Trillian Patches Through To MSN, Yahoo... For Now

from the ah,-the-IM-battles dept

If you remember the IM interoperability wars of a couple of years ago when AOL would block Trillian one day, only to have Trillian offer a patch the next... guess what? Those wars are back. We've already said that Microsoft and Yahoo were getting ready to block Trillian. Well, now Trillian has fired back and said they'll patch through whatever blocks are put in place - though, it may mean your IM client will work one day and not the next. Once again, these companies are simply killing the network effects of IM. Whatever happened to giving customers what they want? Email never would have taken off like it did if it wasn't based on a standard that (eventually) everyone agreed on. Why is it that these companies don't seem to realize the same thing is true of instant messaging?
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  • identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, 18 Sep 2003 @ 11:50am

    Advertising?

    The big difference I see between using a 'branded' IM and using Trillian is that with Trillian, you're not subjected to the onslaught of 'banner' ads built into the IM client.

    No advertisements = no income, no income = no profit, no profit = why bother to continue to run this service?

    Keeping an IM system locked away makes about as much sense as limiting yourself to an e-mail client that only allows you to send/receive e-mails to other people on your ISP.

    Come to think of it, if Microsoft locked down Hotmail so that only Hotmail users could receive messages from other Hotmail users and couldn't broadcast e-mails outside of Hotmail.com domains, and AOL did the same thing, then where would all my SPAM come from?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2003 @ 1:09pm

      Re: Advertising?

      " if Microsoft locked down Hotmail so that only Hotmail users could receive messages from other Hotmail users and couldn't broadcast e-mails outside of Hotmail.com domains, and AOL did the same thing, then where would all my SPAM come from? "

      Nigeria of course !

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2003 @ 2:21pm

    No Subject Given

    The reality is: running an IM service costs tens of millions of dollars a year (or more).

    While I am sure that the companies involved understand that opening up the networks is the right thing to do from a user experience point of view, there NEEDS to be a business model in place to support it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 18 Sep 2003 @ 2:59pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      Just like email?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Oliver Wendell Jones, 18 Sep 2003 @ 3:28pm

        Re: No Subject Given

        Mike - I think you were responding to the previous poster about how there needs to be a profitable business reason to offer an IM service, and you compared it to e-mail.

        That's not a fair comparison as e-mail is pretty much a standard with almost all non-commercial internet services (i.e., AOL, MSN vs. an AT&T provided T1 line). People sign up for internet service and they expect to get e-mail. It's like buying a car, you expect it to have an engine and 4 wheels.

        IM services are 'optional' although most people use them and are usually only included in ISP packages like AOL or MSN, not Comcast, InsightBB, etc.

        The companies that do provide IM services that are open to people outside of their subscribers produce clients that have built in advertisements under the assumption that everyone who uses the service is either a) a paid subscriber or b) someone using ad revenue producing software.

        If you can name an absolutely free e-mail service that doesn't rely on ads to generate revenue, I'd like to hear about it. Hotmail = ads. NetZero = Ads. Etc.

        When people start using a 3rd party tool like Trillian (which I use and love, BTW) then the IM service providers are essentially giving away a free service and since the dot com bomb, there's just no such thing as a free lunch any more.

        Microsoft is claiming that their upgrade is due to security concerns, but it also locks out users of Microsoft Sidewinder GameVoice, a VOIP program that they've decided to stop supporting that relied on MSN Messenger v4.6, *and* it gives them an opportunity to try to make some money off of people and replace their lost ad revenue.

        It's all about the money, 'cause Lord knows, Bill needs more money.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Nate, 18 Sep 2003 @ 3:47pm

          Re: No Subject Given

          Actually, I couldn't tell you the last time I actually saw an ad on Hotmail that wasn't a spam. I don't use the web interface to access my hotmail account. I use either Outlook or Foxmail, both of which link directly into hotmail and allow you to use it pretty much like a Pop account.

          Nate

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike (profile), 18 Sep 2003 @ 4:14pm

          Re: No Subject Given

          But, if they were to open their own system up and let *it* connect with other IM apps, then people would have less of a reason to use Trillian - and more of a reason to use their app, and get the ads. Better yet, more people would have more incentive to sign up for a premium version...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Oliver Wendell Jones, 19 Sep 2003 @ 9:23am

            Re: No Subject Given

            Mike,

            That's a good point about using MSN (for example) to communicate with users outside of MSN. I wasn't thinking outside of the box and was focused solely on the issue from the viewpoint of the 3rd parties.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Vince, 19 Sep 2003 @ 12:40pm

          2 examples of Ad free e-mail

          http://www.myrealbox.com/
          and
          http://www.mailinator.com/mailinator/Welcome.do
          are 2 AD FREE e-mail services that I know of off the top of my head.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2003 @ 12:43am

      Just Like Email, and yes, it is

      Oliver, Anonymous, I totally agree with Mike here.

      Consider: The jabber IM server is all but meant to be run by the individual netadmin that currently runs the corp/ISP mail server. The accounts are all user@server, like email, and the jabber server can be run concurrently with the mail server on the same machine.

      Uh oh, someone went and spread the HUGE and apparently multi-million dollar cost among the millions of mail servers. Does that mean it's only a coupla bucks per mail server worth of extra resources when it's all divvied up?

      Yeah, Oliver, you suggested that an IM server isn't a 'core' brochureware bullet item like email, but I suspect that IM (via jabber or similar) *will* move to a service whose cost is shared amongst the networks themselves, just like email/usenet (and, in a way, http). ISP users will start to Get It, like my mom's quake skills, and begin to demand a jabberd like they the vocal ones demand a usenet server. Even if it's just a minority, ISPs *will* install and manage such a server if it means they lose more money in clients than it takes to run it. Even if they do so poorly, I've worked at (or owned) too many ISPs not to know exactly how that works in any real competitive market. Once has to have the brochure bullets in place.

      ------------

      On a related note, I've successfully converted an entire arm of my own peer group to ICQ from MSN, and onto Trillian, in only a few short weeks, just by getting them to run a multi-protocol client and waiting for MSN to become stupid about it all. I intend to ensure they all have a jabber-capable IM client (miranda? win-gaim?) in the next year, so they can move over as well when AOL gets stupid about ICQ in a year.

      I say that only to suggest that it IS possible to use the network effect to migrate entire groups of users. The tipping point of Jabber will be reached much sooner than it will be for Linux vs Windows.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Patje, 19 Sep 2003 @ 8:18am

        Re: Just Like Email, and yes, it is

        This is what I was thinking. Also, it seems like people are forgetting about IRC. There is a server network infrastructure (lots of them, actually, but say we use a dedicated IM network), there is a notifying service, there is possible authentication (authserv), and it's free. IRC clients could be rewritten to accommodate the IM-approach more, but in theory everything is there already.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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