AT&T WorldNet Attempts a Unified ôBuddy-List But the Chance for Success is Slim

  • Written By: P. Hayes
  • Published: December 8 1999

Event Summary

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning today, AT&T WorldNet(R) Service members will be among the first Netizens who no longer need to keep multiple buddy lists to message people using other instant messaging programs.

Market Impact

Two weeks ago Microsoft withdrew from the concept of an integrated Instant Messaging (IM) system due to roadblocks from AOL/Netscape's Instant Messenger. Simply put, as soon as Microsoft enhanced the MSN IM system to enable communications with AOL's IM system, AOL's code was changed repeatedly to prevent communication between the two systems. The IM market is known for being predatory in nature, as each system attempts to cannibalize the market as a whole.

The proprietary IM systems draw attention to the vendors website for the purposes of direct e-commerce sales, which are particularly hot during the holiday season. AT&T has partnered with Tribal Voice, a leader in IM innovation, to create a unified IM system. The product is freely downloadable today but will be blocked by both MSN and AOL within the course of the next 7 days (probability 90%), rendering the IM system useless for the purposes of communication with either AOL or MSN. AT&T's IM system will continue to function normally with AT&T WorldNet subscribers.

User Recommendations

We recommend waiting to download the AT&T WorldNet Instant Messaging software for a few weeks. We believe that chances are extremely high that the product will cease to interact with AOL and MSN within a few short days (probability 90%) because AOL and MSN will block interaction, claiming breaches of security. If the product continues to function as advertised, allowing for continued interoperability between the existing IM systems after a few weeks (probability 10%), take the time to download and configure the application. In the mean time you will be best served through the utilization of a combination of both AOL's and MSN's Instant Messaging implementation.

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