IM Wars II

Google_talk_logo_3  Justin Uberti recently joined Google after being a major player in AOL’s Open AIM Initiative – a project designed to make the code base for AOL Instant Messenger available to small businesses, developers, and web communities.

Justin takes a cut at comparing the major IM services including Windows Live, QQ , AIM, Yahoo and Skype.  His summary below highlights the difference between active users, simultaneous users and volume of messages by IM provider and region.   

I’ve seen different versions of this work in the past but Justin’s table highlights the strength of Windows Live in EMEA/Latin America and QQ in China.   I covered QQ in an earlier post and have been tracking their growth over the past 6 months.  It is clear that both WL and QQ are breaking from the pack.

Service Active Users Max Simultaneous Users Total IMs/day Dominant Regions
Windows Live 204M
(1/2007)
30M
(1/2007)
5.7B
(8/2006)
Europe, Latin America, East Asia
QQ 221M
(9/2006)
20M
(9/2006)
4B
(estimate)
China, South Africa
AIM/AOL/ICQ/iChat 63M
(3/2006)
10M
(estimate)
2B
(estimate)
US, Israel
Yahoo 60M
(6/2006)
10M
(estimate)
2B
(estimate)
India, ?
Skype 50M
(estimate)
9M
(1/2007)
0.5B
(estimate)
East Asia, Europe

So, let’s assume that the AOL AIM-to-XMPP Gateway ships this year and that Gtalk users and AIM users are federated and integrated as promised (predicted). 

What else is up the sleeves of the Gtalk team to drive user and message growth to the scale of WL and QQ?    Could the anticipated release of enterprise-ready Google Desktop Apps with integration to Gtalk (and AIM) create a step-function change in users?  What about Gtalk to Skype federation? 

Google/AIM will need to think about their enterprise strategy to confront the LCS/OCS push from Microsoft. 

If 2005-2006 was the first found of the IM Wars when everyone announced their platforms and pushed for a user "land-grab", then 2007 is shaping up to be the second round of the battle for IM/Voice users.  IM Wars II

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