the IM market. Alright, so they still have competitors, but they're giving themselves a massive advantage...

  • Security? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 6079_Smith (676623) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:14AM (#6836978)
    "If there is unauthorized access to our network, it opens us up to potential security and privacy vulnerabilities"

    I can't seem to remember the last time a malicious programmer bought a license to write his exploit...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:14AM (#6836979)
    But I think they are making the right move on this one. They do support a huge IM network. It was nice of them to let other clients use the network. But with the popularity of third party clients like Trillian, they lose revenue from the banner advertisements in their messenger program. They also make a point about that especially how Trillian charges for a version of its client, without giving any of that money to Microsoft. I am sorry, but it is their service. They really do not have to let any other clients run it.
    • by NickFortune (613926) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:26AM (#6837018) Homepage Journal
      "Nice"? Nice had nothing to do with it!

      This was no nicer of them than it was nice when they decided to "give away" internet explorer with windows. That move was aimed at killing off Netscape. This particular MS freebie has been intended to freeze out yahoo, aol, icq and the rest.

      The make it free and allow 3rd party clients so they can get the user base. Now they have that user base, its time to start freezing out the free clients. When that's done, there'll only be on free messenger program for MSN. How long do yur suppose the pay clients will last after that? Espcially once MS starts messing about with the protocol to bugger them up.

      And when the majority of people use MSN running the MS client - that's when they start charging for it.

      "Nice!"

      • The[sic] make it free and allow 3rd party clients so they can get the user base.

        I would question whether Microsoft made the service completely free OR just didn't object when programmers reverse-engineered their protocols.

        Now they're objecting. I don't think it's so much a matter of security so much as liability and cost of maintaining the network. Still and all, it's well within their rights to terminate outside clients that aren't licensed.

        Not saying it's a good thing, it's just what is.
      • by GoofyBoy (44399)
        AOL IM went to amazing lengths to block out Trillian and I'm sure other 3rd party clients too.

        MS wasn't the first one to do something about this issue.
    • they lose revenue from the banner advertisements in their messenger program.
      does that mean that TV stations lose money when I turn off the TV? do magazines lose money if i only read halfway through? do billboard owners lose money if i look at the other side of the road? does microsoft lose money if i don't view their ads?
      i mean this rhetorically of course(that means don't answer for those who cant figure out big words).
      • Of course, didn't you see the arguement from our pals over in the television industry that said you were stealing their programming if you went to the washroom during a commercial instead of sitting like a mushroom and watching their advertising?

        I can see MS's point if other (non-free) clients are using their network to make money. Those clients SHOULD pay MS a fee for connectivity to their network.

        They should however, retain a free path (possibily with more limited features?) for those who use clients t
    • I paid my $25 so I could be connected on AIM in addition to ICQ without using another client (and not to mention that the ICQ client got really bloated, and the AIM one is really stupid). I don't use Trillian Pro for MSN, so why should they get a cut of my money? If they block Trillian from using MSN, then I'm not going to use it. I don't now, but if someone uses MSN and no others, I'm not going to load another client since I've already seen the light of a multi-service client.
    • Hey, i'd agree with you 100% here. It is indeed their service, and they have every right to restrict access to whom ever they choose.

      However, to offer PAY licenses for 3rd parties is just freaking nutty. The logic "Running an (IM) network is expensive" is incorrect to assume that *your* free software is somehow more profitable then someone else's free software, which technicaly could be true if the adverts pay for the service.

      Ok then... allow license to use the service but conform to the advert system.
    • Indeed, they do support a large IM network. Why? Well. . .because they wish to. There's certainly no technical reason to do so.

      If they used an alternative technology, like say, oooooooooh, the internet, they could save themselves all that trouble and expense. Sending text over the internet doesn't seem to be a great deal of trouble. It's so easy that one might even deduce it was designed for the purpose.

      Ah, but they can't control, and can't charge extra for, the use of the internet, now can they?

      This is
  • by SkoZombie (562582) <`gro.leurk' `ta' `eibmozoks'> on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:14AM (#6836980) Homepage
    Control.

