MSN stands for “Microsoft Network”. The term MSN is used to refer to Windows Live Messenger, an instant messaging client developed by Microsoft. This client is designed to work with Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and 2008 as well as Windows Mobile. The client has been actively apart of Microsoft’s Windows Live set of online services since 2005.
Microsoft has released seven major versions of MSN. The first version was release in 1999 with basic features such as plain text messaging and a very simple contact list. The second version was released later the same year and it included a rotating advertising banner as well as the capability to customize the appearance of the chat window. Version three followed in subsequent months. This goes to show the dynamic nature of MSN as Microsoft was always looking for ways to develop and improve each version of MSN.
People can set up Windows Live Messenger to use their own PC anti-virus software in order to scan all the files they receive through Instant Messaging and File Sharing by using the File Transfer Options. Alternatively, Windows Live OneCare Safety Scanner, a free online virus scanner from Microsoft, is a well-integrated virus scanner for use with Windows Live Messenger. In addition to its general capability and basic functionality as an instant messaging client, Windows Live Messenger offers Sharing Folder, PC-to-phone calls, interoperability, offline messaging, games and applications.
In addition to the Internet service provider and the Internet portal, the name “MSN” has been used for a number of related services. The two most popular of these are Hotmail and Messenger. Hotmail is a free web based email service by Microsoft. It was incepted in 1996 as an independent service and was added to the MSN family in 1997. Since 2006 hotmail has been actively apart of Microsoft Windows Live group online services and has over 380 million users worldwide, available in thirty five (35) languages. MSN Messenger was launched in 1999 to compete with AOL Instant Messenger.
MSN services have been extended beyond the United States as Microsoft through partnerships with broadcast stations and local telecommunications companies to provide service all over the world wherever such can be reached. Additionally MSN offers customer support worldwide and uses the service of call centers around the world. A research and development center was established for MSN at a center in China. The center also hosts a technical support team for MSN services.
MSN is still a dial–up internet service provider and remains the second largest internet service provider in the United States behind AOL. MSN also combines its dial up service with email account at MSN.com. It also has firewall and anti virus programs.