I have IM accounts on all of the major IM platforms (ICQ, Yahoo, MSN, AIM), and use Trillian so as to be able to access them all. I have long wondered why the likes of AOL and Microsoft allow Trillian to be used as an MSN front-end, or rather, why they have not prevented the use of 3rd party front ends (like Trillian). Well, it seems as though this is happening. CNET is reporting (http://rss.com.com/2100-1032_3-5066412.html) that Microsoft is forcing users to upgrade to a new version of the MSN client, and that after October 15th only that client will be able to access the MSN network. Of course, there is little way Microsoft could technically preclude anyone from creating their own client, but that is neither here nor there. I do have an MSN client installed, and I suppose that I will upgrade, but I don’t think I’ll launch it unless it is actually needed. Good thing I have ICQ, Yahoo, and AIM (for now, I suspect that AOL will be the next to pull something like this, after all, they objected vehemently when MSN used to allow communication with AIM users).

10 thoughts

  1. MSN, AOL and Yahoo! have all, in the past, tried to block the third-party chat clients, e.g., Trillian (Windows), Fire (Mac), but the developers have usually gotten around the blockade pretty quickly.
    I’m beginning to favor AOL’s chat system more and more since they signed the agreement with Apple for iChat!

  2. If you’re into some interesting reading, . do a quick grab on AOL and Trillian and the adventures within. I think AOL has tried it on several occasions. Kinda makes ya wonder when it comes to it, months back (begining .net craze) MS did a lot of push to get developers to use the messenger SDK for their projects, sad really…
    Cheers,
    Robby

  3. Yep, according to the latest Lockergnome email, Trillian 2.0 (beta) can already access the new MSN network. I’ve not verified this, but their info is usually right on the money.

  4. As I noted, there is no real way for vendors to technically preclude any client from connecting to their services. The bigger question is this: is this a taste of things to come? As vendors want to sell advertising space, for example, they’ll justifiably need a way to prevent other clients from using their systems. The truth is, Microsoft and AOL and Yahoo have every right to not allow other clients access, after all, they are funding the network. I therefore do not agree with the anti-MS sentiment that seems so prevalent when this topic is discussed. But having said that, this still could become a real inconvenience to consumers, and if that happens it will be these same vendors who will lose out.

  5. There have been ‘running battles’ between the third-party chat client developers and the various big boy networks for a long time.
    I can see lots of valid reasons why these companies would try to shut unofficial clients out (so I agree with Ben on this) but in reality it’ll be very hard for them to do so…

  6. yah, i remember back in the ‘early days’ of Trillian…one day it would connect to AIM, the next day no. Then the trillian folk would throw out a patch, and voila…AIM connection again. For a day or so. It went back and forth for awhile. I assume that AIM finally gave up (?)
    while I love Trillian (saves me from having to load multiple IM clients, and it’s less bloated than any single client), I do agree with Sean and Ben and others who feel that AOL, MSN, etc have every right to prevent outsiders from accessing their network. I don’t like it, but I can see their point.
    As long as Trillian can do it tho, I’ll be using Trillian.

  7. If they do start charging…..instead of relying on this networks……someone should start a new network for developers.
    Does anyone know how much it would cost or what it would take?

  8. As per Cerulean Studios, "Trillian Pro 2.0, which is currently in beta, supports the latest and greatest MSN protocols". <sigh of relief>

  9. I am currently running Trillian 2.0 Pro Beta 3 and it is communicating on the new MSN Protocols. This has been good news.

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