Microsoft to open MSN Messenger protocol

Microsoft Corporation this week announced its intention to freely publish the protocol used by its MSN Messenger Service, which allows users to communicate with each other in real time over the Internet. Designed as an open insult to America Online, which has been trying to block MSN Messenger users from communicating with its proprietary AOL Instant Messenger, Microsoft hopes that other instant messaging products will begin using the protocol.

"Our goal is to help people enjoy the benefits of free and open communication on the Internet, and we are pleased that this is resonating with so many consumers," said Brad Chase, senior vice president of the Consumer and Commerce Group at Microsoft. "Since 1997, Microsoft has actively worked with the industry on open standards for interoperability among messaging systems, and documenting our protocol is a significant step in this direction."

Microsoft is working with the Internet Engineering Task Force on instant messaging interoperability. It is expected that a future protocol based on the MSN Messenger protocol will become an open standard used by all Internet communications programs

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