Bye Bye MSN Messanger

Well, yesterday was the last day that Microsoft’s “free” Instant Messanger program MSN Messanger was supposed to work with non-“approved” third party apps. IE: pay us money or spew our ads or we keep you out of our network and if you try to reverse-engineer it we’ll gang-bang you with a bunch of lawyers touting the dreaded DMCA.

At work I use an older version of GAIM (a multi-protocol instant messanger program for linux) through the Ximian Desktop and get a message every time I log in saying (helpfully) that I should go and download the new version as soon as I can. At home I have Gentoo Linux which is a bit more forthcoming in software updates so I’m running the latest GAIM (0.71) and don’t get any such messages.

Anyway, sure enough, this morning I was locked out at work, meaning I can’t communicate with the few people that I talk to with MSN, and I’m back to only having good old jabber. I can’t get to my home system right now to run GAIM remotely to see if 0.71 is unaffected My home setup of 0.71 is fine and $othercoder‘s GAIM is fine, so I am for now running remotely off of his system. Go XFree and a transparent network layer!

The funny thing is, when this bru-haha first started I wrote about this and even emailed Robert Scoble (the only person I can say I know inside Microsoft) and asked him if he could find out what a developer has to do to get approval for being a third party app. I even went as far as to call MSN support and got an absolutely horrible response (which I’ll write about later, but it involved voice activated tech support). There didn’t seem to be any information that anyone could give me. I didn’t dig really, really hard, but then again, the information could just not be out there.

It would make sense though, as making it as hard as possible for third party devs to make MSN Messanger applications means that users of MSN Messanger are stuck with the Microsoft version, with ads and hey, it’s tied so deeply into the OS that it tries to convince the user that they have to have it running if they are using IE or Outlook Express (a blatent lie, see here on how to not have this happen). Unfortunately, I really can’t find a huge amount of sympathy for a company that big.

I wonder how long it’ll be before MSN is a pay only service. They went that way with the MSN chat recently, it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened within a year. I guess I’ll see if I can get MSN to work through GAIM (running windows isn’t an option thanks) and if not, oh well. Bye bye gaim, I’ll stick with Jabber thanks.