Microsoft has announced Messenger for Mac 5.0 from its Mac Business Unit (Mac BU).

Available for free download, Messenger for Mac 5.0 introduces tabbed viewing. Users may simultaneously access corporate and personal Messenger accounts and set a unique user status on each. The personal tab allows users to instant message (IM) with friends and family.

The software also supports Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005, so enterprise users can communicate securely. Corporate messaging sessions run through Live Communications Server 2005 are contained within the corporate firewall and server-side session logging is enabled.

For secure business chat

Corporate users can also use the Live Communications Server 2005 Public IM Connectivity license, which lets Mac users communicate with colleagues outside the corporate network.

Live Communications Server 2005 also introduces integration with the Global Address List, allowing corporate Mac users to locate contact information and availability status more efficiently than before.

Messenger for Mac 5.0 has an updated Mac OS X-like design. It supports user-chosen pictures and supports animated and original emoticons.

"The latest version of Messenger for Mac is ideal for both office and personal communication," said Scott Erickson, director of product management and marketing for the Mac BU at Microsoft.

"Our customers told us they needed a business tool to enable corporate messaging, so these requests were a primary driver in the development of the new version. Messenger for Mac 5.0 allows for greater collaboration in corporate environments and yet still presents a fun way to chat with friends and family."

Microsoft Messenger for Mac 5.0 will be made available today in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Swedish.