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The real challenge for converged messaging

Jun 02, 20042 mins
Messaging AppsNetworking

* Where all messaging programs fall short

We’ve recently been looking at messaging programs, including MSN Messenger and Skype. Our overwhelming conclusion has been that they are great in concept but all fall short of being ready for wholesale implementation at this time.

The biggest failure is finding a single multifunction program that multiple communities will agree to use. Of the three programs we tested, there was always a group of people with an objection to using one of the programs.

Let’s begin with MSN Messenger. As discussed in prior newsletters, it worked fairly well. However, we immediately started running into people who objected to MSN Messenger because of its tight integration with Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Then we went to AOL Instant Messenger. Seems as if some of our contacts found that it is difficult to uninstall. So we have to admit that there is a sizable community of folks who don’t exactly love AOL.

And we’re already discussed the issues that some people have with Skype – if for no other reason than it was brought to you by the same folks who developed Kazaa.

So for connectivity among our contacts, we’re currently running three programs with messaging and presence management.

Clearly, what we eventually need is interoperability. Imagine if you could only talk on the phone to people who happened to subscribe to a service from a given long-distance phone company. AT&T customers, MCI customers, and Sprint customers, along with every other company’s customers, would be closed user groups.

We’ll keep our eyes out for a solution to this problem. At this point, though, we’re not expecting anything too quickly.

Each messaging service has a lot to gain by having its own dedicated user base. In fact, that’s a major reason all three of these services are “free.” And there’s little if anything at this juncture that the service providers gain from interoperability.