Microsoft, Yahoo Become IM Buddies

Microsoft and Yahoo buried the IM hatchet today as they announced an interoperability agreement which will allow users of the two companies’ instant messaging clients to connect with one another without needing two different programs running.

In addition to exchanging instant messages, the companies said, consumers from both communities will be able to see their friends’ online presence, share select emoticons, and add new contacts from either service to their friends’ list. Yahoo and Microsoft plan to introduce these interconnectivity capabilities between MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger to customers around the world in the second quarter of 2006.

“Yahoo! and Microsoft share a commitment to providing the highest-quality experience possible for consumers, and today’s groundbreaking announcement underscores our desire to provide consumer interoperability between our thriving IM communities,” said Terry Semel, chief executive officer, Yahoo! Inc. “This is truly a turning point for the IM industry, and we believe our agreement with Microsoft will help usher in a new era of IP communications.”

“Microsoft and Yahoo! look forward to bridging the divide between our global communities, creating richer and easier ways for our customers to connect,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “IM interoperability is the right thing for our customers, our businesses and the industry as a whole, and Microsoft is delighted to help lead these efforts with Yahoo!”

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