Using Video with MSN Messenger for OS X

There’s nothing worse than an OS X application which is a cut-down version of it’s PC counterpart. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s MSN Messenger is one of those applications. Its been years now that the PC version has supported video chatting and yet still the OS X version doesn’t.

Well, for all of you out there who want to use the MSN Messenger network to video chat with friends, family and business partners/clients, I have the solution.

Actually, I have two solutions but first, a little background.

MSN Messenger’s video capabilities:

Microsoft had video support for MSN Messenger (on the PC) all the way back in 2005. Three years (and counting) later, The OS X version still doesn’t support video. Unless of course you are using Office Communications Server 2007. Which runs on a separate server, running Windows, and it’s not a free or cheap solution for personal use.

Video isn’t the only thing that’s missing from the OS X version of MSN Messenger.

According to Wikipedia, compared to Windows Live Messenger (The PC Version) the following features are missing from MSN Messenger from the Mac.

- Handwritten messages
- Screen sharing
- Nudges
- Winks
- Offline Messaging.
- Photo backgrounds on current conversation windows
- Games that can be played with another contact
- Some built-in emoticons
- Rabbit emoticon
- Contact details such as Nicknames and Addresses
- Integration with Windows Live Spaces
- Windows Live Today
- Automatic reconnection if connection is lost
- Sharing folders
- Color schemes
- Video chat for Personal accounts

So, what’s an OS X user to do if you want video over MSN Messenger?

There are two solutions and each of them involve open-source software. The first solution is to use aMSN Messenger. The second solution is to use the Java based Mercury Messenger.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of Java on OS X so I lean towards using aMSN Messenger over Mercury. Other than that, Mercury is a great application. I’d suggest you download both and see which one you like best.

- aMSN Messenger
- Mercury Messenger

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