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sendmail.net: Instant Messaging: What You Should Know

Jun 02, 2000, 20:05 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Cameron Laird)

[ Thanks to Mark Durham for this link. ]

"Instant messaging (IM) is a certifiably hot topic, complete with standards wars, megamergers, IPO-bound startups, and a global horde of teenage chat addicts. But despite the interminable buzz, most of what the industry press publishes is at the level of press releases and trade show patter. As a hands-on technologist, what do you need to know to understand where IM is headed? Forget all the he said she said. Here are the essentials."

"IM is a hot topic that shows no sign of cooling down anytime soon. Each week brings news of new products and services that leverage instant messaging technology. The industry is reaching critical mass, with analysts and conferences to prove it. With recent disputes over the interoperability (or not) of various IM services and technologies still top-of-mind, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has reached a crucial stage in the determination of messaging standards. And what with America Online's take-no-prisoners dominance of the IM arena, the AOL-Time Warner merger - currently under active scrutiny, not just by the Department of Justice, but also by the Federal Communications Commission - adds a certain poignant tension to the mix."

"Amid this flurry of activity, the Internet standards process provides a point of relative calm. IM activity within the IETF centers on the Instant Messaging and Presence Protocol Working Group (IMPP WG, or just IMPP). At the end of May, working group co-chairman Dave Marvit of Fujitsu Laboratories America announced a change in the schedule for composition of standards. The new timetable calls on interested parties to submit proposals by 15 June 2000. With these in hand, the WG will determine how much work remains to be done and set dates for its next milestones."

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