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ZDNet: Talks on IM harmony falter

Jun 10, 2001, 12:00 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jim Hu)

It looks as if the initial spate of enthusiasm over coming up with an instant messaging standard in the face of AOL's intransigence on the issue is faltering. An independent consortium of AOL competitors called "IMUnified," for instance, says the deadline it set for a standard implementation was "unrealistic," and Jabber's Andre Durand says things aren't any further along than they were a year ago. Meanwhile, Microsoft's share of the market grows as the company provides its own broad IM platform.

"From a strategic standpoint, IM providers will certainly want to work with any underlying protocol that Microsoft would want to support without question because of their strength in the marketplace," said Alex Diamandis, an executive at rival IM company Odigo. AOL Time Warner "doesn't have the ability to do what Microsoft can do, which is to embed it into all of these other applications--embed it into Outlook, embed it into Office, embed it into browsers, and on and on."

The strategy reflects significant changes in the marketplace from a year ago. Although AOL Time Warner still leads with the combined use of its separate AIM and ICQ networks, Microsoft has presented evidence that its MSN Messenger service is the single-most widely used IM service."

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