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Patches to keep Trillian connected to MSN, Yahoo IM

Sep 18, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging AppsMicrosoft

Cerulean Studios is readying patches for Trillian to thwart moves by Microsoft and Yahoo to lock the popular instant messaging client out of their instant messaging networks.

Microsoft and Yahoo recently said they are planning updates to their instant messaging services that will likely lock out third-party instant messaging clients. Microsoft is planning its update on Oct. 15, while Yahoo set Sept. 24 as the date.

Microsoft has said it is upgrading the MSN Messenger service because of a security issue, but also said it does not want third-party clients using its network without a form of compensation. Yahoo on Tuesday said it is upgrading to prevent spammers from hacking into its protocol and sending its users unsolicited messages.

But Trillian is not letting its users be disconnected by updates from the side of Microsoft and Yahoo. Patches for Trillian Versions 0.74 and 1.0 will be released shortly, Cerulean Studios co-founder and Head Developer Scott Werndorfer said in an e-mail Wednesday.

“The patches will be out before the deadlines, and will include both Yahoo and Microsoft updates,” he said, adding that Trillian Pro 2.0, released last week, is already updated.

Trillian had about 940,000 users in the U.S. in July, making it the most popular third-party instant messaging client, according to market researcher ComScore Media Metrix. Trillian and other clients such as Imici and Odigo allow users to consolidate multiple instant messaging accounts in one client.

Cerulean Studios’ patching plan recalls the instant messaging battles of 1999. At that time, Microsoft, Odigo and others were in a compatibility battle with instant messaging leader AOL. The smaller players repeatedly made their clients work with AOL’s Instant Messenger and AOL would lock out the competition by updating its protocol.

It doesn’t seem instant messaging service operators are about to make their services interoperable, even though instant messaging users are clamoring for interoperability, Graham Mudd, an analyst at ComScore Media Metrix said.

“It is pretty clear that there is a strong consumer desire to communicate with people across IM technologies. We have to wait and see if consumer demand plays out. It does not make a whole lot of sense on the side of these providers to interoperate,” he said. Instant messaging clients are used to deliver advertisements and direct users to other services, he said.

Microsoft’s would not comment on Trillian’s actions, but said it stands by its process to not allow unauthorized clients on its network. Yahoo was unable to provide comment in time.