Microsoft seeks cash from IM client makers

Microsoft Corp. is contacting providers of instant messaging (IM) software to try to cut licensing deals before it boots the clients from its MSN IM network. Microsoft isn't targeting rival IM network operators such as America Online Inc. or Yahoo Inc., but makers of clients that use the Microsoft MSN IM network and compete with Microsoft's own MSN Messenger client. Cerulean Studios, maker of the Trillian IM client, is at the top of Microsoft's list. Trillian allows users to consolidate multiple IM accounts in one client and is available in a free version, as well as a US$25 "Pro" version that offers additional features. Trillian has been downloaded over 10 million times, according to Cerulean Studios.

"Running an (IM) network is expensive," said Lisa Gurry, group product manager for MSN at Microsoft. "We can't sustain multiple other people's businesses, particularly if they charge for certain versions of their software. We're introducing licensing processes for third parties like Trillian." Microsoft is making changes to its network that will lock out "unlicensed or unauthorized third-party clients." The first phase of those changes is scheduled to go into effect mid-September, followed by a complete lock-out on October 15, Microsoft has said.

News source: IDG - Microsoft seeks cash from IM client makers

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