Microsoft is offering free downloads of its MSN Messenger Service, which allows users to "chat" with others online, for the Macintosh platform, and also plans to release software versions for Windows CE, WebTV and MSN Mobile Service.

The company announced the new software versions today, but did not say when MSN Messenger will be available for platforms other than Macintosh. The software for Macintosh use is available online at http://messenger.msn.com.

Microsoft released its Messenger instant-messaging software in July. The software allows users to have real-time online conversations across the Internet.

The MSN Mobile Service for wireless users started in June. The written statement today from Microsoft did not provide details about the integration of MSN Messenger with that service for cellular phone customers except to say it will be offered.