Microsoft and Yahoo team up to make IM clients compatible

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Internet rivals Microsoft and Yahoo have agreed to make their instant messaging programs, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger, work together. Instant messaging, or IM as it commonly known, is becoming an increasingly popular communication service, mainly because of the speed of communication which almost equals regular conversation.

This move, announced on Wednesday, would mainly focus on earlier forms of instant messaging, like sending text messages to other people via the Internet. This arrangement is expected to start around June 2006.

The agreement will allow the companies to compete against the popular AOL Instant Messenger service (AOL), and Google Talk, Google's relatively new instant messaging service that was opened to the public in beta form in September. The companies said that this relationship is the fruit of many years of negotiation.

Until now, AOL has been able to move and develop the IM market at its own pace, due to its widespread use within the United States. With this arrangement in place, this freedom might end. The number of users of the Yahoo! and Microsoft services combined will rival the number of AOL's customers.

Microsoft had previously held talks with AOL over possible partnerships in the instant messaging field. However, the status of these negotiations is unknown.