Microsoft to force IM upgrades

— 2:35 AM on August 21, 2003

By October 15th, MSN and Windows Messenger users will have to upgrade to version 5.0 or 4.7.2009, respectively. Security issues are apparently behind the forced upgrade, though Microsoft hasn't disclosed any details on the supposed vulnerability.

Upgrading to a newer version of Messenger shouldn't be a big deal for most users, especially the latest Messenger version 6.0 isn't being shoved down their throats. However, October 15th is also the last day Messenger will be compatible with third party IM software like Trillian. C|Net reports:

Sundwall said the company is opening doors to discuss contractual agreements with third-party integrators, but he would not give definitive assurances that Trillian users will be able to access their MSN contacts after the deadline.

"We certainly would urge third parties who want to continue (hosting the MSN software) to contact us before Oct. 15 when they will no longer be able to access the network," Sundwall said.

Without knowing what kind of compensation, access, or control Microsoft is seeking from third party software developers, it's hard to handicap Trillian's options. The contents of the "contractual agreement" Microsoft seeks could be innocuous, but I suspect Microsoft has more up its sleeve.
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