The Three IM Musketeers
I have been an MSN Messenger user since I started using IM (Instant Messaging). Being somewhat of a luddite (I have been accused of that several times), it took me a while to warm up to IM and since I was a Hotmail user, MSN Messenger was a no-brainer path. But in those early days ICQ was all the rage, so there weren’t too many people to IM to with MSN. I installed it on my home pc and coaxed my wife to chat with me at work. She did for a while and then being a devout Yahoo Mail user, converted to Yahoo Messenger and that was the end of our online chatting.
Fast forward to now and all of the people I IM to are MSN converts. Except for my wife, who is still on Yahoo. So I was elated to read about the new initiative the three IM companies (Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL) are taking to make their IM products compatible with each other. My excitement was short-lived however. For now this integration is only planned for their business users.
When it comes to consumers, these companies are still tight-lipped about integration, only making references to the technical hurdles! Poor babies. Companies that create complex and innovative software products are suddenly faced with an insurmountable software challenge. And it just so happens that only the business portions of their IM products are easy to integrate.
This is, of course, all about money. Somehow they fear the loss of their user bases if they integrated their products and until they get over that hurdle, we’re gonna be stuck with the fragmented consumer IM market.