MSN Instant Messenger still dead. But why?

And do we really care?

Microsoft's Instant Messenger service is still giving people problems across the world - with those capable of actually getting on finding their contact lists are missing.

The service was down throughout the world on Wednesday. It started working on Thursday but many people were reporting difficulty in getting on and a complete loss of the contacts saved on it - which kinda makes the service useless. These problems are still going on.

The question is: what is behind the service's failure? Microsoft in its usual fashion has leapt into the bunker and only pops its head up occasionally to shout "hardware problem" before disappearing again. One mischievous IT pulbication is now suggesting that the problem comes down to MS' Passport system.

The Passport setup is Microsoft's great control plan where you log on just once and then spend the rest of your life in Microsoft-controlled Web sites (well sort of - massively inaccurate precis R US). The implications of Passport not working are obvious and fairly big. And if it is, Microsoft will do anything not to tell us.

Over the last year, The Register's experience has been that the delay between MS IM stopping and starting working has grown and grown. Now, if it doesn't work in the morning, we don't bother trying again until after lunch. So maybe this week is just the whole shambles coming to its logical and messy conclusion. ®

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