Cuba criticizes Microsoft blocking Messenger

Cuba criticized Microsoft on Friday for blocking its Messenger instant messaging service on the island and in other countries under US sanctions, calling it yet another example of Washington's "harsh" treatment of Havana. The technology giant recently announced it was disabling the program's availability in Cuba, Syria, Iran, Sudan and North Korea to come into compliance with a US ban on transfer of licensed software to embargoed countries. The move "is just the latest turn of the screw in the United States' technological blockade against the island," a technology writer said in an article published by state youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde. He called the ban on transfer of technology "a truly harsh violation" of Cuba's rights. Messenger has been used on the island for a decade without Microsoft interference, and it was not clear why the Redmond, Wash.-based company is acting now.