Microsoft and Yahoo test IM interoperability
Microsoft and Yahoo have opened up their respective instant messaging
clients in a new
public testing initiative
. Albeit limited, the beta test allows
users of Microsoft's new Windows Live Messenger to talk to Yahoo
Messenger users, and vice versa. Microsoft says users who sign up for
the beta program can add each other as contacts, send each other instant
messages, and view status and offline messages across the two IM clients.
Interoperability will become broadly available "in the coming months,"
by which point Microsoft claims the resulting merged Yahoo and Microsoft
community will be the biggest in the world with nearly 350 million
users. U.S. usage share may differ, though. Going by Nielsen/NetRatings
quoted by CNet, in September 2005 AOL Instant Messenger had 51.5 million
users in the U.S., while MSN Messenger had 27.3 million, and Yahoo
Messenger had 21.9 million.