Microsoft Corp.’s Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) will release MSN Messenger 3.5 for Mac OS X sometime on Monday representatives from Microsoft told MacCentral. The free update will be available from Microsoft’s MacTopia Web site.
New features in MSN Messenger 3.5 include:
Message archiving: Users can now save instant message conversations, just like saving e-mail. MSN Messenger allows users to choose the conversations they want to archive or archive all of them automatically. After messages are saved, users can use the Search tool to find specific chats in the conversations history.
Contact management: Users can define and organize groups for family members, friends or colleagues. When contacts are sorted into groups, users now have the option to show only those individuals who are currently online in each group. All other contacts are automatically sorted into a separate group called ‘Not Online.’
Since the beginning of the year, the MacBU has announced several initiatives for Mac users including a promotion in conjunction with Apple to receive Office v. X for US$199 when you purchase a new Macintosh. Microsoft and Apple are also putting Office v. X Test Drive on all new Macs shipping in 2003, the companies said at January’s Macworld Expo.
In February the MacBU brought news that Exchange Server support would be brought to OS X through an update to the company’s personal information manager, Entourage. Microsoft officials confirmed at the time that Outlook 2001, the application used for Exchange in Mac OS 9, would no longer be developed.
Perhaps the biggest news for Mac users came when Microsoft announced that it had acquired Connectix Corp.’s Virtual PC products, including Virtual PC for Mac, Virtual PC for Windows and Virtual Server.
The MacBU still has one new product to deliver this year. First announced last summer, Microsoft will bring MSN to Mac OS X sometime in 2003. MSN will be built on the core technologies found in existing Microsoft Mac OS X products and will feature free 24-hour Mac specific customer support via phone, e-mail or the Web.