CNET News.com: Microsoft to take instant messaging wireless

“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

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.’ “