Microsoft’s Success with Windows XP and Various MSN Programs

Windows XP

After the dumpster fire that was Windows ME, Microsoft came back strong with Windows XP. It ushered in the age of the modern PC, allowing grandparents to conflate Internet Explorer with the Web browser and allowing young users to communicate with each other using a variety of instant messaging services.

MSN Messenger

Microsoft entered the instant messaging world in 1999 with MSN Messenger. It was a huge hit and rivaled the likes of ICQ, Yahoo! Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM).

By 2009, it was clear that MSN Messenger was a big player in the IM industry with 330 million active users. But could it keep up with the competition?

New features include a new way to share files with your friends. It’s easier than ever to send a file via Messenger, plus any changes you make will be automatically synchronized with the person you’re sending it to.

Other cool new features are Winks—animated gifs that show up in your contact’s chat window—and dynamic display pictures that change emotions. You can also add actual title buttons to your MSN/Windows Messenger window that let you Minimize, Stay Always-on-Top, Roll Up or Make Transparent. You can even conduct a search directly from a conversation. But the best feature might be that it’s now compatible with mobile devices.

MSN Explorer

MSN Explorer, also known as MSN Program Viewer, is a portal software program that offers instant messaging and other functionality on top of a web browser. Originally included with Windows code name Whistler build 2410 (now Windows XP), the MSN Program Viewer replaced Microsoft’s previous MSN Messenger and AOL Desktop programs.

Msn explorer includes an Internet Explorer based web browser that provides the latest in web browsing technology. Its e-mail system is an online based system that allows users to store messages on the server. This means that a user can read their e-mail from any machine to which they have access, including computers at the library or office.

The MSN explorer program also has an extremely well-developed, accessible help system. The help topics are grouped into categories and subcategories that are easily identifiable visually and with a screen reader. The msn explorer software’s main help window is split into sections that are easy to navigate using keyboard techniques.

MSN Games

MSN Games allows Microsoft Messenger users to play online games against each other. Players can also keep track of their wins and losses and compare them with friends. The service joins similar instant messaging programs from competitors like AOL’s ICQ and Yahoo.

The company’s MSN Instant Games clubhouse will initially offer four head-to-head games: Wheel of Fortune, a word game called Upwords, online billiards and a version of chess. Customers who subscribe to these games can play them against any Messenger contact in the United States.

MSN Gaming Zone, which launched in the late 1990s, became popular among gamers for its broad selection of games and robust multiplayer functionality. The site was eventually shut down in 2006, with MSN deciding to transition to Windows Live Messenger, which had more frequently updated chat lobbies than the ZoneFriends client used on the gaming zone. This was a decision that angered thousands of gamers and led to an online petition.

MSN Video

MSN Video is a free-to-use online service that offers video clips and articles from news and lifestyle sources. Content includes Access Hollywood, Animal Planet, CNBC, Discovery, FOX Sports and Kiplinger’s as well as articles from Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Redbook, Good Housekeeping and TODAY.

The service aims to rival video sharing and blogging sites such as YouTube and Digg. It has partnered with CipBlast to automatically index its videos and hopes to see it ranked highly on search engines.

The company has also integrated Webcam functionality into its MSN Messenger 7.0 IM client, which allows users to have full-screen video conversations with other MSN users and enhanced synchronized audio that improves the sound quality of these conversations. The move is likely aimed at beating out AOL Time Warner, which has been barred by regulatory stipulations as a condition of its 2001 merger with AOL from offering advanced IM services such as streaming video. This could be a risky strategy, however, because if it becomes too successful, it could run into unwanted regulator attention.

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