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  Microsoft Charges for IM Interoperability
Time: 03:42 EST/08:42 GMT | News Source: PC World | Posted By: Alex Harris

Microsoft is contacting providers of instant messaging software to try to cut licensing deals before it boots the clients from its MSN instant messaging network. Advertisement Microsoft isn't targeting rival IM network operators such as America Online or Yahoo. Rather, the software giant is seeking licensing fees from the makers of clients that use the Microsoft MSN IM network and compete with Microsoft's own MSN Messenger client.

Cerulean Studios, maker of the Trillian IM client, is at the top of Microsoft's hit list. Trillian enables users to consolidate multiple IM accounts in one client and is available in a free version, as well as a $25 Pro version that offers additional features. Trillian has been downloaded more than 10 million times, according to Cerulean Studios. "Running an [IM] network is expensive," says Lisa Gurry, group product manager for MSN at Microsoft. "We can't sustain multiple other-people's businesses, particularly if they charge for certain versions of their software. We're introducing licensing processes for third parties like Trillian."

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#1 By 5948 ( at 8/29/2003 7:54:56 AM
Yeah, $25 is quite a lot for Trillian, I think if they had charge about $10 they would have had far more people buying the pro version. Now the price will be even higher, sorry, but most people will either get a crack or just use the MS version...

#2 By 1868 ( at 8/29/2003 9:45:52 AM
Microsoft is already behind the count in the IM marketplace, doing this will only annoy users and allow AOL to continue to grow. This is just a bad business move on Microsoft's part. The technical offerings of MSN IM is barely on par with AIM, not to mention the fact that Microsoft is not trying to leverage a way to open up AIM's users to MSN. What do you think??

#3 By 1295 ( at 8/29/2003 9:53:18 AM
I think alot of you are not thinking this through fully. First of all MS runs the service and has kept everything pretty free of regulation... however MS does have their banner adds and other fee's they collect from companies providing content etc to the MSN Messenger program. I think they are right to go after trillian for a reasonable license fee. Trillian (though I doubt they are making a much money or even a profit) is making money creating apps that run on MS' service. In doing so it goes after the ONLY revenue stream MS has for running the IM network. Even if that revenue stream seems small it is the revenue stream. I think Trillian should pay license fees if need be since they are charging for their client...

With that said... it will be interesting to see how the structure a license with someone like Trillian since their executable can run all IM networks and in some cases isn't used for MSN.

The other interesting thing is MSN wanted to be open with AOL... I wonder if they were going to pay license fees to them?

#4 By 61 ( at 8/29/2003 10:53:31 AM
Halc, I actually think that is a great solution.

Zeo, I think you have no clue at all. AOL's IM service is BY FAR behind the times, not to mention it's annoying as hell IM client that puts icons everywhere, that steals you from whatever you are doing to display an IM, etc.... not to mention that fact that the FCC has had, until just a few days ago, regulations on what AOL could do with their IM network, namely no voice or video. MSN IM is far more advanced (as is every single other serious IM client) than AOLIM.

#5 By 7754 ( at 8/29/2003 11:38:35 AM
I agree, CPUGuy... I used AIM recently and wasn't very impressed. I'm not really sure what Zeo means... maybe he knows something I don't.

Personally, I think Yahoo has the best messenger out there. The offline messages feature is slick, and the support for multiple fonts and formatting within the message is nice, too. And (personally) I think the Yahoo emoticons are much better... for those that use emoticons. ;)

#6 By 135 ( at 8/29/2003 12:09:28 PM
So let me get this straight.

Trillian charges $25 for this software, which allows you to connect to a MSN messenging service that Microsoft spends millions of dollars on to maintain.

And somehow it is unfair for Microsoft to charge a licensing fee to Trillian to allow them to utilize their service?

Fascinating... I guess this is what they mean when they say leeches of society.

#7 By 7754 ( at 8/29/2003 1:02:52 PM
True, you can add the Yahoo ones--that is pretty cool. But can you replace the existing MSN ones? If you try to create one that uses a keyboard shortcut that is already in use by Messenger, it doesn't allow it.

#8 By 3653 ( at 8/29/2003 6:09:24 PM
Zeo01 - " Microsoft is already behind the count in the IM marketplace"

I strongly disagree. In the past year, I would guess that I've added 2-3 AOL IM contacts. In that same time, I would estimate adding 30 or so MSN IM contacts. And MSN version 6 is light years better looking and better functioning than AOL.

PhilippeCM - have you tried MSN version 6? And still cant log in? Check your firewall software. Turn it off for a minute, and see if you can log into MSN then. If you can... you'll know its the firewall.

Regarding MSFT's charging for access. Whats wrong with that? Nothing. Its there asset. They can do whatever they want with it.

#9 By 5444 ( at 8/29/2003 8:08:01 PM

in an earlier comment you stated a radio station analogy.

There is a big difference there.

Once a radio station is a passive service. IOW it broadcasts a standard package with no active return to the broadcast to know that it is being recieved by said reciever.

So the Broadcaster is in total control of what it sends out, and Is in total control of what is recieved on the recievers. (passive recievers they don't remove the advertising etc)

So there is no lost in advertising dollars.

Now if MS set it up where every message on IM had advertisment in the message itself. than the anaolgy would hold, the difference is that the Client (reciever) is the one with the advertisment or the return on investment.

Also there is bandwidth issues on IM platform that isn't involved on the radio platform.

So this isn't even remotely compareing apples to apples.


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