Microsoft and Yahoo To Allow Messenger Users To IM One Another

InformationWeek is reporting Microsoft and Yahoo are working together to allow their respective users to IM each other:

Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. on Thursday said they have opened their instant-messaging networks to each other in a limited public test.

The two companies will begin by offering up the new open messaging networks to users with the latest version of Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. This test phase is meant to ensure the networks can handle the combined accounts of approximately 350 million worldwide, the companies said in a statement.

This partnership could be viable competition for AOL’s AIM, which dominates the IM market share.   CNet’s reports, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, AOL has about as many unique users as Yahoo and Microsoft (via MSN Messenger and Live Messenger) combined:

AIM dominates the instant-messaging arena in the United States, with 51.5 million users in September, compared with MSN’s 27.3 million and Yahoo’s 21.9 million, according to research firm Nielsen/NetRatings.

Experts speculate both companies could have partnered in the interest of self-preservation.  Google has entered the IM game with Google Talk.  While they still don’t have the numbers to be a threat, perhaps Microsoft and Yahoo aren’t willing to take any chances:

“In my opinion, the biggest external driver for this announcement must be MSN and Yahoo’s mutual need to defend themselves in the long term against Google,” John Delaney, an analyst at Ovum, wrote in a research alert. “Google is a relatively recent insurgent in these services, but it is clearly determined to grow its presence there aggressively,” Delaney said.

Microsoft and Yahoo’s foray into interoperability will initially be on a trial basis.  If the two are attempting to take on AOL, and get the added benefit of keeping users away from Google Talk, the results could be very interesting.

Explore posts in the same categories: CNET, Google, Google Talk, InformationWeek, Interoperability, John Delaney, Microsoft, MSN Messenger, Partnership, Tech, Technology, Technology News, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo, Yahoo Messenger

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