IBM Messenger Interoperable With Everyone Except M$FT

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IBM is opening up their messenger to work with other popular instant messaging platforms. All the major players are in on the deal, except Microsoft, which is left out in the cold.

IBM, whose secure messaging system is used within many of the biggest companies, on Monday said its customers would soon be able to chat with instant messaging users from America Online, Yahoo and Google.

For those keeping score at home, the following are interoperable:

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Which will happen first...

Which will happen first, reasonably full VoIP interoperability or IM operability?

Frankly, I'm surprised that both have progressed as little as they have. Despite some hugely annoying quirks and exceptions, I find that *most* sites are navicable with all browsers. I can use one of a zillion different e-mail clients to send and receive POP and IMAP mail. I can call any landline phone on my landline or cell, regardless of the recipients LD and local carriers.

About two years ago, I predicted that AOL -- even then slowly starting to shed its walled-garden mentality -- would embrace open standards in the IM world. But to my surprise, it hasn't come to pass.

Aaron, your list of jumbled alliances only hints at the even-more-ridiculous complexity of IM relations. You forgot Earthlink, Apple's IM service (whatever it's called), and probably many others.

This tangled web of IM alliances will only further serve to confuse and anger users, undoubtedly driving more of them to simple ad-free clients like Trillian and GTalk. So, by laboriously dragging their feet (and I'm specifically blaming MSN, Y! and AOL here), these big slow giants are dangerously forfeiting long term market share, long term ad and tie-in revenues, good will & branding, and so on.

Is there anyone who think I'm missing a key competitive advantage that one or more of these companies maintain by remaining a semi-walled garden IMwise? I know that AIM has the most U.S. subscribers and MSN has the most subscribers internationally... but that doesn't mean squat if millions are defecting, likely to soon defect, or apt to download IM ad-blockers and such.

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