Reuters Financial Service to Connect to Microsoft Messenger Network

Reuters and Microsoft on Tuesday announced a deal that is one of the first concrete examples of the way that firms can use the promise of instant messaging technology to enhance their business-to-consumer offerings.

Reuters will link its Reuters Messaging service, which is targeted at the financial industry, to the mass market Microsoft Messenger network in the first quarter of 2004. Reuters claims 50,000 active users per week of its instant message service for financial professionals. Microsoft claims 100 million Microsoft Messenger users. In theory, the combination could allow logged, real-time communications among traders and their clients. What better medium than IM for messages like "Buy!" or "Sell!" that can be immediately acknowledged by a broker?

"Once it is completed, MSN users worldwide will have access to leading financial professionals through a world-class, end-to-end and regulatory-compliant system from Reuters," Blake Irving, Microsoft corporate vice president at MSN, said in a statement.

The deal is not so much a customer win for Microsoft as a supplemental deal. Nor is it an example of progress for those hoping to see bridges built between the different instant messaging networks maintained by Microsoft, Yahoo! and AOL. Reuters was already a customer win back in November when the two companies announced that Reuters would launch its service based on Microsoft's Office Live Communications Server. That new product was previously known as "Greenwich" or Real-time Communication Server. The enterprise instant-messaging server is supposed to serve as an extensible platform for presence capabilities and instant messaging in organizations.

Microsoft and Reuters are using the MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprise service to combine their two networks. Features of the combined service to be launched early next year will include the use of one corporate-controlled identity for financial traders to log onto both the MSN and Reuters Messaging networks, along with regulatory-compliant logging of sessions to a Microsoft SQL Server database and the ability of organizations to own and manage their corporate IM identities through the system.

The MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprise service exists to help organizations extend corporate IM networks to the Microsoft Messenger network.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.