Mac Messenger 5.0

I've had a number of people, both in comments and in private e-mail, ask me about continuing development on Mac Messenger. Until now, I could only give cryptic answers to those questions. No longer. Mac Messenger 5.0 was released to the web today.

You can read about it here. You can download it here.

I've been using it for months, and it's sweet. The two nicest features are support for all the major IM networks, including Yahoo®, AOL®, AIM®, MSN® and iChat®, and support for Exchange and Live Communications Server for those of us who work in a corporate environment.



Currently playing in iTunes: Bargain by The Who

Comments (26)

  1. Scott says:

    Interesting. Could this mean that IM interoperability is coming to the PC Messenger version anytime soon? (you probably can’t answer that 😉 )

    Does AOL support include ICQ?

    Is this version written using Carbon or Cocoa?

  2. Hmm, gotta ask about things like Webcam support – that’s the one feature that I could really use, that isn’t in the Mac client. Otherwise, from what I’ve seen – this is no better than Adium

    What does the Mac Messenger have that adium doesn’t??

  3. Ralph says:

    What’s the difference between AOL, AIM and iChat? Isn’t that all AIM protocol-wise?

  4. John S. says:

    THANK YOU FOR LCS SUPPORT!!!!! My company loves you.

  5. Rick Schaut says:


    Despite the brushed aluminum appearance, Messenger 5.0 is not a Cocoa app. I don’t think Messenger 5.0 has ICQ support, but I could be wrong. Lastly, even if I knew what’s going on in the heads of Win/MSN Messenger folks, I’m not at liberty to comment.


    Mac Messenger has support for Live Communications Server. See John’s comment for the reaction some of us have.


    I don’t know the details, but there are federation issues as well as protocol issues involved in support for AOL, AIM, etc.

  6. Rick Schaut says:

    Eeek! I almost forgot one of the more important differences between Messenger and other IM clients: integration with Office. For some, this doesn’t matter. For people who use Office, however, this is rather nice.

    Not only can you save a conversation, you can associate the conversation with a particular project in Project Center. You can add Messenger contacts to the project as well. Rather nice to have one place to both find other people working on the same project and keep discussions you’ve had with those people about issues that have arisen during the course of the project.

  7. Dewayne Christensen says:

    But doesn’t Y! and AIM support only come via LCS? That’s not gonna do the majority of Mac Messenger users much good.

  8. Rosyna says:

    Yeah, saying it has AIM support is kind of a… lie. MSN Messenger doesn’t actually support any other protocol but MSN Messenger. It does support the Live Communication server. See The live communication server then forwards your message to the appropriate service.

    And the LCS isn’t a cheap product at $31 per user (see

    So for the far majority of mac users, the "Corporate" tab is a useless waste of space.

  9. Rosyna says:

    Ok, I do have to commend the developers of Mac Messenger for actually using the widgets that OS X provides and not rolling their own (like they do with other products). In fact, I couldn’t find any place that didn’t use the theme information. Except the font menu. That thing is whacked, yo. The baseline is too high.

  10. Chris G says:

    Hey guys, nice job. I think the UI is much improved from previous versions. We’re going to be deploying LCS at some point so it’s nice to know that I won’t be left out of the party. My long-standing suggestion: please figure out how to integrate with Mac OS X’s Address Book (that goes for Office too). I hate having islands of address data on my system.

  11. Disko says:

    At first glance, the UI is improved. At second glance: Why is everything so big? Where’s the video support? Where’s the audio support? Third party IM apps are beating Microsoft to the punch every time on adding new features for the Macintosh MSN users.

    A quote i read on a forum today: "I don’t need winks or nudges or animated emoticons, or any other bollocks. I want video and audio. Very simple."

  12. Aimon says:

    Is messenger for mac going to support video and webcam chatting anytime soon (specifically isight support)?

    I think thats number 1 on most wishlists of msn messenger users.

  13. Jeremy says:

    The world would be a much better place if everyone would just use <a href="">Jabber</a&gt;. Even iChat supports it now.

  14. Garry says:

    Every year or so Microsoft releases a new version of messenger, and every time they do, users are VERY vocal in saying what they would like to see in the next version.

    When each new version comes out, it’s like you guys don’t read or CARE about anything people have written.

    From the comments I’ve seen, people would like the mac version of messenger to have the same features that the PC version does. Most importantly Audio and Video.

