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MSN(1) (MicroSoft Network) A general-purpose Web portal from Microsoft that includes news, sports and entertainment as well as the Bing search engine (www.msn.com). Integration with Windows Live, Facebook and Twitter is also provided. Launched in concert with Windows 95 as a dial-up service similar to AOL, MSN was the brand name for Microsoft's online search, Hotmail email and Messenger instant messaging services.
In 1996, MSN 2.0 offered a version of Internet Explorer for Web access titled MSN Program Viewer. In addition to dial-up, MSN also partnered with Verizon and other carriers to offer DSL connections. Later, the MSN brand was retained for Internet access and the general portal, while Web-based services such as email and messaging migrated to the Windows Live platform (see Windows Live).
(2) Short for MSN Messenger, the instant messaging service from MSN. MSN Messenger became Windows Messenger in Windows XP and then Windows Live Messenger. See MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger.