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The New Pink
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Windows Live Messenger

Windows Live MessengerMicrosoft have launched the latest version of MSN messenger – Windows Live Messenger. The name change signals the company’s collaboration with Verizon to offer cheap internet calls in a bid to rival Skype.  Its simple to use, and all you need is a PC with speakers, a microphone and a high speed internet connection.  Like Skype, calling from Windows Live Messenger is free when calling another PC but there is a small charge when phoning a telephone. The call rate varies from country to county and to call a mobile can be more than twice as much as phoning a landline but calls are cheap. The average cost of a call to a landline in any other country is about 0.15p a minute including VAT and 0.7p to call a mobile.  This is definitely a cost effective way of calling abroad but whether the quality of the service will attract as many users as Skype remains to be seen.

Apart from the introduction of a calling interface Windows Live Messenger has some interesting added functions.  It boasts new “sharing folders” which allow you to create a folder of files which contacts can download from at anytime even when you are offline.  You can now send text messages to contact’s mobile phones if they have signed up with a mobile device and you can also chat with friends who are using yahoo messenger – if you get them to sign up that is!  Personally my favourite new feature is that you can now change your status to Appear Offline and still chat to others – although you can’t send files like this – so you can hide away just like in the good old days of ICQ.  You can also have great fun customising your Messenger window with new Kiwee Muggings, or if you don’t have time to do that simply by changing its colour.    Are there any downsides to this new version of Microsoft Messenger?  Not that I can see!…oh wait…the cute butterfly logo has gone!

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