Microsoft has made available for download a new version of Windows Live Messenger. The release can be grabbed either as a standalone download, or through the company’s update mechanism, and is an integral part of a refresh to select items from the line-up of clients that are being offered to users packaged as Windows Live Essentials. Customers running older versions of the software giant’s instant messaging client will have the opportunity to download, install and run Windows Live Messenger 14.0.8117.416. As the Build string reveals, the refresh served for the IM client is not connected with the upcoming Windows Live Messenger Wave 4 release in any other manner than that it paves the way for the next generation of Messenger.
In the fourth quarter of 2009, Microsoft started serving forced upgrades to Windows Live Messenger 9.0 (2009) 14.0.8089.726, as a way of making sure that users implemented a range of security updates designed to patch vulnerabilities in the IM client. The latest release of Messenger is an update to the previous version, taking the Build number up from 14.0.8089.726 to 14.0.8117.416.
However, while the late 2009 refresh to Windows Live Messenger 2009 was mandatory for all users, Windows Live Messenger 14.0.8117.416 is an optional update. According to Arthur de Haan, director, Windows Live Test and System Engineering, Build 14.0.8117.416 is the last update that the company will deliver to Windows Live Messenger Wave 3, and the last version of the IM client to be served to users of Windows XP.
Arthur de Haan underlines that Windows Live Messenger 14.0.8117.416 brings to the table only minor changes, complemented by bug fixes, but nothing more beyond that. At the same time, version 14.0.8117.416 is designed to smooth the transition to the next iteration of Windows Live Essentials, and, in this sense, to Windows Live Messenger Wave 4.
Microsoft has been cooking Windows Live Essentials Wave 4 for a while now, and is currently testing a private Beta of the IM client. Various leaks from the Redmond company’s own employees have pointed to June 2010 for the availability of the public Beta of Windows Live Essentials Wave 4, although Microsoft has yet to confirm this detail officially. One particular leak revealed that Windows Live Messenger Wave 4 would be served to users on June 21st, 2010. I contacted Microsoft, but the company did neither confirm nor deny the deadline.
Windows Live Messenger 14.0.8117.416 is available for download here.