Tribal Voice claims MSN Messenger compatibility
August 20, 1999
by Alexandra Krasne
(IDG) -- In response to Microsoft's plans to make its instant messaging service protocol available to the development community in August, Tribal Voice--creator of PowWow instant messenger--announced its service will be made compatible with Microsoft's.
That means current users of PowWow and AT&T's IM Here will be able to send instant messages to MSN Messenger users later this year.
Although AT&T's IM Here instant messenger (which is based on PowWow) is already compatible with PowWow, the estimated 5 million users of both services will then be able to find out whether Microsoft Messenger users are online and then send instant messages.
It's the latest twist in the instant messaging evolution, which has been particularly active the past few months.
Microsoft and Yahoo first announced their software could interoperate with the leading instant messaging service, America Online's Instant Messenger. Then AOL modified its software to prevent MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger users from talking with AIM users, saying the competitors' interoperability method compromised security.
For the most part, instant messaging software allows you to send real-time text messages only to someone with the same messaging software. Microsoft's opening of its protocol could change that.
"We are in favor of an open standard; that's the next step that we're considering," says Richard Dym, vice president of marketing at Tribal Voice. "We believe interoperability is important for growth in the instant messaging industry."
Tribal Voice also plans to open its own code to the world of instant messaging.
But AOL, which also makes ICQ, is keeping its code locked away.
Microsoft is working with other companies and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to create a permanent standard for instant messaging interoperability.
Ironically, Microsoft, known for keeping its software source codes vehemently closed, is one of the biggest players in trying to get AOL to open its code.
Representatives from AT&T, Infoseek, Microsoft, Prodigy, Tribal Voice, and Yahoo called on Steve Case, AOL president and chief executive officer, to help advance an open standard for instant messaging.
"I think AOL recognizes how important interoperability is," Dym says. "I don't think they can hold out."
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