    If i'm using MSN Messenger to chat to my friends, i'll be using the same resources as if i connect via trillian. So, the cost is EXACTLY the same. This therefore can NOT be the root of the decision.

    Its control. Microsoft have always demonstrated that they want to control the way users experience the internet, and as such do anti-competitive things, such as this, to ensure no one can wrestle control away from them.

    Solution? Use free* chat protocols, and give-up some of your time to help less computer savvy users migrate away from MSN.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:16AM (#6836987)
      "If i'm using MSN Messenger to chat to my friends, i'll be using the same resources as if i connect via trillian. So, the cost is EXACTLY the same. This therefore can NOT be the root of the decision."

      That is where you are wrong. They may be using the same resources, but without any of the banner ads. So in essance the same resources are not being paid for.
    • If i'm using MSN Messenger to chat to my friends, i'll be using the same resources as if i connect via trillian. So, the cost is EXACTLY the same. This therefore can NOT be the root of the decision. Sorry, no. MSN gets revenues from the banner ads on their client. Trilian is taking money away from them, using the network MS built, supports, and pays for. Solution? Use free* chat protocols, and give-up some of your time to help less computer savvy users migrate away from MSN. I agree with this part. If w
    • Ehrk. My group's IT staff *just* railroaded me into using MSN Messenger. I wish some of them would be less... normal... but they have a point when they talk about installed user base, etc.
  • IDG is not ZD.
  • This means the playing field for alternative IM networks is levelled.
  • Money (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    MS has enough money to sustain most third world countries. Let alone a few measly chat servers. Then again they probably have to pay for Unix licenses to keep the servers running...
  • 'Running an (IM) network is expensive,'

    It's not like making it free would even dent their economy..
    Just another exuse for "we want to be alone".. oh well
  • Whaddya gonna do (Score:5, Informative)

    by Locky (608008) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:18AM (#6836995) Homepage
    There's nothing you can really argue here, It's Microsoft's network, they can do what they want with it.

    I encourage everyone to support the Jabber protocol, open and free for many clients to use, including the next revision of Trillian Pro.
    • Well, I can argue that they're hypocrites. After all, they were never satisfied when AOL said "it's our network, we can do what we want."
    • You could demand that they do not force their clients on users by means of their monopoly.

      That means :
      1) an I.M. to every existing MSN user saying there are alternatives, with a link to a jabber client (the one specified by the author of jabber)
      2) make MSN messenger a separate product, which has to be BOUGHT SEPARATELY (ie NO DUMPING)
      3) no advertisements inside windows for MSN messenger.

      AFTER they do that, they can close their network all they want.
  • by MrHanky (141717) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:18AM (#6836996) Homepage Journal
    And so should you do. It's just as easy to deal with as MS Messenger, it works on many platforms, and it's free. Now you see why free as in Microsoft gives it away is not free as in free.

    I recommend Psi [affinix.com] for both Linux and Windows, but I'm sure there are other clients that are just as good.
    • by Nurgled (63197) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @05:22AM (#6837177)

      Are you going to set up and maintain a Jabber server for all of your friends to use?

      Everyone piling off MSN and onto jabber.org or jabber.com is not the answer. For Jabber to work, people must run their own servers.

      Centralized messaging sucks [slashdot.org], but decentralized IM will never work for the masses unless it's peer-to-peer and "just works".

      • by Anonymous Coward
        ISP's run email servers as a courtesy to their clients. Why wouldn't the same work for Jabber, after all it is an open standard, like email.

        In fact, I'm going to write to my ISP and ask them to do this. Thank you for this inspiration.
  • OSS Competition (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sahrss (565657)
    'Running an (IM) network is expensive,' said Lisa Gurry, group product manager for MSN at Microsoft. 'We can't sustain multiple other people's businesses, particularly if they charge for certain versions of their software.

    Gaim is free...I think this outlines the trouble Microsoft is having while competing with Free Software; if Trillian refuses the new liscense, will Microsoft be able to take actioin?
    Because Trillian would be profiting monitarily from riding on the the Microsoft IM network?

