Consumers have more than just the new and improved features of MSNŽ Messenger 6.0 -- everything from live video pictures and online games to customized backgrounds and oodles of new and animated emoticons -- to convince them to upgrade to the newest version of the world's most-used free instant messaging (IM) service.* On four upcoming Fridays, MSN will give away $1,000 an hour for 10 hours to U.S. consumers who enter the Friday Fast Cash sweepstakes** and are logged on to MSN Messenger 6.0.

On July 17, MSN begins broadly distributing and promoting a final version of Messenger 6.0 at The Fast Cash Friday giveaway, which will occur each Friday between July 25 and Aug. 15, is the first of several summer promotions that will build on the consumer excitement and glowing media reviews since the June 18 public-preview release of Messenger 6.0.

"Fast Cash Friday is our way of celebrating the completion and final release of MSN Messenger 6.0, our most feature-rich, personalized and coolest IM service ever," said Lisa Gurry, MSN group product manager at Microsoft Corp. "This promotion and others we have planned for later this summer are our way of encouraging people to see for themselves how much fun they can have while IM-ing."

Fast Cash Friday not only provides consumers with an additional incentive to download the new version and get familiar with its new features, it also encourages consumers to regularly use the service to increase their chances of winning $1,000. On the four Fridays, MSN will award $1,000 each hour between noon EDT/9 a.m. PDT and 10 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. PDT to randomly chosen U.S. entrants who are logged on to Messenger 6.0.

Aarrow: source: MS PressPass