TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: MSN and Yahoo Connect Their Instant Messenger Service

MSN and Yahoo Connect Their Instant Messenger Service

Reuters News Wire ((no email))
Tue, 11 Oct 2005 22:21:08 -0500

Microsoft, Yahoo to link instant message services

Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. are preparing to link together their
free instant messaging services as they take on entrenched messaging
leader AOL and market newcomer Google Inc., a source close to the
companies said on Tuesday.

The deal, the first major alliance between two of the Web's main
providers of instant messaging, will allow users of Microsoft's MSN
Messenger service and Yahoo Messenger to swap instantaneous text
messages with each other.

A Microsoft spokeswoman and a Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment on
the alliance, first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The tie-up, expected to be announced on Wednesday, will also give
users of both services the ability to communicate via voice as well, a
feature that up to now has been restricted to users within each
service, the source said.

AOL, a unit of Time Warner Inc. is currently the market leader in the
instant messaging space with a share of 56 percent, according to
research firm Radicati Group.

But with Microsoft and Yahoo making up the rest of the market, their
combined service could be a formidable threat to AOL. Google launched
its own instant messenger, which includes Internet voice calling, in

At stake is the ability to attract users and offer them other services
and information from the Web portals, which in turn helps Microsoft's
MSN Internet unit, Yahoo and AOL earn advertising dollars.

The technology behind the deal already exists.

Microsoft has already opened up its corporate online messaging
service, which requires a license and offers more features, to AOL and
Yahoo. Unlike free messaging services, corporate messaging lets
businesses install instant messaging within corporate networks, where
conversations can be monitored and saved, much like enterprise e-mail.

Being able to send instant messages to different services using a single
program isn't new, however.

Users of unified messaging services such as Trillian can use a single
software program to send and receive instant messages from AOL, MSN,
Yahoo and other providers, as long as they have an account with each

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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