Yahoo! and MSN have announced that they will link their instant messaging networks to enable users to chat across the two platforms. The capabilities that will enable users to chat, see other users’ online status and swap emoticons will be launched in the second quarter of 2006. Additional features such as voice over IP telephony are expected to be launched once the combined network is up and running.
The new combined Yahoo! and MSN network will have a reach of about 275 million users, making it a much stronger competitor to AOL’s instant messaging tool. This in turn might force AOL to also adopt uniform messaging standards which users have been demanding for a long time. Google’s instant messaging service, which was only launched this August, is still too small to be of any real significance at this stage.