Microsoft Shuts Off Windows Live Messenger IM For Users In Countries Embargoed By The US (Error 810003c1) [Updated]

By Sunshine | In Featured, News | Posted May 21, 2009 10 comments

WLMessenger Users in Cuba, Syria, Iran, Sudan and North Korea can no longer IM with Windows Live Messenger.

When trying to log in they will be left with error message:
810003c1: We were unable to sign you in to the .NET Messenger Service.

Reason: Microsoft has shut off the Windows Live Messenger IM for users in the countries embargoed by the US, hence Microsoft no longer offers Windows Live Service in those countries.

Source: Messenger Support Space – Error 810003c1

Edit: Looks like the Messenger Support space prefers to delete posts and write new instead of editing… The source article can now be found here.

The country names have been taken out and the reasoning has been reworded to:
“Microsoft has discontinued providing Instant Messenger services in certain countries subject to United States sanctions. Details of these sanctions are available from the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control.”

To be honest we don’t understand why an embargo would lead to this (and why now?), it’s not like offering a free service (Worldwide) is doing business…or is it? And why not list the countries anymore…

Posted May 21st, 2009 at 11:29 am
  • mrmckeb

    Wow, that is REALLY unexpected.

  • andrew19ao

    That is so stupid, almost as stupid as pointlessly making videos avaliable in certain countries on some websites. Luckily I am in Canada so it doesn’t affect me otherwise I would be EXTREMELY MAD and never buy any Microsoft product.

  • Bleak Morn

    @andrew19ao If the US embargoed Canada you’d have bigger problems than IM access.

  • Bleak Morn

    I spoke with someone in Syria. They said that they just use a 3rd party client and don’t identify themselves as Syrian in their settings. No problem connecting. Petty government censorship FAIL.

  • brentgv

    I can’t believe Cuba is still in that list.

  • CalumJR

    @andrew19ao –

    You have to understand the reasoning behind things before making such assumptions. If you don’t understand why a company does something – it’s really best you research the reasons as there normally is a perfectly valid reason.

    I don’t know why the Messenger team would cut off access to these countries, but I’m not interested in why, which is why I haven’t tried to analyse possible reasons, However, an answer to your example of the fact they provide videos to certain countries and not others could be for a number of reasons – laws in the country, economic reasons etc. The reason why Hulu is currently only available to the United States is because of deals with certain TV companies. The reason why YouTube has taken off music videos for many countries is due to deals with record labels falling through etc.

    So, as I say, there is normally a valid reason for everything even if it doesn’t seem to make sense :)

  • SyberStorm

    Russian KGB was fiercely fighting against proliferation of internet into Russia during perestroka. I don’t know which part of the body they use when they make decisions but this one is so stupid that it is imposable to explain.

  • Edgar J.

    Microsoft is controlled by the USa Goverment.

  • atomic1fire

    Its because its an American company choosing to follow American trade embargo’s
    Google was following china law when they entered the china market,
    Microsoft is likely doing the same here, regardless if trade laws actually effect them.
    Cuba has been embargoed for a long time, mostly due to human rights (I assume) a major reason for the immigration of Cubans in Florida.

  • andrew19ao

    I completely understand why they may be blocking off these countries. But I still will never agree with blocking countries from using a product that people may have been using for years. I hope they at least had warning before they lost all of their contacts.