Microsoft Corp. is testing a new version of its MSN Messenger that can be used over the Web without having to install software, the world's largest software maker said on Friday. The new service is the latest attempt by Microsoft to extend its reach in the market for messengers, used to send instant text messages between users logged on to different computers and devices.
MSN Web Messenger, offered by Microsoft's MSN Internet division, is being tested while being prepared for a wider launch by the end of the year, a Microsoft spokeswoman said. Both the test and final version are expected to be free. Web-based messengers, which typically have more limited features than the ones installed on personal computers, are aimed at users accessing via public computers or on corporate PCs that don't allow software installations.
MSN rivals America Online Inc. and Yahoo Inc. already offer Web-based instant messaging, as do other Web-based messaging service providers. The messenger, available at http://webmessenger.msn.com, is being tested at MSN sites in the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Japan.