Microsoft will open the businesses version of its IM client MSN Messenger to America Online and Yahoo's systems. A big step towards allowing users of different networks to communicate with each other, the companies say. Clients of the free version of MSN Messenger will not get the same inter-operability, at least for now.
The businesses version of MSN Messenger difffers from the free version. It is ment to be installed within corporate networks, wheer conversations can be monitored and saved, just like enterprise e-mail.
Later this year in the next version of this IM client which is expected by the end of this year there will be the ability to connect to AOL and Yahoo's instant messaging networks. It will be an add-on feature, called Live Communications Server.
Instant messaging, which allows individual users to send and receive short text messages with each other on their computer screens, has been a huge hit among consumers, growing rapidly over the last several years.
But many businesses have been reluctant to implement or approve the use of instant messaging in the workplace due to fears that such systems could lead to security breaches or abuses by employees.
Representatives from Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL, a unit of Time Warner, said that businesses have been asking for messaging systems that could be implemented in the workplace, and said they see opportunity for growth in this area.
"Companies are willing to pay for true enterprise instant messaging," Collyer said.