Live Messenger Web Bar vs. Facebook Chat: Intentionally similar?

When I saw the first screenshots of the Web Bar, part of the new Windows Live Messenger Web Toolkit, I was amazed. Not amazed by the features it has, not by its look, but amazed by its similarity with the Facebook Chat bar. Look yourself:

Let us have a look at the similarities in detail.

Facebook Chat bar and Messenger Web Bar – some similarities

  1. We see the main icon, giving access to all your personal details, in the right bottom corner.
  2. Inside the window opening when you click that icon, you can change your status message.
  3. You can also decide whether to come online or to appear offline, or even set a more detailed status like Busy or Away.
  4. On the left of the main icon, you have the contact counter. Clicking it will show your contact list.
  5. Again, on the left, there is space for conversation buttons. When a new message arrives, a new tab opens or an existing starts to flash.
  6. Each conversation tab has the contact’s display picture as well as their name and status next to it.

More similarities include:

  • The Chat bar is positioned at the bottom of the browser window and stays at its position, regardless where you scroll.
  • The Chat status stays the same and you stay signed in, even when you click a link to a different page within the same website.

Is it just pure coincidence?

Are the similarities just a pure coincidence, or was it wise planning and inspiration?
Did the Windows Live team just steal the whole chat bar idea from Facebook?


  1. Well, you went into great detail, but any chat bar at the bottom of a website now seems similar to Facebook chat. Whether it’s WLM or any other one. Also, if my wildest guess is correct, we might see Facebook/WLM chat interoperability down the road since Microsoft has shares in Facebook. This could be a reason for the similarity.

  2. Also, FB Connect and WL Controls are implemented in a very similar XHTML format. Very similar, in fact, it almost looks as if the controls share a common language library. Interesting…

  3. should put it on Windows Live Hotmail could be better then the popout.aspx they had before (although web im is more a peek and show feature). it could also be windows live wide (skydrive, spaces, home in particular)

    in regards to the facebook web activity it was reported by techcrunch claimed a source of an april launch, and possiblity @ (31st March – 3rd April) Liveside also reported using the techcrunch article

  4. Microsoft has some significant shares in Facebook Inc…so this could a reason for the similarity. Also Windows Live has taken some serious steps to increase interoperability with Facebook. viz Now you could manage and watch your facebook profile right from your Windows Live.

  5. i got the windows live bar for my site but when i implement it to the footer it doesnt show the sign in bar only the windowslivemessenger one could you help me please, im using vbulletin on my site thanks for anything

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