Microsoft to Publish MSN Messenger Service Protocol to Industry

REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 18, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to publish the protocol for its MSN TM Messenger Service, the free* Internet messaging service that allows people to communicate instantly across the Internet with the greatest number of Internet users and offers the tightest integration with popular Microsoft® communications tools. In publishing the MSN Messenger Service protocol, Microsoft further demonstrates its ongoing commitment to provide all consumers with the ability to freely communicate over the Internet, no matter which instant messaging service they use. As evidence of consumer demand for interoperability, Microsoft also today announced that more than 1.3 million people in the United States use MSN Messenger Service, making it one of the fastest growing instant messaging services.

“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, Consumer and Commerce Group, 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.”

The publishing of the MSN Messenger Service protocol makes it easy for other instant messaging services to communicate with MSN Messenger Service today and represents a critical interim step to meet consumer demand until an industry standard can be developed and ratified.

“We are delighted that Microsoft is publishing the specification of the MSN Messenger Service protocol as an IETF draft. The publication of different protocols helps us in evaluating our Requirements document and in informing our development of robust, open protocols for Internetwide interoperability in this area,”
said Vijay Saraswat, who with Dave Marvit is co-chair of the IMPP Working Group of the IETF.
“In this spirit of open protocols that benefit the entire Internet community, we strongly encourage other vendors to publish their protocols.”

Microsoft’s top priority continues to be working with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and other companies in the industry toward the adoption of a permanent standard for instant messaging interoperability on behalf of all consumers. In 1997, Microsoft introduced a proposal to the IETF for the first standard for instant messaging interoperability, and it continues to be an active member of the Instant Messaging and Presence Protocol (IMPP) working group.

Microsoft will make the MSN Messenger Service protocol available to the industry by the end of this month by submitting it as an Internet draft to the IETF as a working reference implementation of an interoperable instant messaging protocol. Developers may also use the reference implementation to provide interoperability. Ultimately, when the IMPP protocol is developed and ratified, the MSN network of Internet services will support the IMPP protocol.

“An interim protocol is the industry’s rallying point, from which we can connect millions of users within weeks. Working from a single, common standard will greatly accelerate the process of establishing interoperability among all messaging systems,”
said Bill Kirkner, chief technology officer, Prodigy Communications Corp.
“Microsoft is doing the right thing – publishing a protocol for everyone to use shows that it is doing more than paying lip service to the idea of an open standard.”

“We applaud Microsoft’s decision to publish its MSN Messenger Service protocol, as it is an important first step toward creating open Internet communications,”
said Joseph Esposito, president and CEO of Tribal Voice Inc.
“Open standards for instant messaging and online presence will benefit consumers and business alike. Consumers will have freedom to communicate, and businesses will be able to develop a new generation of products and services built on a common communications standard.”

“Microsoft’s decision to introduce its MSN Messenger Service protocol is a real victory for consumers,”
said Steve Glenn, CEO of PeopleLink Inc.
“Consumers always benefit from choice. With the support of Microsoft and others, consumers will soon be able to choose the instant messaging service that best addresses their individual needs.”

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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