Microsoft has released the Messenger for Mac 8 beta, which will connect Mac users via audio or video call to a contact on the Windows Live network.
In a blog post announcing the new beta, Microsoft said the software is a beta release as it is “putting the finishing touches on the full application”. The software’s official release will happen alongside Office for Mac 2011, slated for release later this year.
Microsoft said the long wait was not due to a lack of effort, but because implementing audio and video calls was challenging and the company had to postpone the release because of significant protocol changes. These changes were necessary in order to make sure the software would work with the latest version of the Windows Live desktop client.
Messenger for Mac 8 is the only Mac-desktop client that can do audio and video calls with Windows Live Messenger 2009.
The release supports cross-platform chats, but in order to use the beta users must sign in with a Windows Live ID.