MSN Web Messenger went live on Wednesday, providing users of Microsoft Corp.s MSN Messenger consumer IM service with the type of remote IM access that has been available to users of competing services for years.
Both America Online Inc. and Yahoo Inc. already offer Web-based versions of their IM clients.
MSN plans to have a full release available later this year and decided to offer a test version of the Web-based client to respond to user feedback requesting roaming access, an MSN spokesperson said.
"At this time, the Web Messenger is a limited beta designed to solicit feedback from customers," she said.
The MSN Web Messenger beta, available here, runs on Windows 98, 2000, Me and XP. It supports Microsofts Internet Explorer as well as alternative browsers. It supports IE 5.0 or later, Mozilla 1.6 or later and Netscape 7.0 or later.
Also, users are able to run the beta on Apple Computer Inc.s Safari browser for Mac OS X, but MSN does not officially support it, the spokeswoman said.
"Well look at potentially supporting other browsers if there is demand and it makes business sense," she said.
The other markets included in the beta are the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.