Microsoft releases Messenger 6.0

The Fast Cash Friday giveaway, which will occur each Friday between July 25 and Aug. 15, is the first of several summer promotions that will build on the consumer excitement and glowing media reviewssince the June 18 public-preview release of Messenger 6.0.

“Fast Cash Friday is our way of celebrating the completion and final release of MSN Messenger 6.0, our most feature-rich, personalized and coolest IM service ever,” said Lisa Gurry, MSN group product manager at Microsoft Corp. “This promotion and others we have planned for later this summer are our way of encouraging people to see for themselves how much fun they can have while IM-ing.”

Fast Cash Friday not only provides consumers with an additional incentive to download the new version and get familiar with its new features, it also encourages consumers to regularly use the service to increase their chances of winning $1,000. On the four Fridays, MSN will award $1,000 each hour between noon EDT/9 a.m. PDT and 10 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. PDT to randomly chosen U.S. entrants who are logged on to Messenger 6.0.

New Features Increase Personalization, IM Activities

Consumers who download Messenger 6.0 in hopes of winning Fast Cash Friday dollars will receive another bonus: a slew of new and improved features that will dramatically improve their IM experience. Messenger 6.0 offers the following:

  • More than 60 new emoticons, including ones that come alive with animation, and the ability to make personal emoticons
  • Many new background images and personal display pictures for the IM screen that allow users to exhibit their personality
  • Launch Site interactive features that allow users to easily share photos and other files while playing live, online games such as Tic Tac Toe and “Minesweeper Flags”
  • The ability to send and receive files and photos
  • An integrated, easy-to-use webcam service, powered by Logitech Inc., to share live video pictures and voice with other users
  • One-click convenience when saving favorite IM conversations to a personal hard drive
  • Integration with more devices, allowing users to send and receive text messages over a cell phone or personal digital assistant (PDA), receive messages on an MSN Direct watch, or send handwritten “inked” messages from Tablet PCs
  • “With Messenger 6.0, IM has changed forever,” Gurry said. “Consumers can truly make their IM experience their own and extend that experience in so many new and different ways.”

A new MSN community site, http://groups.msn.com/themsnmessengergroup/expressyourself.msnw, provides access to an online library of new Messenger 6.0 images and tools, with nearly 90 new emoticons, more than 30 backgrounds and more than 110 personal display pictures. The backgrounds and display pictures are grouped in themes, including sci-fi, sports, ’60s and ’70 s, wildlife, and fashion.

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