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Since late 2004 Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit (MBU) have not released a single update for the failing MSN IM Client for Apple OSX.

Today the team released Microsoft Messenger 5.0 for Mac OS X. Aimed more at workers than home users who use the MSN IM protocol the client has the ability to use two unique accounts at the same time. Personal & Corporate accounts have been integrated (Windows has two separate clients for this use ? MSN Messenger & Windows Messenger). The “personal” account stays the same like the previous MSN client; the “corporate” account allows users to connect to a Microsoft Live Communications Server to transfer data securely behind a firewall within a business or corporation.

You are now able to use multiple IM protocols with Microsoft Messenger, something that has been lacking for a long time which has made users migrate to other IM clients on OS X. AOL/AIM/iChat/Yahoo protocols are now supported within the client by default.

Interface-wise, Microsoft Messenger has had an overhaul that adheres to the Mac OS X interface (Aqua), using the familiar brushed-metal that is contained in mainstream applications such as Safari and the iLife applications. Interface buttons are now customizable in the sense they can be moved as well as added or deleted.

Display pictures are default in the new client with a sidebar to show a display picture of the person you are talking to. Emoticons have been taken from the current version of MSN Messenger for Windows and integrated into Microsoft Messenger (which are animated). However it doesn’t allow you to add your own custom emoticons like the Windows client. Winks and Nudges are also not present in this version.

Audio & web cam support is still missing from this version, which will infuriate users of waiting for these features being added. The preferences have stayed the same with the exception of a few things being added for the “corporate” account, such as message logging and the ability to block users ? like the “personal” account.

File transfers have improved greatly and are very fast in use with multiple file transfers, which the previous version was lacking.

All in all, people were expecting this version to bury the gap between the Windows client. Alas it hasn’t and we play the waiting game again for MBU to release a top notch version of Messenger for the Mac.

From discussions I have read, I guess file transfers still do not work? no personal messages, no pictures on contact list, but a nicer interface, display pictures and that now AOL/AIM/iChat/Yahoo Protocols are now supported.

Download: Microsoft Messenger for Mac 5.0
Screenshots: Courtesy of Neowin/Radish, all credit for these screenshots go to him.
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