Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and XMPP

As I write, market reaction to the Microsoft/Yahoo deal seems less than enthusiastic with both companies stocks down. The reaction from some technology bloggers seems equally negative, although a lot more entertaining:

“It’s like tying the Titanic to the iceberg. It’d keep you from sinking just long enough to freeze to death.”;

..and from the ever-entertaining Fake Steve Jobs:

“It’s like taking the two guys who finished second and third in a 100-yard dash and tying their legs together and asking for a rematch, believing that now they’ll run faster.”

With our own commitment to the XMPP instant messaging and presence protocol and being of a mind that any successes for the XMPP protocol are good for the entire community, one question that this merger raises here at Isode is what does this mean for the adoption of open standards instant messaging now that two of the giants of proprietary IM may soon to be one entity (at least ‘soon’ by mega-corporate-merger standards)?

MS and Yahoo announced an interworking of their two proprietary IM systems back in 2005 but neither has shown much interest in opening up to the wider world. So on the face of it, not good for XMPP penetration amongst a huge user base of existing IM users.

Adding together the IM user bases of Microsoft and Yahoo brings them to within striking distance of AOL, who still maintain a lead in active and overall users (in the western world at least).

Last week there was quite a bit of buzz around AOL’s experiments with XMPP, I wonder if the merger will finally push AOL fully into the XMPP camp, not just for technical reasons but also to regain the initiative in the IM space?

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