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Microsoft, Yahoo! Announce IM Interop Deal

Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! announced an initiative on Wednesday to make MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger compatible with each other.

The companies estimate that their respective instant messaging products will be interoperable by the second quarter of 2006.

In addition to being able to exchange messages, users of both products will have compatible friends lists, emoticons and other features

"This is truly a turning point for the IM industry," Terry Semel, Yahoo! chief executive officer, said in a released statement. "We believe our agreement with Microsoft will help usher in a new era of IP communications."

"IM interoperability is the right thing for our customers," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The move is widely seen as an attempt to take on the current IM leader, America Online, which dominates the market with more than 50 percent of IM users worldwide, according to reports.

Microsoft said the agreement with Yahoo! will create "the largest consumer IM community in the world" with 275 million users.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital projects at the company, including launching and running the group's popular virtual summit and Coffee talk series . She an experienced tech journalist (20 years), and before her current position, was the editorial director of the group's sites. A few years ago she gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web browser technology would impact online advertising for publishers. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.

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