Why Microsoft shut off IM for countries embargoed by US?

Microsoft Shutting Off Windows Live Messenger IM For Users In Countries Embargoed By The US (Error 810003c1). The moves likely hurt not only local residents of those countries, but also overseas friends and relatives who rely on the IM and video chat provided by these services to stay in touch. “A lawyer who advises companies […]

Microsoft Shutting Off Windows Live Messenger IM For Users In Countries Embargoed By The US (Error 810003c1). The moves likely hurt not only local residents of those countries, but also overseas friends and relatives who rely on the IM and video chat provided by these services to stay in touch.

“A lawyer who advises companies on OFAC compliance said that while offering communications services such as IM to sanctioned countries such as Iran or Cuba is not restricted by OFAC, offering software is. That's because software, even free apps downloadable from the Internet, are considered exportable goods, and thus can be banned by OFAC, according to the lawyer, who requested anonymity. By that reasoning, Web-based e-mail such as gMail or Windows Live HotMail can't be banned by OFAC, he said. Nor would pure cloud-based services such as Salesforce.com or those hosted by Amazon.com's EC2 be affected by the ban. However, Windows Live Messenger, which relies on a user download, can be, he said,” ComputerWorld.