Tuesday, January 24, 2006

IBM Instant Messenger Connects to the Outside

IBM announced today that their proprietary instant messenger, called Sametime, will soon be able to IM directly with other IM services, including AOL, Yahoo! and Google IM. It's worth noting that Sametime will not work with Microsoft's MSN IM (IBM and Microsoft are staunch rivals).

This is a major step not only because IBM is embracing the many free IM services out there, but also the recognition that IM is here to stay as not only a business tool, but a way for employees to easily IM people outside their workplace (via the free IM services).

Actually, IM is simply following the pattern set by email. If you recall, when email first started - before the advent of the Web it only worked within an organization. Remember, the internet is not the world wide web - the www was enabled only after Mark Andreessen invented the first Browser, called Mosaic, while in college in the early 1990's (and then went on to found Netscape). Today it's incomprehensible that one couldn't email to someone 'outside' their workplace. How far technology has come in 10 short years!

For the record, IBM claims 20 million users inside companies currently running Sametime, with 60 of the companies being in the 100 largest in the world.

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