WLM is one of the first of Microsofts ever-expanding family of Windows Live services to make it beyond the beta phase.
The final Windows Live Messenger bits were not yet posted by the time this article was published to the Web. But Microsoft officials said to expect the final download to be available on the Windows Live site later June 19.
Microsoft released the first official beta build of WLM, the successor to MSN Messenger, in December 2005.
Among Windows Live Messengers capabilities are free PC-to-PC calls with other Live Messenger users; paid PC-to-phone calls (via Verizon Web Calling and Windows Live Call services); video calling; and new built-in sharing folders.
Microsoft officials described Live Messenger "one of the first of more than 20 new Windows Live services to launch globally over the course of the year."
According to a posting on the Windows Live Messenger group blog, Microsoft will begin advising all Microsoft consumer messaging users to download Windows Live Messenger.
"MSN Messenger only lives on for people using operating systems older than Windows XP on which Windows Live Messenger is not supported," according to the posting. "Over then next few months, the number of people using Windows Live Messenger will multiply by more than 10 (and thats NOT binary)."
"The best new feature is the VOIP integration through Windows Live Call, which despite still only offering basic functionality, is something that Messenger has been lacking for a while," said Chris Overd from the LiveSide.Net site. "The most disappointing part about the release is the exclusion of the Yahoo-Microsoft interoperability, which was scheduled for Q2 2006 and looks unlikely to meet this target."