MSN Messenger 5.0 adds camera, action

New feature brings video to instant messages

Microsoft has added webcam functionality to its MSN Messenger 5.0 client, allowing users to stream and view live video via instant messages.

The webcam features are being made possible under an agreement Microsoft signed with Swiss firm Logitech, which is providing the add-in application and maintaining the connection service.

With the MSN software and a webcam, users will be able to stream video to contacts, and through many firewalls, the companies said.

The deal, announced Wednesday, is set to heighten the battle being waged among leading instant messaging (IM) providers Microsoft, Yahoo and America Online (AOL), which are scrambling to take control of the growing market. Yahoo added a webcam service to its IM client last year, but AOL has yet to do so.

Microsoft's move to bolster its consumer IM product comes as it is also rolling out a corporate instant messaging and collaboration suite, dubbed Greenwich

The new webcam add-in can be downloaded at http://messenger.msn.com/support/webcam.asp

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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