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Time Warner Inc. is negotiating exclusively with Google Inc. to broaden a lucrative advertising partnership with Time Warner's America Online unit, abruptly ending negotiations early Friday with Microsoft Corp., officials close to the negotiations said.
They also said they had agreed, under certain unspecified conditions, to allow users of Google's recently introduced instant messaging system Google Talk to communicate with users of AOL's market-leading AIM instant messaging service
Was this move just to gain millions of AIM users? Was this more of a move to go toe to toe with Ebay/Skype as far as free voip is concerned?
That comes out to about $45 per user based on the 2002 numbers below.
In the at-home market, AOL's Instant Messenger (AIM) took the top spot, attracting more than 22 million unique users. MSN Messenger came in second with nearly 15.7 million Internet users, while Yahoo Messenger was third with 12.4 million. Rounding out the list, ICQ users totaled nearly 4.4 million during the month.
While researching I have seen IM stats saying as many as 867 million people use some sort of IM, with skype being downloaded 132 million times. Figure AIM has at least that many users, and the cost per user is down to $7.50 or less.
Also found this little tidbit:
MSFT and Yahoo! connect Instant Messanger Communites. [docs.yahoo.com]
Consumers will be able to exchange instant messages, see presence, share emoticons and add friends from Yahoo! Messenger or MSN Messenger
Perhaps this was about much more than just search...
The deal is about VOIP, pure and simple. It's the next big revenue growth area on the net. Just because all of us in here lead a searchcentric life, doesn't mean the rest of the planet does.
Google bought into the largest IM network on the cheap.
IM, with VOIP, has so many possibilities for commercialization/monetization it isn't even funny.
Want basic VOIP serivces and IM client? Here, try our free service...
Want high quality, bandwidth soaking, videoconferencing capable VOIP? Try our *Extreme Gold Deluxe Executive* edition for only $4.95/month.
If they play it right, they could wipe Vonage and the others off the planet. And make themselves (*gasp*) bigger than Microsoft.
Let's see now...
Mysterious launch of nifty but weakly featured IM client in an already cluttered market...
Buying up dark fibre on the sly...
Sneaking a tie in with AOL to get access to the largest IM market on the net...
TELL ME YOU DIDN'T SEE IT COMING.