Microsoft and Yahoo say 'I do'

Long-time rivals Microsoft and Yahoo have announced plans to merge their respective Instant Messaging (IM) networks in a bid to go head-to-head with IM-giant AOL.

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By  Cleona Godinho Published  October 13, 2005

Long-time rivals Microsoft and Yahoo have announced plans to merge their respective Instant Messaging (IM) networks in a bid to go head-to-head with IM-giant AOL. The prospective merger means global users of both online chat services will be able to communicate with each other without having to use third-party client software such as Trillian and Fire. If the merger is successful, it will result in the formation of the biggest IM community in the world with an estimated user base of over 275 million people. “Microsoft and Yahoo look forward to bridging the divide between our global communities, creating richer and easier ways for our customers to connect. 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,” explained Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive. However, not everyone in the industry is thrilled about the merger. According to Informationweek.com, some security experts feel the merger will make the IM world an even bigger target for hackers. “As you increase the size of network, there's a greater chance that malicious code can spread. It's a bigger network effect,” explained Christopher Dean, senior vice president of business development of FaceTime – a US based internet security firm. “The malware writers discovered IM networks for the first time this year,” he added, “and once they discovered it, they're focusing on it. And yes, the Yahoo-Microsoft announcement will increase the spread of IM worms.”

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