Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Yahoo and AOL: out of business

Both Yahoo and AOL recently announced their exit from the "enterprise instant messaging" category of software. This comes as no surprise to some of us; they were never really in it to begin with.

But not everyone saw this coming, and many are at a loss for a business instant messaging solution. I personally see this as a big opportunity, because we offer Workgroup Instant Messaging, a dramatic improvement upon simple text messages back and forth. It's group-based, and it has built-in file sharing.

But it's more a sign of a regime change. Instant Messaging is huge, but it's a victim of its own success. AOL and Yahoo are losing money every day supporting vast networks of people chit-chatting on their IM networks. You'd think that this would drive them toward business users, but their products and company DNA just don't support that.

YIM and AIM and MSN are consumer apps. Perhaps even "teenager apps" or "young-adult apps". The feature set reflects that. They're even launching things like and yahoo personals and various flavors of dating services, thinking perhaps that people might actually pay for those services. Did I mention checkers? I don't know anybody above the age of 8 who plays checkers. It's just not that interesting a game. Do we really need to play checkers over the internet now? What exactly are they thinking?

Meanwhile, for people who are just trying to get work done and communicate with people, what to do?

I say embrace the future and look around for something new and better. We hope you'll consider our software, of course, but this is an evolving world and it does get a lot better than YIM and AIM. If nothing else, you won't miss the advertising.

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