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Wednesday, October 12, 2005
  Geek Candy: MSN and Yahoo to standardize IM clients
Microsoft, Yahoo Reach IM Partnership - Yahoo! News: "SEATTLE - Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) will make their instant-messaging programs work together, a partnership that could give the companies more power to compete against market leader America Online.

The Yahoo-Microsoft partnership, allowing users of the two services to exchange messages seamlessly, gives the companies nearly as many users combined as AOL has in total. The companies said in a statement Wednesday that they expect the service to start by June 2006.

Yahoo Chief Executive Terry Semel called it 'a turning point for the IM industry,' which has taken years to work out ways for users of rival services to connect to each other.

Analysts said the move could put pressure on Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, the most popular service.

'Up until now, AOL has been able to pick and choose its partners, command the royalties it wants,' said Robert Mahowald, an analyst with research firm IDC. 'They've moved to develop this market at their own pace. This forces them to take a more aggressive stance.'

AOL's instant-messaging product, AIM, had 51.5 million unique U.S. users in September, compared to about 27.3 million for MSN Messenger and 21.9 million for Yahoo's Messenger, according to Nielsen/NetRatings."
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