    I don’t remember much about people asking for the ability to log on to a corporate network.

    There is open source messaging software out there that is filling the void that Microsoft refuses to fill.

    If the Mac Business Unit is TRULY filled with mac users, then they MUST know the FRUSTRATION Mac users have using MSN messenger, and not being able to have a program that is on parity with the PC version.

    We don’t CARE about animated emoticons, or logging on to a corporate network.

    We CARE about being able to use our Webcams, and TALKING to other users, mac or PC. We want to VIDEO CONFERENCE between platforms

    What’s so hard to understand about that? Please show us that the Mac BU really does care about mac users. Until then, I’ll watch the development with interest, but unfortunately, won’t be able to use the software.

  15. Marc says:

    Oh my eyes!! OUCH.

    It’s large and hideous. No video. No audio. No love.

    The UI is a slight improvement, but it still feels bulky and not very OS X-like. MS, please steal some ideas from Adium and iChat if you want to have a useable product.

  16. Thanks for the update the GUI is a great improvement over what we had in pervious versions also the addition or User avatar is really helpful, although it would have been nice to see integration in to address book.

    Its really not hard to see that the mac users what Webcam and audio please try and get this is as quick as possible the community is pissed off with microsoft and this release hasn’t seemed to help. Alot of people see this release as spitting in there face all this time and we get basically avatars and thats it. webcam webcam webcam O and the some audio


  17. Philip Pearce says:

    Well may be nice, I was going to download it on the basis that something was better than nothing then realised there are 3rd party chat tools that work with MSN and allow us to chat via webcam, come on MS, I know we don’t use windows but I am sick of being a second class citizen in a PC world…

  18. Corp says:

    I for one is extremely happy with Mac Messenger 5.0 … I can finally log into the work IM and have all the same capabilities that my (ugh) PC Window users have .. they do not even know that I am using a Mac .. Can’t wait for the Entourage update, then I will be the same as the Outlook users …

  19. Charles Bucket says:

    While the new features are certainly welcomed by nearly all users, I too am disappointed that audio (and voice) chat did not get included.

    The support for corporate environment use is quite laudable.

    Thanks for the great work!

  20. John Hood says:

    I’d like to join the choir of Mac evangelists and say. Thanks for updating the application; Word integration is killer. However, please add audio and video as these features are now a given.

  21. Wow, it’s amazing to see how much bitterness there is about a *free* update to a *free* product. I guess I’m biased because I’m a heavy LCS user, but I’m glad to see that, and frankly I don’t miss the video or audio capacity. If I want to use those, I’ll use iChat, which IMHO has a better implementation than the MSN Messenger client for Windows anyway.

    The bottom line: the Messenger team is small and has to focus their efforts tightly. This release, that focus was on adding LCS support– and given the rate at which LCS is taking off, it’s a good thing they did or there would be one more reason for corporate IT folks to say "sorry, you can’t have a Mac– doesn’t support LCS, y’know".

  22. alberto says:

    can I use web cam with msn messenger 5.0?

  23. alberto says:

    can I use web cam with msn messenger 5.0?

  24. I think MSN Messenger 5.0 is a fine IM product, more rounded than AdiumX at the interface, and possibly the best text messaging system on the MSN network for the Mac.

    But it’s curious that there’s been need of reverse engineering from an independent party to get a hands on approach to Mimic decoding for platforms other than Windows PCs. And with the first libmimic version, Mercury Messenger, a <em>Java application</em>, using a JNI interface, is quite able to display PC MSN Messenger web-cams.

    Can it be that the codec is not wholly owned by Microsoft? Because that’s the only factor that could explain such a long lack of video support for the Mac Microsoft Messenger. But I find it <em>so</em> weird…

  25. raul says:

    might have been cool if it actually supported all the protocols mentioned on a normal mac (without the corporate server stuff…

    also there’s no way to get rid of the SPAM ‘join my contact list’ invites that pop up when you first log on all at once. In my case it means hitting cancel 20 or 30 times each time I log on.

    the corporate tab is useless if you don’t have one of those networks

    there is no compact menu item

    there is no real integration with entourage/address book etc…

    no autodiscovery of entourage contacts with hotmail/msn accounts…


    anyway I’ll wait for the next revv. for now I’m sticking with ichat.

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