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October 12, 2005

Microsoft, Yahoo said in instant message deal

Posted by David Hunter at 8:40 AM ET.

From the AP via MSNBC:

Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. have agreed to make their two instant-messaging programs work together, a partnership that could threaten market leader America Online, people familiar with the situation said.

The deal was expected to be announced early Wednesday, these people told The Associated Press.

A Yahoo-Microsoft partnership, allowing users of the competing services to exchange messages seamlessly, would give the two companies nearly as many users combined as AOL has in total.

AOL’s instant-messaging product, AIM, had some 51.5 million unique U.S. users in September, compared to about 27.3 million for the competing MSN Messenger and 21.9 million for Yahoo’s Messenger, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

This is burning up the “buzz” wires right now. More details later if and when the deal is done.

UPDATE: Press conference scheduled for 8AM PDT.

UPDATE: Here’s the press release – Microsoft and Yahoo! Announce Landmark Interoperability Agreement to Connect Consumer Instant Messaging Communities Globally:

Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp. today announced a landmark agreement to connect users of their consumer instant messaging (IM) services on a global basis. The industry’s first interoperability agreement between two distinct leading global consumer IM providers will give MSN® Messenger and Yahoo!® Messenger users the ability to interact with each other, forming what is expected to be the largest consumer IM community in the world, estimated to be more than 275 million strong.

Being able to instant message between IM communities is one of the features most requested by MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger users, and Microsoft and Yahoo! share a commitment to provide IM interoperability while keeping consumer security and privacy first and foremost. In addition to exchanging instant messages, consumers from both communities will be able to see their friends’ online presence, share select emoticons, and easily add new contacts from either service to their friends’ list, all as part of their free IM service.* Yahoo! and Microsoft plan to introduce these interconnectivity capabilities between MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger to customers around the world in the second quarter of 2006, and in doing so expect to help make IM an even more useful part of consumers’ online communications and communities.

Note that they are claiming that on a worldwide basis, the combination will be number 1 in terms of numbers of users.

Filed under AOL, Alliances, Coopetition, MSN, MSN Messenger, Yahoo

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4 Responses to “Microsoft, Yahoo said in instant message deal”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Blog Archive » Whatever happened to AOL/MSN IM Interop? Says:

    [...] If yesterday’s announcement that MSN and Yahoo were working on instant messaging interoperability had an air of deja vu, you might have been remembering the 2003 pledge from AOL and Microsoft that they would work on IM interoperability. Lisa DiCarlo at Forbes checks into whatever became of that in Broken Promises and the official answer is apparently that it’s real hard to do. There are some unofficial answers too.   [Permalink] [...]

  2. Friday round-up of miscellaneous Microsoft items -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Nancy Gohring at PCWorld reports that Microsoft and and Yahoo Instant Messaging interoperability still isn’t there although promised for the second quarter. And speaking of IM, the::unwired has a preview of the Windows Live Messenger client for Windows Mobile. [...]

  3. Microsoft and Yahoo deliver IM interoperability -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Sometimes the promises in grand corporate alliance announcements actually do come true. Last October, Microsoft and Yahoo promised interoperability of their instant messaging services in 2Q2006 and it arrived today in beta only a little bit late: Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp. today will begin limited public beta testing of interoperability between their instant messaging (IM) services that enable users of Windows Live® Messenger, the next generation of MSN® Messenger, and Yahoo!® Messenger with Voice to connect with each other. This interoperability — the first of its kind between two distinct, global consumer IM providers — will form the world’s largest consumer IM community, approaching 350 million accounts. [...]

  4. Microsoft and Yahoo IM interoperability arrives -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] It may be a little later than the 2Q2006 originally promised, but Microsoft and Yahoo’s effort to provide instant messaging interoperability has left the beta started in July and will go live tomorrow: Yahoo and Microsoft announced that they would tear down the wall between their formerly exclusive instant messaging services and allow members to mingle beginning Wednesday. [...]

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