Here is a story from eWeek that discusses Microsoft’s recently announced plans to limit access to the MSN Messenger service by outside parties. There are several 3rd party messaging clients out there that allow you to connect to multiple networks simultaneously. My preffered client is Trillian, which supports MSN, AIM, Yahoo, IRC, and ICQ, as well as plugins for other services like RSS feeds.
If you read the article, you will see that Microsoft is arguing that security and user protection is the primary reason for their decision. I find this a little hard to swallow. I think MS is trying to protect their control of their own messaging platform. Honestly, the only way I would support licensing for access would be if it allowed the 3rd parties to put additional features in their clients, like support for video and remote assistance – features that are currently available in Windows Messenger.
Only time will tell, but I suggest those of you who use IM for communication follow this one. I will be.