Microsoft decides to cut the Chat

Microsoft is pulling the plug on its chatrooms across EMEA because of the growing spamming problem and concerns over children’s welfare. MSN Chat services in the Middle East will be closed next month.

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By  Peter Branton Published  September 24, 2003

Microsoft is pulling the plug on its chatrooms across EMEA because of the growing spamming problem and concerns over children’s welfare. MSN Chat services in the Middle East will be closed next month.

The company said the move was designed to provide a safer, more secure and positive online experience. “We’ve made these changes because online chat services are increasingly being misused,” said Judy Gibbons, corporate vice president of MSN International, Microsoft’s online arm. “These changes will improve protection for MSN users when it comes to spam and inappropriate communication.”

Microsoft is likely to lose millions of dollars from the move, its Chat rooms have over a million users a month in the UK alone. But there has been increasing concern about the misuse of chatrooms, especially in child abuse cases. While MSN will still offer instant messaging services, such services provide a greater amount of control over the user’s identity, with children or other users being able to choose whether to accept messages from somebody.

MSN Chat services will close in EMEA, Asia and Latin America on October 14, with similar services being only available to subscribers in other markets.

The move is the latest in a series of initiatives by the company to fight internet abuse. In April, Microsoft joined forces with Yahoo and AOL in a joint initiative against spammers.

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