Windows Messenger Tweaked for XP Launch

UPDATED Still two weeks before Windows XP makes its official debut in New York, Microsoft has begun to prepare updates to the feature rich operating system. Windows Messenger, XP's controversial built-in version of MSN Messenger, will receive the first of such enhancements to be made available for download on October 25. In addition to numerous design changes, Windows Messenger will now allow users to make PC-to-phone calls directly from within the client.

Currently partnered with Callserve, Dialpad, deltathree, Net2Phone, and TELUS, Microsoft aims to further expand service offerings through the company's Voice Services Program. These carriers will allow customers to track call times and account information via Windows Messenger, but remain independent.

"This enhancement to Windows Messenger, which incorporates customer feedback and underscores our commitment to continue to innovate and to ensure that Windows XP enables the best, easiest, most exciting computing experience for consumers. It also underscores our commitment to work with the industry to make Windows XP a great platform for third-party solutions," said John Frederiksen, general manager of Windows, in a statement.

For older versions of Windows, Redmond is readying MSN Messenger 4.5, which will feature an XP-style tabbed interface and enable the new PC-to-phone support.

Already preparing new drivers for the OS, Microsoft has updated Windows XP's Intel PentiumIII driver to version 5.1.2535. Movie Maker 1.2 -- updated to add Windows Media support -- will also make an appearance later this month, with additional updates likely to follow.

The updates will be available at Windows Update shortly after Bill Gates announces the arrival of Windows XP.

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