For the second year in a row, Microsoft Windows Messenger took the crown in the Best Instant Messaging category. Windows Messenger lets users instantly communicate with friends and family all around the world from any Windows XP computer, using text chat and even voice and video. The product gives users control over whom they talk to and when by letting them block certain users, view the typing status of buddies, and control who adds them to a contact list. Windows Messenger also lets users use their computer like a telephone, set up videoconferencing, control who knows whether they're online, and use Windows Alerts. Windows & .NET Magazine readers liked the product's ease of use and wide availability.

Microsoft Windows Messenger
Microsoft
Redmond, Washington
425-882-8080
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/messenger
Price:
Free