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Yahoo picks up MessageMe as IM competition gets fiercer

First, instant messengers were hot property; then they were out-dated and dull. Now they’ve come full circle again, promising flexible, real-time communication that the big social networks can’t compete with. Facebook splashed out on WhatsApp, Google is rumored to be building yet another IM platform, and now Yahoo has picked up the MessageMe app.

With a mere 1m users (WhatsApp has 600m) you’d be forgiven if you’ve never heard of MessageMe. Yahoo is closing the app down, but will use its technology and the staff behind it to build something of its own. In a note left on the MessageMe site, the development team said the platform would continue to function until November 7.

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“We built MessageMe to explore our vision of how expressive and fun online communication should be,” reads the goodbye note left online by the MessageMe team. “It’s been an incredible journey and we really appreciate all the support we’ve received from all of you over the last two years. The team at Yahoo shares our passion for connecting people in inspiring ways and we’re thrilled about the impact we can make with them. The MessageMe application will be shutting down, allowing us to focus on helping build the best mobile communications products for Yahoo users.”

What’s interesting is that Snapchat was also interested in acquiring MessageMe, and Yahoo is rumored to be investing in Snapchat, according to reports in the tech press. All of the big names in mobile are looking to stake out ground in an increasingly competitive market — indeed, “healthy competition” was one of the reasons given as the European Commission approved Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp on Friday.

We’ll have to wait and see what Yahoo has in store as far as instant messaging goes, but it seems certain that users will soon have more choice than ever when it comes to keeping in touch.

[Header image: Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com]