    Althoug
  • by mcrbids (148650) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:22AM (#6837007) Journal
    Microsoft once tried (and failed) to get AIM opened to the public. They wanted to establish an "open" IM protocol.

    Numerous fights between MS and AOL ensured.

    Fast forward a few years. Now MS has something. AIM is no longer a near monopoly, and MSN is paying the bill. Suddenly they don't want to be so open. What happened to their cries for "openness"?

    Gee, what a surprise. Do they ever surprise? No, I don't think so, either.
    • AIM is no longer a near monopoly, and MSN is paying the bill.

      That's odd, I don't know anyone on MSN anymore. I think I had as many as 2 people on there, once, a few years ago, that I actually wanted to talk to. Now, everyone I know (tech savvy to end-users) -- my mom, my sisters, everyone -- uses AIM. After all, its what AOL users use. I guess someone uses it...

      (Perhaps it doesn't help that I pretty much mandate that anyone who wants to talk online gets and uses AIM. Then they stick with it.)

      Otherwise,
    • Open does not mean free. They could have banned all competitors' clients from entering the network, instead they are letting them in for a fee. So, as a matter of fact, by giving other companies formal access to the messenger network, Microsoft are making it MORE open, not LESS.

      I wouldn't be surprised if AOL followed with a similar move, actually...

  • by dafoomie (521507) <dafoomie@@@hotmail...com> on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:22AM (#6837008) Homepage
    I don't see anything wrong with this. MS built the network and maintains it, its their property. If someone else is going to sell software that uses their network that they pay for, they should get some of that money. Yes, they complained the most about AOL's closed networks, but this is different. If you make AOL's network work with MSN's network and both work with Yahoo's network, then you can all use the network since you're all bringing something to the table, you're all contributing. What does Trilian do for them? I think asking Trilian for a cut of what they charge is more than fair.
    Don't like it? Build your own system, or use Jabber.
  • What wrong with this. Trillian and other third party client which charge people for premium software using microsoft's network should be paying microsoft for profiting from their network. MS is not saying they can't connect to the MSN network. All their asking is to share a little bit of the cost burden. What's wrong with that?
    • The last time I used Trillian (granted it was about 6 months ago) I didn't have to pay anything and I didn't get any ad/spyware, AFAIK it's completely optional. And other (better) clients like Miranda and Kopete are completely free.

      As a previous poster stated, it has nothing to do with cost, it has to do with control.
    • All their asking is to share a little bit of the cost burden. What's wrong with that?

      Maybe the bit will not be little? I can see other problems for third-party clients, such as being restricted to a subset of functionnalities, being forbidden to reverse-engineer other parts of the protocol (if it evolves, for example), well actually all the problems you can have being a licensee to such a corporation, especially since you have no strength on your own and completely rely on the licensor goodwill.

      Don't get
    • All their asking is to share a little bit of the cost burden. What's wrong with that?

      On the surface, nothing. It's a reasonable request. However, not all 3rd party IM clients charge (GAIM and Kopete come to mind, gee, both for GNU/Linux...), so not all 3rd party clients' developers have money to buy a license, even if they wanted to. That puts free (beer) IM programs at an automatic disadvantage.

      Quoth Microsoft person: 'Running an (IM) network is expensive,'

      Yes, I don't doubt it. That's why the mon
  • This was going to happen sooner or later, IM was not going to sell if it was introduced with a price tag, first give it away for free, then when it becomes "something you can't live without" they will charge you for it.

    like it or not you are using MS servers and maintaing those servers running costs money, and if you are using a third party client you can take out the ads. and that is simply not acceptable.
    so they secure the client first,next step charge you for access, and I have more bad news for you...
  • bullshit alarm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dollargonzo (519030)
    if microsoft was really concerned with the cost of running a service, particularly the servers, they would adopt a protocol like jabber that allows anyone to run a server. every business aims (or rather should aim) to minimize their cost while maximizing their profits. microsoft clearly just doesn't care

