Thursday, July 13, 2006

Chat “interoperate” between Yahoo and Msn

I wonder if the decision made in these last days by Microsoft and Yahoo! to allow their respective chat clients to talk to one another has more to do with:
a) The success of Trillian
b) How much MSFT and Yahoo! fear the connection of AOL and Google Talk.
After all, Google owns 5% of AOL and could one day own it all, making their instant messaging tool the market leader.

Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. said they have begun a limited public test to allow users of the companies' respective instant messaging programs to trade messages with one another. The agreement to work together, first announced last October, marks a long-awaited breakthrough among major instant messaging services, which include AOL's pioneering AIM service, Microsoft and Yahoo, along with more recent upstarts including eBay Inc.'s Skype and Google's Google Talk.

Specifically, users of an upgraded version of MSN Messenger, recently rebranded "Windows Live," can trade messages with Yahoo Messenger, creating the world's largest instant messaging community, with 350 million accounts.

These instant messaging, or IM, systems allow users to type messages to others on their "buddy list" via computers and in some cases over mobile phones. Historically, each provider sought to create "walled gardens" that prevented users of one IM system from talking to users of rival systems.

AOL agreed in December to make its U.S.-market-leading AIM eventually work with, or to use the technical terminology, "interoperate," with Google Talk, but no date has been set to do so. AIM users can already chat with users of Apple Computer iChat system for Macintosh computers. Google and AIM work with various other independent IM projects too.

With the Yahoo and Windows deal, icons will allows users to distinguish which program their IM contacts are using. Yahoo and Microsoft plan to make interoperability between their services broadly available in the coming months.

Consumers have pretty much settled in and defined their preferred IM systems and buddy lists, It does make it easier for many consumers who will need to keep one less instant messaging system up and running now.

U.S. Internet traffic measurement firm Nielsen//NetRatings data shows AIM with 47.2 million users in June, compared with 28.0 million MSN/Windows Live users and 22.5 million Yahoo Messenger users. The unduplicated audience of Microsoft and Yahoo was 43.5 million U.S. users, the survey showed.

Yahoo and Microsoft took issue with these numbers, citing comScore Networks's global figures which showed that Microsoft IM had 204 million users and Yahoo IM had 78 million users worldwide. AIM had 34 million users, the comScore data showed.