MSN Eyes IM Video, Audio

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-03-09 Print this article Print

MSN teams with Logitech to improve the quality and synchronization of video and audio in its instant messaging service.

MSN plans to enhance the video and audio capabilities in its instant messaging service this spring so that users can speak with their contacts over the Internet. The Internet division of Microsoft Corp. Wednesday extended a partnership with Logitech International SA for the video and audio capabilities in MSN Messenger. The companies announced the new features at the CeBIT show in Hannover, Germany. MSN, though, stopped short of revealing any plans to compete directly in the rapidly expanding consumer voice-over-IP market. Top IM competitor America Online Inc. this week confirmed plans for an Internet phone service using its AOL Instant Messenger.
Meanwhile, the poster child for the new wave of Internet telephony, Skype Technologies SA, made its presence known at CeBIT. Niklas Zennström, the companys CEO and co-founder, said Skype is signing up 155,000 users a day.
MSN Messenger already has a Webcam feature and provides some audio capabilities, but users must initiate video and audio sessions separately, an MSN spokesperson said. With Version 7.0 of the IM service, MSN and Logitech will provide higher-quality video and audio, and synchronize them so users can more easily begin and conduct video and audio sessions. The video and audio features are specifically targeted for use among MSN Messenger users, the spokesperson said. The improvements are expected to be available in the spring with the launch of MSN Messenger 7.0, which is currently in beta. "The new capabilities were delivering with MSN will remove barriers that in the past have prevented widespread consumer use of video and audio communications," said Junien Labrousse, senior vice president of Logitechs video business unit, in a statement. Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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