Microsoft Corporation announced Wednesday that its MSN Messenger instant messaging service has gained over 700,000 subscribers in only six days of availability. MSN Messenger is a free Internet messaging tool that allows users to communicate in real time with friends, family and coworkers from any Internet-enabled PC.

"Consumers are installing MSN Messenger Service at an unprecedented rate," says Microsoft vice president Brad Chase. "The early popularity of this service is a clear indication that we've struck a chord with consumers by offering functionality that they are demanding."

They've struck something: Online giant America Online (AOL) threatened to sue Microsoft for tapping into its subscriber base by offering MSN Messenger as compatible with its own AOL Instant Messenger. After several failed attempts at blocking MSN Messenger from accessing its subscribers, and a ton of bad publicity for its hypocritical stance, AOL finally relented.

MSN Messenger is not yet as feature-rich as AOL's offering, but it does offer nice integration with Microsoft's HotMail and Outlook Express programs. For more information about MSN Messenger and the free download, please visit the MSN Messenger Web site