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CNET News.com: Microsoft to take instant messaging wireless

Sep 14, 1999, 21:35 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Erich Luening)

"Microsoft today pushed forward in its quest for instant messaging users, announcing plans to extend its MSN Messenger service so that users can access messages from their cell phones, set-top boxes, and handheld computers."

"The move underscores the ongoing battle between Microsoft and AOL, which is the dominant player in instant messaging with its AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ properties. The two companies have been fighting since Microsoft launched its effort in July, which allowed users to communicate with AOL Instant Messenger users. AOL responded by blocking MSN Messenger from communicating with its users.

The two companies have been battling ever since, with Microsoft working around AOL's efforts to keep MSN Messenger users from communicating with its users, and AOL coming up with more barricades. Last week, Foster City, California-based FaceTime Communications said AOL planned to license access to its network of 45 million registered IM users to the company, which offers a service that lets e-commerce and brick-and-mortar firms offer customer support via IM."

"Bruce Kasrel, an analyst at Forrester Research, pointed out that though Microsoft's move into wireless and other Web devices is smart, it's not original. He said AOL still leads Microsoft as an Internet service brand among mainstream consumers. 'It's just a carbon copy,' Kasrel said. 'This is like Sanyo releasing a new TV set...who cares? It's when Sony releases one that people care.' "

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