Windows Live Messenger celebrates 10 years, hits 330m users

On July 22, 1999 Microsoft launched what would become the world's most popular instant messenging service, currently with over 330 million active users every month. Previously named MSN Messenger, it was released to work on the Windows operating system platform for users to instantly chat over the Internet using Microsoft's .NET Messenger Service.

Microsoft later re-branded MSN Messenger into Windows Live Messenger to merge it with its other Live services back in December 13, 2005. Windows Live Messenger (WLM) has gone through significant protocol changes and face lifts over its many versions in the last 10 years, ending up at Windows Live Messenger 2009 (designated to be called 9.0). Even though it was officially rebranded Windows Live Messenger in 2005, it's still referred to as just "MSN" by most people.

Windows Live Messenger has seen communities rise up with customization solutions from web sites like Messenger Plus! Live, Mess.be, msgstuff.com (from Neowin's very own Sean Bradford) and many more. The Messenger team has made significant improvements over Windows Live Messenger in the past years adding in web cam support, customizable backgrounds, emoticons, animated display pictures, file sharing and much more.

As a small celebration, the Windows Live Messenger Team is asking users to submit their personal stories to them using Windows Live Messenger. The deadline to share your story is June 28, where they will pick the best stories and share them on the Messenger Blog in July.

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