Windows Live Messenger 8 is out, and it's clear that Microsoft has Skype firmly in its sights. The MSN Messenger successor has a big focus on PC-to-landline and PC-to-PC calling along with a batch of other interesting features.
Microsoft has released Windows Live Messenger 8, the instant messenger that will ship with Windows and has the potential to smash Skype's dominance in the consumer VoIP market.
The news was announced in a Microsoft staffer blog.
Live Messenger 8 includes P2P file sharing, VoIP-to-landline as well as VoIP-to-VoIP calling, a Vista look-and-feel GUI and the ability to chat with Yahoo Messenger users.
It is the first messenger to be released as part of the Windows Live family which will include Windows Live Search (desktop search), Windows Live Mail Desktop (mail client) and Windows Live toolbar.
New additions to the instant messaging client include:
- the ability to add Yahoo! Messenger contacts
- integration with Microsoft LifeCams
- Windows Live Call (VoIP via Verizon)
- Live Messenger Phones
- Windows Live Contacts (unified Messenger & Hotmail contacts)
- video calling
- Shared file folders
- Offline instant messaging.
Probably the most notable new feature, besides the Vista-esque look and feel, is its ability to make PC-to-PC calls and PC-to-landline calls (for a fee).
However it doesn't yet work the networking magic that Skype does -- we couldn’t Windows Live Call working on the corporate network here at APC (despite vigorous fist waving in the direction of the corporate network sysadmins), but we did have a lot of fun yelling into microphones trying to get it to work.
The new release also features video calling using technology provided by computer peripheral giant, Logitech.
Microsoft has developed and released their own range of webcams to work alongside Windows Live, dubbed their LifeCam series. (Microsoft says you don't have to use these webcams with Live Messenger and that they should work with other windows software, but refused to discuss the video compression standard, etc, used by the cameras.)
Windows Live Messenger 8