Who Are The 4.5 Million Windows Live Messenger Users?

Who Are The 4.5 Million Windows Live Messenger Users?
windowslivemessengerdownloadWindows Live Messenger (aka MSN Messenger, aka Microsoft’s ad-laden IM client) turns 10 this week, and Microsoft calculates that 4.5 million Australians use it each month. I have a simple question: why?

Amongst Lifehacker readers, Windows Live Messenger gets pretty short shrift. It didn’t make the cut in our best instant messenger Hive Five. Now that it’s no longer part of the default Windows installation, I suspect many of us don’t go anywhere near it (apart from anything else, it can wreak havoc with your start-up times).

With services like Google Wave defining a new future for communications, and other IM clients offering multiple logins and leaner runtimes, Live Messenger seems like something of an anachronism. But perhaps I’m being unfair. Are you a secret — or not so secret — lover of Microsoft’s IM approach? Explain why in the comments.


  • Are these “windows live messenger users” just using the windows live messenger service, or the actual program? Because I’m using adium and my xbox with my windows live account…does that count?

  • Pretty much everyone I know (in aus) is still using msn messenger or windows live messenger.
    I think MSN now forces you to update to windows live doesn’t it?

    People are like sheep when it comes to IM. They’ll do whatever they’re told so they can get their next fix.

    I’ll admit I was using WLM until recently. Simply because I didn’t know what else was available.

    Proud Digsby user now. 😀

  • I use it. I have to use various services for IM for work reasons, and WLM just is there and i’ve used it probably for about 6 or 7 years maybe. So a lot of this is probably habit.

    Trillian i’ve used at times (most recently the beta of the current version). Trillian wasn’t bad, but digsby, I just never liked the interface. Admittedly I haven’t used it since it was originally in beta either so it’s probably unfair to judge it based entirely on that. Meebo also isn’t up to par in my opinion. I haven’t used the other two programs mentioned.

  • I use the MSN/Windows Live network – mostly because the majority of my online contacts use it in preference to other networks – but I’ve not used a Microsoft client for it for well over 5 years.

    Using something like Miranda IM, Pidgin or even Trillian is far preferable to the Microsoft client.

    But a lot of people (esp the younger generation) think that MSN/WL is the only instant messaging network out there, and if it’s MSN, you should use a Microsoft client – because it’s easier.

    I can understand this – after all, configuring the free multi-network clients like Pidgin and Miranda have certainly become easier over the years, but they are still by no means as simple as just connecting using the “native” client.

  • Its easy to use has a good feature set. Its pretty simple really.. its no icq or yahoo messenger .. and its not skype all those make it good in my boocks.

    Most clients tend to take over your pc and make it slow msn seems to avoid this. Theres smaller free clients but they tend to be flakey.. my friends on linux are always having disc issues which is why i generally stick to the real one.

  • Are they calculating users of MSN or of live-messenger? I use msn because my friends also use msn. I don’t use live messenger, but I have a feeling that some of my friends do. (I use adium, myself.)

  • I use it, and have been for at least 4-5 years now.

    Only reason I use it over another IM network is that all my friends have it, it could be just my circle of friends, but I’m pretty sure its just the most popular IM network in Australia.

    I don’t think I have asked anyone in Australia for there IM address and got anything but their hotmail or live account.

    Also the client isn’t that horrible, and I don’t use any other instant messenger networks so I don’t need some all in one package.

    Thats my experiences anyway.

  • I use it, and have for years. Maybe it’s just because I’m used to it, but I prefer it over IM clients for other services (AIM, Yahoo!), and open source alternatives like Pidgin. It just makes more sense to me. All of my friends use MSN, so I’m obviously not going to switch services.

  • I use it because of the extraordinary number of my friends who also use it. I agree, it’s not the best method for communication, but while the majority of my social circle continues to use WLM, I shall as well for convenience’s sake.

    Not that I use the actual program. I much prefer Pidgin on Linux, or a web-based client such as meebo if I’m on Windows.

  • I use it all the time.

    I used to use AIM but I was having a lot of problems with it so i kinda gave up on it.

    I now also use QQ which is a chinese messenger program.

    Over all I find MSN to work the best for me. Most of my friends feel the same way.

    • I’m now finding facebook the best means of communication now. Using pigeon and a plugin that allows you to talk to anyone using facebook without actually having to use a web browser is the way to go. As well as being able to talk to people on Googletalk and other clients, even irc. It Sh#ts on MSN messenger. But I agree with sue’s comment. It came with the XP OS all those years ago, and people just continued using it.

  • All of my contacts use Windows Live Messenger for communication. It’s easy, simple and extremely accessible.

    Yahoo! Messenger isn’t the real deal in Australia. Think about it. When was the last time you’ve seen an ad or promotion in the media trying to sell that product?

  • People still use it because other programs can’t do things. In MSN Messenger, one can use webcam, send voice chats, send scribblings, play games. Pidgin can’t do any of that, and aMSN, which can use webcam and voice chat, is marred by an ugly interface. People don’t switch because other options just provide a list of can’ts.

  • I only use it because all my contacts use the Windows Live network, and if i wanna use voice/games/video i have to use the native client (when they removed out to lunch and a few other status in live 2009 i tried to give it up but voice and video compatibility is a must).

  • I use it simply because, like everyone else says, everyone else uses it. Everyone knows what is meant when they say “Do you have MSN?” so it’s just simple like that. I have noticed other communication mediums have started to take off like Facebook but MSN/Windows Live Messenger will still be dominant for years to come.

  • Nobody I know uses any other service for IM than MSN/Windows Live, so for me, there’s no point in using anything other than the MS client.

  • I still use msn because Digsby has issues with file transfers..a bug I wish they would sort out already!!! I often trade work files with colleagues and mates so this is essential to me..otherwise I would have switched already!

  • handwritting ability ftw for me!

    wat better way to tell your missus ur horny!
    draw a big ass erect penis with a simple “4 u 2nite”
    and she knows whats on the to do list!

    only thing is she gets disappointed when the actual thing isn’t as big as the drawing 🙁

    • “only thing is she gets disappointed when the actual thing isn’t as big as the drawing :(”

      That’s OK- there are plenty of e-mail advice giving counsel on the matter that you can adopt…!

  • What would I do with another messenger? Talk to myself? I’ve always wanted to use another messenger but no one uses the other network so it would be pointless for me to switch.

    I could use a multi-messenger (like Trillian) but that is a waste if I’m just going to use it for one network.

  • You can handwrite. You can make custom emoticons. You can customise how your messenger window appears to others. 90% of my contacts use it. MSN Plus.

    That enough reasons to defeat any other IM service you have?

  • I used to use Trillian but got sick of failed file transfers and missing features.

    I patch up WLM and its my ideal IM Client for now, I’ll try others when they get better compatibility/stability for WLM features (File Transfer, Nudge) for eg

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