Microsoft has sent out e-mails regarding the closing of the Window Live Messenger 8.1 Beta that began September 7, 2006. The e-mail states that 3,009 beta testers submitted 1010 bugs and 456 suggestions as well as 6000 posts in the newsgroup. The final build number and final release date are currently unknown. There will be no prizes given out at the end of the beta because of budget limitations for this specific program. Although there are plans for another beta, it is unclear if "it will be a minor release (such as an 8.x ) or a major release (such as a 9.0)" and no date is available either. The plan is to invite current testers to the next managed beta. The beta newsgroup will be available for a couple of more weeks while the public newsgroup microsoft.public.windows.live.messenger will remain the primary location for discussing Windows Live Messenger.
Download: Windows Live Messenger 8.1.0178 (Freeware, 17.2MB)
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Link: Windows Live Messenger Home Page | Forum Discussion (Thanks Dwergs)
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