Microsoft And Yahoo To Let IM Users Talk To Each Other?

from the hello-network-effects dept

In 1999, as Yahoo and Microsoft were just getting into the instant messaging business that was already dominated by AOL, we complained that AOL was trying to block the new entrants out by not letting the various services interoperate. In the early versions, both Yahoo and Microsoft’s IM clients could communicate with AIM. This separation seemed silly — as if only AOL users could email each other. It was exact opposite of why the internet worked. While some meta-apps like Trillian came on the scene, it wasn’t the same as having true interop. After the initial snub from AOL, Microsoft (of all companies!) made an effort to offer interop with Yahoo in 2001. However, as the “big 3” IM operators all started making a land grab, they gave up all talk of interoperability and focused on annoying just about everyone who now needed accounts with all three just to talk to certain people. This was made worse, not better, with the release of Google Talk. While, to its credit, it was a bit more open, that’s not all that useful when everyone else is still locked into proprietary IM networks. However, it appears that someone has finally explained to the IM teams at Microsoft and Yahoo the meaning of “network effects” as the two companies have apparently reached an agreement to let users on one service easily communicate with those on the other — vaulting their overall network quickly past AOL’s. It only took them six years, and given the history of this area, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the end result be less than perfect… but it’s a start.

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Comments on “Microsoft And Yahoo To Let IM Users Talk To Each Other?”

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Bob says:


..and Google’s fired the first shot again, muscling its way into the realm of chat. A domain once kept in fragile balance by the powers that be.

Google has now upset all that. I believe we’ll start to see more deals of this sort made, in efforts to entrench and lock-in users before they migrate to Google Talk, with the logic being “ours is the largest network, so why switch?”

But the writing is on the wall. Google Talk will dominate eventually, as they are coming to dominate everything else.

Everyone likes Google. That’s why.

Bob K. says:

Re: Re: Google

Aye, This is interesting.
I like to see the companies squirm. This is all happening very shortly after Google Talk came out (Im an avid user and love it).

Google will win, their programs are crisp, clean, easy to use, efficient and virtually ad free.

I wonder why AIM is not joining in the Merge. Arent they the one with the most users at the moment?

Riley says:

Re: Google

Finally some competition in the IM market. Its at least good to see the leaders doing *something* useful in this space besides adding more advertisments to their IM clients. While Google Talk is pretty sucky at the moment, the promise of a properly implemented open protocol IM network has got to have made some waves. I would bet that this partnership is at least partially a response to head Google off before they can establish some momentum in the area.
I also garuntee that MS has discussed this with AIM as well and just couldn’t come to an agreement. Speculating further, I imagine that AOL had some conditions for opening up their network because they would argue they were giving up the most being the largest. Now they have lost that leverage and it will be interesting to see if something is worked out with them. Are we finally seeing the convergance of these networks? If a M/Y/A agreement locked up 95% of the IM market, that pretty much locks the companies into a protocol and prevents them from making changes at a whim to block out other 3rd part apps. That protocol will quickly be reverse engineered and other IM clients will start using it. Plus, you would think that the government would also step up and ensure that the same agreement was offered to anyone else that wanted to connect to the networks (ie. Google).

Historical Bob says:

Re: Re: Re: Google

Oh, and there’s just been an announcement that Google has hired Sean Egan, the lead developer of the Gaim client to work on V&V IMPP. See the Gaim news of 12 October 2005.

There was no indication about the protocol the MSN and Yahoo interop would be using, but unless they adopt the IETF standard XMPP Google will kick their assets.

Bob K. says:

No Subject Given

Aye, This is interesting.
I like to see the companies squirm. This is all happening very shortly after Google Talk came out (Im an avid user and love it).

Google will win, their programs are crisp, clean, easy to use, efficient and virtually ad free.

I wonder why AIM is not joining in the Merge. Arent they the one with the most users at the moment?

Dov says:

IM chaos

I am not as optomist as most people about aggreements.
I have 2 MS IM software on my computer, not knowing how are they related to each other, and what I miss, if I uninstall one of them.
Now I have 2 Google (or at least Google promoted) IM one stating is good for voice, the other is for picts (this is what I really use).
What I see, that even inside of those companies there is no satisfactory communication to make life easier.
I wish I was wrong.

Ryan says:

Completely agree...

Google talk is garbage, there is nothing interesting about it. The key in this game is conversion and I do not think that is going to happen. If you have an MSN IM, yahoo, or aol account there is no compelling reason to switch. Google Talk needed to come out with a killer app in the space but they failed to do so. I personally believe this spells bad news for Google if AIM/MSN/YAHOO interoperate and shut Google talk out. If the big 3 perceive Google as a large enough threat they will.

Neosin says:

Google needs

Google needs to keep it simple and powerful. Gear more towards people who dont *winks* and junk in an IM app.

I need 2 basic things

1. Quick way to chat
2. Quick way to send files

who is going to do it? right now i cant drag and drop files into goog talk. Doesnt work. They will need to fix that asap if they want me to keep it installed.

People dont love google. They will give google a chance if google doesnt step things up people are gonna start dropping talk fast…

Currently MSN seems to be king. Maybe not in people, etc… But in how easy it is to use, simple looking, file sending, business use.

Come on google do something with talk!

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