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SK’s chat program knocks off MSN

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Mar 30,2005
For the first time, a Korean instant messaging program has taken the top spot from Microsoft’s MSN Messenger. Internet market research firm Korean Click said yesterday that the number of people using Nate On, which was developed by SK Communications, has surpassed that of MSN Messenger, which first entered Korea in 2000. Korean Click said 7,195,878 people were using Nate On and 7,040,011 were using MSN Messenger as of this week. Buddy Buddy was third with 2 million users, followed by Say Club and Daum Messenger, with about 1 million users each. “This is significant because a local firm has taken down MSN Messenger, which has an unfair advantage of being automatically included in the Windows operating system monopoly,” an SK Communications official said. Daum Communications filed a lawsuit against Microsoft last year, saying that Microsoft’s bundling of MSN Messenger in the Windows XP system violated fair trade laws. A decision is pending. MSN Korea, however, said that MSN Messenger was a separate service that had to be downloaded from the Internet, unlike the Windows messenger. SK Communications said the Windows messenger and MSN Messenger are actually the same since the two share the same user database. SK Communications also operates Cyworld, a widely used community site. Nate On was introduced in 2003 and was later linked to Cyworld, which helped boost its popularity. Nate On will be facing more competition, however. NHN announced yesterday that it will begin instant messaging services soon. NHN operates Naver, Korea’s largest Internet portal site, and Hangame, a major online game portal. The company said that its messenger program will include a search engine and will be linked to its blog service. Users may save conversations to their blog, or be alerted when new postings appear on specially bookmarked blogs. by Wohn Dong-hee


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