Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (BU) has announced the release of Messenger for Mac 7, its instant messaging client. Version 7 is a free download, available from the Mac BU's website.
Messenger 7 lets users communicate with buddies on the Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger services, but not those with .Mac accounts or those on the popular AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) service. Messenger 7 adds a number of new features for personal users, including searching through contacts by name or email address, the ability to assign nicknames to your friends, and support for OS X's Bonjour.
However, most of Messenger 7's improvements come in the realm of corporate communications. For those users in an organization running Exchange server and Microsoft Communicator, the biggest addition to the program is support for video and audio chats, including multi-party conference calls. Such functionality is not yet available for personal users, but the Mac BU is continuing to work with the Windows Live team to implement it.
In addition, corporate users can now find contacts via their organization's Global Address List (GAL) and display a personal status message, including a "Do Not Disturb" status. The program also features improved online status integration with Office Communicator 2007.
Messenger 7 requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later and a Windows Live ID for personal accounts, or a Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 account for corporate accounts.