FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Microsoft, Yahoo Become Chat Buddies

Microsoft and Yahoo have launched a pilot program to test the interoperability of their respective instant messaging systems, Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger) and Yahoo Instant Messenger. Once live, the combined services will create the world's largest IM network (350 million accounts), and will include voice chat.

So where does this leave AOL's Instant Messenger, currently the most popular IM platform in the US? AOL is teaming up with Google to make AIM compatible with Google Talk, though details remain unclear.

Aside from recognizing an economy of scale, these partnerships help alleviate one of the biggest problems with instant messaging: vendors' proprietary technology that does not allow for interoperability, and forced users to maintain several applications to manage various buddy lists. Also, the incorporation of voice could be potentially disruptive to long distance phone service, particularly for international calling.

Source: CNN/Money