Reports: Windows Live Messenger getting WPF-based makeover

Revamped user interface based on Windows Presentation Foundation

The upcoming Windows Live Messenger 9.0 will sport a revamped user interface based on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) graphical technology, according to published reports that include purported screenshots of the instant messaging software.

The latest beta of WLM 9.0, an upgrade of the most widely used IM client worldwide, lets users create multiuser chat rooms and share photos with one another, the blog reported.

WLM 9.0 will also feature tighter integration with Microsoft's Zune media player, said the Ars Technica news site, which reposted the screenshots unearthed by The Messenger Stuff blog also posted an entry about WPF features and other new capabilities that it said are being added to WLM 9.0.

Microsoft has yet to announce a release date for WLM 9.0, which has been in beta since last fall.

The initial betas of the IM upgrade don't take much advantage of WPF, which is Windows Vista's underlying graphical subsystem and can also be downloaded and added onto Windows XP. The various reports indicate, though, that upcoming beta builds of WLM 9.0 will rely more heavily on WPF, which is designed to make complex multimedia development easier and to speed up image rendering.

A spokeswoman for Microsoft said via e-mail that the software vendor has "nothing to announce about future enhancements" to WLM at this point. But, she added, "there are a lot of exciting things happening in this space."

Formerly known as MSN Messenger, WLM had the most users among IM clients as of last December, according to data released earlier this year by comScore Inc. The market research firm's comScore Media Metrix unit said that about 228 million of the 385 million IM users in December were running WLM.

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Eric Lai

Computerworld (US)
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