Robots are invading Microsoft. Or at least that's the goal of the contest launched yesterday over at the new Windows Live site robotinvaders.com. $40,000 worth of prizes are up for grabs to the developers who create the best "conversational robots", or bots, for MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger. Prizes include a $10,000 Alienware MJ-12 workstation, a $5,000 Bose entertainment system, laptops, and others.
Entries will be judged on 4 criteria, each evenly weighted: user interaction, usefulness, creativity, and use of multiple windows Live services. Applicable services include the Activity API, Alerts, Virtual Earth, MSN Spaces, Gadgets and Windows Live.
BTW, you are allowed to insert ads into your bots but the option is available only in U.S. through partner Kanoodle.
The /contests page here has been updated with details. Promises to be an interesting competition.