No, you did not get cryogenically frozen for two weeks and defrosted on December 24th but -for full-blooded MSN Messenger fans like us- today feels exactly like the day before Christmas. All because Windows Live Messenger (the next generation of MSN Messenger) is finally entering its BETA-period tomorrow. Ah, the tension! Download links will become operational during December 13th US time (probably in the evening/nighttime for other continents like Europe and Asia).
Mind you that the first term of the BETA will be private only. A whole bunch of Messers have already found personal invitations in their inboxes, others are still praying to receive theirs. Gradually these “chosen ones” will be able to invite their friends into the BETA in order to test the product on a larger scale. The hunt for BETA-testers has opened and suck up-strategies should promptly be devised.
It seems to be the latest development version (8.0+) of MSN Messenger with the Windows Live moniker and among other things, improved VoIP support compared to prior versions, but apparently it’s not that simple. Further details from Foley:
According to sources, Microsoft will offer Windows Live Messenger users the capability to place calls from PCs to any phone. Microsoft will deliver that capability in conjunction with MCI, sources said, whereby MCI will sell Live Messenger users blocks of VOIP time.
To date, Microsoft officials have been reticent to say publicly that Windows Live Messenger is simply the new name for the next version of MSN Messenger. But that is, in fact, what it is, sources close to the company confirmed.
Microsoft officials also will not discuss whether it plans to whittle down the number of instant messaging (IM) clients it supports. Microsoft currently offers three different but somewhat overlapping IM clients: Windows Messenger, MSN Messenger and Office Communicator. Officials declined to say which of these Windows Live Messenger will supplant.
I guess some sort of branding exercise is going on.