Why You Should Avoid Using MSN

Windows Live Messenger

I’ve been saying this for almost 4 years now, but alas the topic has come up once again: I hate Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger Network (a.k.a the Microsoft Network, MSN) and so should you! I’m referring to the protocol, not the client. (The client is just as bad, but I can get by with alternative applications.)

To better explain why, I’m going to spare all the geeky talk for later and use analogies to get my point across first:

For the sake of argument, assume that you have a cell phone and you’re subscribed to Carrier A. You then wish to call, or send a message to, a friend who happens to be a subscriber of Carrier B. Naturally, you would expect your messages to get across, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to keep in touch and your provider would be severely restricting you to their network.

Similarly now, consider email communication: Let’s say that you have an email account provided by Google, and you wish to send a message to another person who is a Yahoo user —or any arbitrary email provider for that matter. You would expect messages to flow back and forth regardless of whatever server-techno-jumbo transactions occur in the middle, because that’s how things should work for everyone, right?

Well, this is not the case when it comes to Instant Messaging (IM) Services like MSN and Yahoo because they’re not standard. In order to communicate with other people, all members must be part of the same network, and this means that if the network goes down (and it does more than anyone’s liking), everybody goes down with it!

This is where Jabber and the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) come to play:

“Jabber is an open, secure technology for decentralized instant messaging and a whole lot more.”—Jabber.org

With Jabber, you can be your own IM provider, (much like having your own email provider) and talk to other users on different networks. Users on one network are essentially independent of other networks that their friends are using.

Image from Wikipedia.org

If you find this intriguing, you’ll be happy to know that GoogleTalk (Gmail) users are already using Jabber and that Facebook developers are already working hard to bring this to their chat service.

What does all this mean to you? If you’re still using MSN, Yahoo, AOL or any other closed, centralized or proprietary IM services (you probably have one of each since people are on different networks!), please consider switching to Jabber as your primary IM. Urge your friends, colleges, relatives, and everyone else you know to make a little effort and move to a this robust platform so that everyone can communicate freely without any of these restrictions.

You can click here to get started on Jabber.

Note: I’m aware that some people have already expressed their love for Windows Live Messenger, but the 2009 version is already expected to add Jabber support.


13 thoughts on “Why You Should Avoid Using MSN

  1. Interesting subject and I partly agree with you……

    But here’s some thoughts:
    + http://passport.net allows you to register your email (whatever it is, i use my private email) to the MSN network…… I know alot of people using MSN Messenger with their gmail accounts
    + the MSN and Yahoo IMs somehow merged together, you can add an MSN account to your Yahoo account and the other way around…… There’s might be features limitations but it still works

    It’s not that I hate jabber, I actually would like to support it and I’d consider doing so soon……

    Keep it up man…… Your posts are really interesting and entertaining


    People used to stick with MSN Messenger because they like the stupid nudges and whatnot. So now if Jabber support is there, they could still use it (I think).

    No more “Message didn’t reach xy” and network outages!

  3. Rand_4, I’m aware of passports, but that doesn’t solve the problem of when the MSN servers go down. It’s just another registered account linked to another email :/

    MSN and Yahoo can talk to each other because the companies signed an agreement to allow it. With Jabber, you don’t need to wait for companies to decide who you can talk to.

    Another feature which I haven’t mentioned in my post are Jabber Transports. They allow you to sign into MSN and other services through your jabber account (although they do violate Microsoft’s terms)

    MBH, you mention another good point: With Jabber, you’re not stuck with one client. You can choose any client that, for example, can suppress nudges :P

    Neoark23, that’s the spirit :)

  4. I see my sister when she’s chatting & blabbing over MSN. A LOT OF EMOTICONS!

    I hate them! I even disable them whenever I use a chat client (Pidgin). Text emoticons are the best, and if you can’t express yourself enough in text, then you FAIL!

  5. Sadly, it’s great for the non techies as it “just works.”

    I must admit I use it as well. An incident happened 2 days ago where the whole thing died for all Pidgin/Adium users until today. Kinda sucked. I’m not sure what Microsoft did, but yeah.

  6. 3baid: Great geeky post. I still remember the early days when Google announced its service, immediately the company which is supposed to set standards, Microsoft, signed deal with Yahoo to do cross talk on their messengers. Apparently it saved none, and now they’re gonna support Jabber whether they like it or not.

    I personally hate separate clients for talking, I only use Gmail embedded chat, and now I can even do voice through it :)

    Bojacob: How could you :(?

  7. Bashar, even video with the help of a plugin :)

    Bojacob, true. Much like Internet Explorer is the most used web browser even though tabs weren’t introduced until version 7 :/

    Zabo0o6a, it’s not different than using Facebook chat. It all depends on where your friends go; you go with them.

  8. I would have to say that I stopped using MSN for about 9 years now, I got annoyed with it and the characters on it! I love G-Chat because it simple and I just contact the people I want. There are drawbacks of course as you have mentioned and others, but I am getting what I want out of it.

    I detest MSN!

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