The WSJ and others are reporting that Wednesday Yahoo! and MSN will announce consumer IM "interoperability."
The conventional wisdom being widely repeated is: This now puts pressure on AOL, the IM leader, which has twice the market share of either Yahoo! (No. 2) or MSN (No. 3).
I don't necessarily agree (unless you haven't yet adopted an IM platform or you're registered on multiple IM clients). But it does point to a time (coming soon) when there will be true interoperability among IM clients (Google Talk is based on the open Jabber protocol).
With almost 49 million U.S. users (according to comScore), AIM has emerged as an important strategic asset that AOL is trying to leverage to introduce other services and AOL Search. Yahoo! is reportedly also trying to use IM to extend its reach.
From our point of view, IM is most interesting as the front door or "foot-in-the-door" for mainstream VoIP adoption. That's the bigger picture, and more interesting longer-term implication, of the recent IM upgrades and flurry of activity.
TKG clients can read more here.
More: Om Malik's take.