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Jabber and IM walled gardens

It seems Yahoo! are intent on locking out Trillian clients:

Regardless of whether IM spam is a growing and gathering problem, Yahoo's actions against Trillian illustrate the Web giant's efforts to further wall-off its proprietary IM network. The Big Three equivalent for Internet services have all watched their IM software proliferate thanks to their closed-door environments. Consumers must download multiple clients to chat with buddies in different IM services. [CNET]

This is like AOL and Compuserve walled gardens all over again. If this keeps up, using proprietary IM is going be more and more like using those services back in the Nineties. You would think Yahoo! (and Trillian) would understand the futility of this and adopt Jabber as IM's answer to the Web. Anything else is a race to the bottom.


June 24, 2004 06:49 PM

Comments

Charles Miller
(June 24, 2004 11:17 PM #)

I wrote this two years ago, and the only thing that's changed since is that now ICQ and AIM interoperate, and I have a Yahoo! account: http://fishbowl.pastiche.org/2002/07/08/why_instant_messaging_is_bad_and_wrong

Jabber is a tough sell, partly because I'm yet to try a Jabber client that didn't confuse the hell out of me, but mostly because the only reason people adopt a new IM protocol is because they want to talk to someone who isn't available on any of the ones they have already. I rarely even sign on to Jabber for just that reason: everyone I want to talk to is on Yahoo, MSN, AIM or ICQ, and I'm unlikely to convince that many people to suddenly switch to a new, weird and geeky service.

Meanwhile, it's obvious that the last thing the IM services want is interop. The services get their value from their user rosters. The value of Yahoo! is in the fact it's the most reliable way I have to get in touch with several of my friends. With interop, that distinction is lost, and all the value goes back into the clients... and the official clients almost inevitably suck.

Jason Carreira
(June 24, 2004 11:34 PM #)

I heard this about Yahoo blocking Trillian, but I haven't had any problem with Trillian over Yahoo today... Dunno.

Randy Charles Morin
(June 25, 2004 04:28 AM #)

Yahoo! is a public company who's goal is to increase the value for shareholders. Trying to impose ideological answer to a monetary question is pointless.

Bill de hra
(June 25, 2004 06:32 PM #)

"Yahoo! is a public company who's goal is to increase the value for shareholders."

Yahoo! are perfectly entitled to think walled IM is adding shareholder value. Otherwise, not sure what your point is.

Bill de hra
(June 25, 2004 06:40 PM #)

"I'm unlikely to convince that many people to suddenly switch to a new, weird and geeky service."

You mean like that weird http:// stuff :) What I usually say to people about Jabber is that wanting anything other than an open IM network is like wanting proprietary email. Or maybe Lotus Notes ;)


"Meanwhile, it's obvious that the last thing the IM services want is interop."

Absolutely - and that's why I think the open IM will overrun closed systems in due course. Targetting closed IM sounds like a dimishing returns model. But interop doesn't just mean an open protocol - it should mean an open roster.

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