MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger talk

Microsoft has announced that it has completed work to combine its MSN Messenger instant messaging network with Yahoo! Messenger. From today any of the services’ combined 350 million users can now communicate to those on the other network. The combined network is now the world’s biggest.

MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger talk

Interoperability between the rival IM suppliers has been an issue for many years leading to a deal of frustration in the user community that the major players have been unable to agree. a recent Yahoo! survey showed that almost a third of IM users would like to communicate with friends and family on other IM networks, and that interoperable services would encourage them on to make contact more often.

George Hadjigeorgiou, General Manager, Yahoo! Communications Products Europe remarked, ‘Interoperability between IM services has consistently topped our users’ wish lists’

Note that Microsoft has also released Messenger 6.0 for OS X, the first universal version of the instant messaging client, which also includes support for chatting with Yahoo! Messenger users.

It may seem to be stating the obvious, but it has taken a long time for vendors to realise that users want their products to communicate with each other.

In the enterprise sector, IBM has lead the way with deals to allow its corporate messaging service Lotus Sametime 7.5 to interact with Yahoo! Messenger, AOL’s AIM and ICQ and the Apple iChat services although Big Blue’s service is barely in competition with the consumer based systems from the big portals.

Microsoft and Yahoo! finally finally struck an interoperability deal last year although many observers thought at the time that the agreement had more to do with the recent launch of Google Talk than any particular desire to allow their user bases to talk to each other.

Since Google bought a stake in AOL earlier this year, the two companies have also spoken of combining Google Talk and AIM although not timetable for integration has yet been announced.

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