Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
The latest deal between Microsoft and Vodafone brought forward a new but disturbing fact. Microsoft has started charging its Messenger subscribers to send IM messages to mobile phones in nine different countries. This might lead to migration of current MSN Messenger users to other Instant Messaging services for their SMS needs considering the competition is bad.
British subscribers are being charged £2.99 for 25 messages, £4.99 for 50 messages and £13.99 for 150 messages. There is an additional condition, which says that only some US based networks can receive such messages. Perhaps, Microsoft noticed that the mobile companies charge for every SMS sent to the other user and they should also follow the same route.
Smartphones and PDAs already come with messaging solutions which let users connect to the popular networks like MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger. However, paying to send sms from messenger to mobile is something new and would not be favorable with a lot of net users. Worse part of the news is that Microsoft is making it compulsory for users to upgrade to MSN Messenger 7 to make use of this new functionality.
They also seem to have removed option for voice chatting which the market analysts believe reappear in a paid version quite soon. Even Yahoo! Messenger seems to have made that option converted to something called Call leading to rumors of making it a paid option in the future. Skype should come handy in that case.