• United States

Jabber jumps

Oct 21, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* Analysis of Jabber’s sudden rise in popularity

Last week, Jabber announced that the number of licensed users of both the open source and commercial versions of its instant messaging and presence technology has grown more than 30% since the beginning of the year, to more than 4 million. This is significant, because it puts the size of Jabber’s user base on par with the leading enterprise messaging systems currently in use.

The news means that many enterprise and carrier customers – companies such as Sony and Lehman Brothers – simply like Jabber’s technology, including Jabber XCP, which allows users to build presence technology into a wide variety of applications.

I believe it may also mean that a significant number of enterprise and carrier customers believe that the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is a better protocol for instant messaging and presence applications than its leading competitive protocols, Session Initiation Protocol and SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE), which are supported by Microsoft, IBM and others.

However, the rapid growth of Jabber in 2003 might also mean that establishing interoperability between competitive instant messaging systems using standards is viewed by many potential customers as less desirable than simply creating gateways between competitive instant messaging systems, and so a significant part of the market may not care all that much that Microsoft and IBM – which have significantly more marketing clout than Jabber – are supporting SIP and SIMPLE. (The Jabber Software Foundation announced last week that it has developed gateways for SIMPLE and Wireless Village.)

In September, we asked organizations about the importance of standards in making IM purchasing decisions: 37% of organizations said standards were, at most, only somewhat important in their decisions. Further, the survey found that there was relatively little difference in the importance placed on a vendor’s support for SIP/SIMPLE or XMPP.

Of course, Jabber’s success could also mean that many potential enterprise and carrier customers believe XMPP will win out over SIP and SIMPLE as the dominant instant messaging and presence standard in the long term. I’d like to get your views on the standards issues as they relate to instant messaging and presence. Please drop me a line at