Britains UKonline government portal is currently running a pilot project in conjunction with Microsofts MSN Messenger. A UKonline tab has been added to Messenger, and from there you can link through to various UKonline services, plus other UK government services, including NHS Direct.
According to the E-Envoys CEO of e-delivery (our man in the black BMW with tinted windows and a cargo of funny sweeties) Alan Mather, the pilot is intended to explore the use of alert systems and messenger services "to see if this is a channel we can use to deliver content and, ultimately, transactions." This could go as far as issuing personalised alerts, file your tax return now and so on. The content, he says, comes from UKonlines content management system running on Sun servers, and if the experiment is successful then itll be rolled out to Yahoo, AOL "and anyone else that has something like this."
So not Microsoft only then? But today we cant help noticing that the E-Envoys ecumenical efforts seem to land us with a picture of the Forth Bridge (how appropriate) and an unsupported browser (Opera 6.0 on Windows 2000, since you ask) message at the Gateway home page, http://www.gateway.gov.uk. An isolated glitch or are we going backwards, Alan?