Microsoft has completely mucked up the marketing of its Passport service and its instant messenger products. I follow this industry pretty closely, but I’ve frequently been baffled about how the various pieces fit together.

I get an e-mail newsletter from WinXP News (not overly technical, not completely flattering to Microsoft, and frequently filled with useful tips and tricks – recommended!) Here’s an easy guide to Microsoft’s instant messenger products from this week’s newsletter.

“Users of Windows XP should be using “Windows Messenger”, not “MSN Messenger.” See this link:

“Windows Messenger” comes with Windows XP and its current release is 4.7. It is only available for XP.

“MSN Messenger”, can be installed on any Windows system, including XP, but is less compatible than “Windows Messenger”. If you still want MSN features, you can use this link for “Windows Messenger” add-ins:

Finding workarounds for “MSN Messenger” is like fitting a round peg in a square hole. Why not fit the Round Peg (“Windows Messenger”) into the Round Hole (Windows XP)? Then fit the square peg (“MSN Messenger”) into a square hole (Windows 9x, ME, NT, or 2000). If you need MSN features for “Windows Messenger,” go to the Microsoft site and download and install it.”

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