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Microsoft + Yahoo = IM Giant, Plus MySpace Goes GPL

I believe Microsoft will buy Yahoo after prolonged dating. Both companies are getting trounced by Google in search, but there's more to the world then just search. Yahoo has enormously valuable net assets which, when combined with Microsoft, will create a giant in several areas. One example is IM (instant messaging). Many may be surprised to learn that Microsoft's IM network is now more than twice as big as anyone else and Yahoo has moved past Granddaddy AOL into second place. If Microsoft and Yahoo combine their IM networks (which are already interconnected) it would be multiple times bigger than anyone else. Here's a snapshot of data looking at average simultaneous users and who connects to who.



In the past I've written about how the instant messaging networks should play nicely with each other so users can send and receive messages from any network to any other network - more like email. Slow progress has been made in this direction. Most companies have allowed formal or informal connections to their network. Microsoft and Yahoo connected their networks. Google and AOL announced a partnership in 2006, but it has yet to go live. Skype and MySpace have linked their networks.

Gizmo5 has recently connected with MySpace IM as well. This new functionality supports presence, messaging and alerts which are messages indicating changes to your MySpace page. The functionality is available for both our desktop and mobile phone version. If you want to stay connected to IM from your phone or PC, then Gizmo5 is the one program you need.

In continuing on our mission to push the world to connect with others we will be releasing our MySpace IM code for anyone else to use. It's a competitive advantage to have full MySpace IM support in Gizmo5, but it's equally important we push others to interconnect. After some feedback from users and testing we will be releasing our Myspace IM code under a GPL license for others to incorporate into their system. It will be published at www.Gizmo5.com/labs.

Which takes me back to Microsoft and Yahoo. Undoubtedly many will protest their combined size and paint horror stories about unfair competition of various internet services like IM. Given Microsoft's track record as a twice convicted monopolist the scrutiny may be warranted. However, I'd be happy with a public statement that they'll keep their IM/VOIP network open to connections as it is now. The world is becoming more open and those that embrace it win in the long run. On the Internet, competitive pressures will police better than any court or legislative body. Bring on Microhoo.

--MR
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