Instant messaging has enjoyed vastly increased use in both the corporate and non-corporate worlds, and Microsoft’s Messenger is one of the most popular pieces of software in the world, boasting a staggering 330 million active users. It’s a simple idea – type in a message and it instantly pops up on your friend’s screen, provided they’ve also downloaded Messenger and you’ve added them as a friend.
Microsoft has expanded this into video chat as well, and it works well, although for corporate meetings there are undoubtedly better options. It has none of the complexity or administration features of something like Citrix Go To Meeting (see previous page). The interface is unashamedly consumer driven, featuring a bewildering array of smiley faces, multicoloured backgrounds and ways to make your friend’s machine emit animal noises. There’s also a healthy dollop of advertising.
Despite this, Microsoft Messenger is, at least for a small, tightly knit group of workers, a great way to keep in touch – but it’s really more for employees to communicate with each other rather than to reach out to customers. For more serious meetings, you will need to look elsewhere.
PROS Good integration with other Microsoft products, straightforward interface
CONS Consumer image, lack of corporate features