REDMOND, Wash. (Bloomberg) - Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker,
has stopped linking its instant messaging system with America Online Inc.'s
instant electronic-mail program, the companies said.
Microsoft has been striving for an open standard for Instant Messaging with
AOL that would allow MSN and AOL users to Instant Message or "IM" one another
without hindrance. Microsoft developers have been trying to link the two systems
as quickly as possible, but AOL developers implement blocks as quickly as the
links are created. AOL claims that the blocking is due to security measures,
but it is really due to marketing structure. Microsoft's MSN service occupies
third place among on line services, while AOL is still number one, with its
registered number of users surpassing the 19 million mark.
to the lack of a standard, or unwillingness of the companies to reach an agreement,
Microsoft has ceased linking the two Instant Messaging systems. The advantage
to a linked system, beyond end-user communication, is attraction to the service
providers website, which generates sales. AOL's Instant Messenger application,
available for download at either www.netscape.com
or www.aol.com has, for the
time being, won the Instant Messaging war.
If you are a fan of Instant Messaging, and currently use Microsoft's implementation,
you cannot communicate with AOL or Netscape IM users. If you want to maximize
your IM capabilities, run both systems in parallel. In order to do this you
will need to download AOL's IM application from either site listed in the preceding
paragraph. Instant Messaging is here, and here to stay. AOL will gain market
share in IM users and in turn, will realize increased sales from their site
(probability 90%) While Microsoft has stopped linking, this does not mean that
it is permanently out of the growing IM market. In time, a standard will arise,
and when it does, count on Microsoft being there (probability 95%).