    • Re:bullshit alarm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Laconian (578463) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:43AM (#6837062)
      I think what it comes down to is control. By using their own protocol, Microsoft becomes the epicenter of all communications, which gives them the ability to leverage other technologies down its customers' throats. As has been demonstrated with the latest Netmeeting and Outlook Express and MSNIM, Microsoft isn't afraid to construct a web of dependencies between its applications. If you get one product, prepare to have five unrelated applications shoved down your throat as well. When every single user is at your beck and call, you don't have to fight as hard to push your agenda.
  • 3rd party clients (Score:2, Insightful)

    by QuasiRob (134012)
    Obviously a ploy to price the 3rd party clients off of their servers. Having control of the client software gives them more control over what we see and hear. But whats next? Will they, for example, stop 3rd party browsers such as Opera from being able to access their web servers? Oh...wait....deja vu
  • MyComputer\ControlPanel\addremoveprograms
    Scroll down to MSN messanger, click add\remove, if it tries to add click cancel, if it starts the script to remove MSN just keep clicking yes. End of MSN software problem. When daugthter or other person installs it again just repeat procedure. They will get the idea, sooner or later.
  • If you add one more phone to a network, millions more potential person-to-person calls can be made. The value grows exponentially and.

    If I were a regular MSN user, this decision would affect many of my PERSONAL friends using Trillian who can't message me anymore. My buddy list shrinks. No MSN-only buddies to talk to? That sucks,I quit. That causes other peoples' MSN buddy lists to shrink. They quit. Pretty soon MSN Messenger has the rep "Well, no one uses it, so why should I?" Negative feedback loop.

    Havin
  • by wotevah (620758) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:38AM (#6837052) Journal
    I for one am glad Microsoft have finally identified the gaping security hole in that otherwise fine operating system that causes all these worms and insecurity on the Internet. Today is a great day for Windows users, for they are finally safe from all the Internet hackers once and for all.
    • I use a non-MSN IM client, and I've been getting messages at logon from MSN that I have to upgrade my IM software for security reasons. In my client I can't seem to be able to block those system messages. Has anyone else had this problem during the last few days? I really feel MSN is sending unwanted messages (spam) to force me to use their client.
  • Interesting... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by superchkn (632774)
    At first glance this is predictable and understandable. Why would one build a network and let people make money off that network without contributing back? That's pretty much all the GPL asks of those using protected code, abstractly of course :-)

    What doesn't really have any justification is locking out all clients. That is unless there is a licensing agreement between Microsoft and Apple which would clear up the reasoning for supporting Macs but not open source platforms like Linux...

    But it's very p
  • Here's why I think this is bad... Because, once the dust settles, once everyone agrees that there isn't any legal ground to stop MSN from doing this, MSN will try to spin this as if it AIN'T THEIR FAULT.

    So when your old buddy or your sister or whomever gets a brand spankin' new Windows PC, and naturally installs MSN on it just because he knows MSN is Microsoft and he uses Microsoft so that must be the one that's most compatible, and finds out that despite the fact that you claim to use some fancy progra

  • by penguin7of9 (697383) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:52AM (#6837086)
    "Running an (IM) network is expensive," said Lisa Gurry, group product manager for MSN at Microsoft.

    Well, so why do they create such a centralized network in the first place? Microsoft doesn't run a centralized mailer for every Microsoft software user, so why should they run a centralized IM server for everybody?

    The centralized IM infrastructure is an aberration. The sooner companies like Microsoft and AOL give up their stranglehold and the sooner it gets replaced with a distributed system based on open protocols (kind of like IRC), the better.

    But the fact is that the IM providers actually like the control. Each of them hopes that they'll own it all sooner or later, kind of like the phone company used to be.

    So, Microsoft, if you don't like the expense of running Microsoft IM services, just don't, and put client and server software based on open protocols into Windows. Problem solved, expense gone.
    • by LostCluster (625375) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @04:57AM (#6837101)
      Centralizing IM is the reason why IM spam has been kept down to a soft wisper compared to e-mail spam. Spammers simply can't set up an IM sending bot without being quickly detected and pulled from the network... try doing that with good old e-mail.
      • by penguin7of9 (697383) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @05:32AM (#6837217)
        Perhaps, perhaps not. There doesn't seem to be a lot of spam on IRC either. In fact, because of instant feedback from users, killing IM spam (collaboratively) would seem to be considerably easier than killing E-mail spam.

