Windows, MSN or Yahoo Messenger - differences?

  BarneyCGL 11:20 08 Jun 2005

I can't seem to find an answer to a basic question - what's the difference between Windows, MSN, Yahoo and all the other flavours of Messenger?

I have Windows Messenger, but downloaded (and use) MSN Messenger before I realised I already had Windows Messenger which I presume came with XP.

Are the variants incompatible?
Why choose any one over another?
Is it a bad idea to have more than one on a PC? Will .NET passports work across them all, or are they separate domains?


  Chris Webster 23:04 08 Jun 2005


From what i can gather, Windows Messenger is more to do with communicating over networks. If you have XP Service Pack 2 installed then Windows Messenger is disabled by default.

.Net passports only work with Microsoft stuff.

You cannot cross platform chat e.g if you've got MSN Messenger and a friend has got Yahoo Messenger you cannot chat together. You both need the same chat client.

I used to use ICQ and MSN Messenger on my old Win ME comp.

Hope this all makes sense.

Cheers, Chris.

  BarneyCGL 23:10 08 Jun 2005

Thanks. So does .NET work with both MSN and Windows Messenger which are both Microsoft products?

And if Windows Messenger comes with XP, which is the predominant o/s, then why would anyone use Yahoo Messenger for instance, and limit themselves to messaging over a smaller domain?

  Completealias 23:16 08 Jun 2005

Windows messenger and MSN use the same service. Yahoo, AOL + others use a different chat service and so you can chat with these if your using MSN.

Trillian found click here allows you to IM with different services so you can just use that to chat to people on MSN and yahoo say although you still need to create user accounts with each of the individual services

  Completealias 23:17 08 Jun 2005

opps typo that should say can't chat with these if your using MSN

  Completealias 23:19 08 Jun 2005

Guess it comes down to personal preference

  Chris Webster 23:26 08 Jun 2005

I think the reason Windows Messenger is turned off by default by sp2 is because it can be a source 'spam'.

  BarneyCGL 23:30 08 Jun 2005

So if sp2 turns off Windows Messenger, does that mean that MSN Messenger is somehow superseding Windows Messenger as Microsoft's IM of choice?

  Chris Webster 23:33 08 Jun 2005

I think Windows Messenger is more network based.

  Chris Webster 23:36 08 Jun 2005

From the Microsoft site,

Microsoft Windows Messenger allows real-time communication with other contacts who use Windows Messenger and who are signed in to the same instant messaging service. It is the instant messaging client of choice for businesses in managed environments.

  Completealias 23:42 08 Jun 2005

MSN messenger has more "fun" functions so 2 speak in there latest version you can send nudges and winks

windows messenger does not offer this and is aimed more as a bussiness tool

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