In the last five years, America Online (AOL), Yahoo!, Microsoft, and struggled to grab market share for their instant messaging (IM) service have. Each company has its own software and network to the service can write, with the user on-line real-time text messages to other users on the same network supply. Although IM started as a small company in 1996 by four Israeli engineers, it has ballooned into one of the greatest means of online communication. The number of IM users has grown 30% fa … Read more »

In the last five years, America Online (AOL), Yahoo!, Microsoft, and struggled to grab market share for their instant messaging (IM) service have. Each company has its own software and network to the service can write, with the user on-line real-time text messages to other users on the same network supply. Although IM started as a small company in 1996 by four Israeli engineers, it has ballooned into one of the greatest means of online communication. The number of IM users has 30% faster in the first five years than the email, when it was launched for the first time. Today, almost half of all North American online households use a version of IM. Despite the large number of IM users, the three major providers – AOL, Yahoo! and Microsoft – have no significant profit earned from their services offer. Each company offers its services free IM and many questions about how each company will continue to use one day to its millions of users. Some saw the possibility of the development of IM as a corporate technology so that employees securely send messages to each other, and efforts were already underway to realize this. The companies also have considerable efforts to a common protocol for IM, which allow users to communicate across various networks would be made to establish. But the competition has hampered progress, forcing analysts to wonder if consumers continue to tolerate multiple IM programs to meet friends in different networks.
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V. Brian Viard,
Steven Fan
Source: Stanford Graduate School of Business
27 pages.
Publication Date: Feb 28,, 2005. Prod #: SM138-PDF-ENG
Long battle for an instant messaging standard solution HBR case

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