        Furthermore, even if centralization is the reason for less spam, handing that level of control to a few big companies in order to avoid spam seems like a bad tradeoff. We have had large, centralized E-mail systems in the past and they were stifling and expensive.
  • ...is really hard. All the people in my contact list are using msn messenger and they don't want to change. They say: why should I install another software if this one works well? I can tell them whatever I want about free software but they don't care: msn messenger I shipped with windows and they want to use it. There's nothing I can do...
  • by InfiniterX (12749) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @05:19AM (#6837164) Homepage
    I was most surprised by the MS spokesperson's comment that there was an as-yet-undisclosed exploit in the MSN Messenger software.

    "Here, take this 'trustworthy' software; there's something big and wrong with the one you've got right now but we're not going to tell you what it is."
  • I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rbeattie (43187) <russ@russellbeattie.com> on Sunday August 31, 2003 @05:25AM (#6837191) Homepage

    How easily it will be for non-Windows based IM applications to get that license? Trillian and Odigo are both Windows based apps.

    Are Linux-only licensees going to be allowed to buy a license? How about non-M$ based smartphones?

    I doubt it. Microsoft wants its cake and wants to eat it too. I'm keeping my MSN Messenger on only as a way to get contacted by someone and then to tell them to use another system.

    -Russ

  • by thule (9041) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @05:57AM (#6837282) Homepage
    Can you imagine if Internet email had to be provided by only a handful of companies? Bad idea right? Why is IM any different? This is why Jabber is such a good idea. Anyone can setup a local Jabber server. Jabber servers will route Jabber messages between them.

    If there was some way to get ISP's to start setting up Jabber servers for their users, then people wouldn't be dependent on Microsoft's whim's.

  • by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel,hedblom&gmail,com> on Sunday August 31, 2003 @07:29AM (#6837514) Homepage Journal
    I remember Microsoft vrying like babies that AOL should open up their protocol to MSN. Now they are doing the very same thing and trying to blame costs. We all know that costs has nothing to do with the matter. Neither competing IM apps on windows. This is all about making life harder on competing platforms.

    I will start using jabber instead and lobby to everyone i know to do the same.
  • IRC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @08:22AM (#6837624) Homepage Journal
    ``Running an (IM) network is expensive''
    Yup. That's why we have IRC. It's venerable, open, extensible, has all the features, and allows distribution of load/cost.
  • by Fuyu (107589) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @08:35AM (#6837672)
    Remember when AOL and Time Warner merged in 2000 and the FCC stated that AOL must work towards making its AIM network interoperable with other competing services and that if AOL wanted to enable "video conferencing and other advanced features via Time Warner's broadband cable lines" [instantmes...planet.com] that they would need to open its IM network to competition?

    And Microsoft was complaining that AOL should open their AIM network to other IM clients? A Microsoft [aspnews.com] spokesperson said, "As we've said all along, we believe that the ultimate benefit for consumers is a standard for instant messaging/interoperability among all IM products. MSN continues to work with the IETF and the rest of the industry to make that happen so that consumers can communicate openly and freely with friends and family no matter what instant messaging service they use."

    Have they forgotten?
  • by WhiteKnight07 (521975) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @10:35AM (#6838216)
    Check the trillian fourms. [ceruleanstudios.com] AOL tried this sort of thing before and failed. The trillian guys just patched to keep up.
  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Sunday August 31, 2003 @12:35PM (#6838921) Homepage

    Nobody (for the most part) uses an IM network because of the client. They use it because of the network and the people who use that network. MS should simply acknowledge that in their business model. There's a simple way to do that: stop licensing the client and start licensing access to the network. You buy Windows, it comes with a license to use the network automatically. You don't use Windows, you'll need to get a license from somewhere else (like buying one from MS). End of problem.

    MS, of course, will never even consider this, because the problem from their PoV isn't third-party clients accessing their network, it's clients other than theirs existing at all.

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